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Op-Ed: Life Is What You Make It

With opportunity comes the necessity of focusing one’s energy without making excuses or poor choices. Excuses and eliminating choices are the death sentence for obtaining a person’s goals. File photo: Dirima, Shutter Stock, licensed.

SPRING HILL, FL –  In life everyone is dealt a different hand. Some are born tall or short, rich, or poor, dark, or light skinned, deformed or physically intact, bright or dull, from a happy or dysfunctional family, and unique in many other ways. Yet all people have one thing in common: they all have freedom of choice. The decisions they make are the difference between a dignified or a pathetic life.

The wonderful thing about being a citizen of the U.S. is that we have more opportunity than any citizens in the world. This translates into being able to find something you want to do as long as you are willing to make the necessary sacrifice to do it. There has to be a willingness to start at the bottom and work up with a positive attitude and take on more responsibility without complaint about not having immediate compensation. There should also be a willingness to take risks by moving somewhere with better employment opportunities, taking on new challenges, or investing time and money to establish your own enterprise.

With opportunity comes the necessity of focusing one’s energy without making excuses or poor choices. Excuses and eliminating choices are the death sentence for obtaining a person’s goals. You can observe this in schools where many teenagers use ridiculous excuses such as “my parents did not help me,” “I had a headache”, “my books are at my other parent’s house,” and “I had no time” or “I am not smart enough.” There should be no excuses or lazy choices that are acceptable when you are highly motivated.

Temporary setbacks such as an accident, illness, divorce, bankruptcy, or the death of a loved one have to be confronted and overcome. The adversity a person conquers is a life lesson that makes the individual stronger. Military soldiers who get blown up in a war zone are amazing examples of a person’s tenacity. Soldiers who lost several limbs and whose spouses left because of their inability to deal with the secondary pain of witnessing their struggle are just some of the problems soldiers have to overcome. PTSD is an issue of many returning vets that has to be overcome through tremendous psychological power of the mind.

When you see individuals and young children with severe physical issues put on their prosthetics, battling to learn how to adapt to their body, it shows us the mental strength of human beings. Not only are these people inspirational to us all but should shame us out of wallowing in our insignificant difficulties.

When an individual does not confront obstacles necessary to lay a strong foundation to solve future difficulties they remain in a “why me?” state. If this habit of despairing over very little continues it will end in becoming a failure in one’s own mind. On the other hand, the person who learns to employ his past learning experiences to gain insight has a reservoir of skills, confidence, and knowledge to tackle even the most difficult situations that life has to offer. Personal “willpower” increases as the person shows himself that he can conquer serious obstacles, which can block him from reaching his goals. This self-taught knowledge is mind over matter and appears to have become a lost art.

In comparison, people who are stuck in their setbacks and chronic difficulties produce a life of misery. Their passive approach paralyzes them which does nothing to solve the problem. Rather it erodes the person’s confidence and discourages him from focusing on the issues at hand. They become incapacitated to deal with even the most insignificant and trivial difficulties.

Our approach to living determines our future. We have freedom of choice to make our decisions to live the life we want. When we consistently think in the short run, we are living an instant gratification life, which usually does not end in happiness and inner satisfaction. Without putting aside savings for unforeseen future occurrences like disease, accident, natural disasters or just old age, the ability to rebuild their lifestyle is slow and limited. Many people just complain about their bad luck instead of using their resources to solve their issues.

“Live for today” and “disregard the future” were notions of the hippies in the 1960s. It is a short sighted and utopian view of living a good life through their entire existence. The odds of this occurring are very low and almost delusional. Let us get back to a more mature, reality life-style. We need to do the necessary things that prepare us for the inevitabilities in each stage of the life cycle that normally confront us.

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