Choices – People make them everyday. Some make good choices, some make bad. If you don’t make a choice, you may end up like the saying in the picture above. You might drown. Other choices you make may not only affect you but others in your family. In order to become a better leader or person of influence, you need to raise the bar on yourself, your attitude, and your behavior. Don’t allow yourself to vent in public like I did yesterday about the soccer story from Ann Coulter. When that is done, it only proves you did not take time to think about the response and it can be rather embarrassing. Don’t let anger get the better of you either. That shows a sign of weakness. You do not want to make someone else the brunt of your behavior or bad attitude.

You were born with the ability to make choices. Sometimes the task of making the choice is easy and sometimes it is hard. Either way you are going to have to make choices at some point of your life. Dr. Stephen R. Covey in 2008 stated, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. We can use this space to choose our response.” This one principle is powerful. Many people, the reason they make a bad choice is they made the choice to quickly. When you stop, think about your decision, and then make your choice, you have used the “space” to choose your response properly.

Carol and I have had to make some very hard choices lately. Choices frankly we thought we would never have to answer. More than likely, there will be more choices to come. The difference in our ability to make choices now than from earlier in our lives is the amount of knowledge we have both gained through the years. We don’t claim to have all the answers and we don’t, but we learn each and every day. You have to live for the right now. Yesterday is gone and you do not have the power to change anything that is no longer available. Nor to you have a way to predict the future. So if everything right now, is ok, then there is optimism for the next moments in time. But what happens if the next moment isn’t great or good. How can you control that moment of now? What you can control is the space between stimulus and response. “You have to take a moment, take control of yourself, your emotions and your responses.” Les Brown. Let’s say you did fall in the water. Let’s say that body of water is a lake. You fell overboard on the boat from which you were skiing. What are you going to do? Do you have a life vest that will assist in your ability to save yourself? Can you swim? Did someone see you fall off the boat? Questions that you ask yourself before you can choose an answer. The point being, you now know that there is “time” between stimulus and response. Use it to make a wise decision.

One of the hardest choices we made so far was that of having her right leg amputated. This was a life altering choice. Not just a “what kind of ice cream would you like” from Baskin – Robbins. The reason that her leg was amputated was because she had a brokent leg that became infected. Carol was also receiving Chemo and Radiation which lowers the immune system. Carol had a third surgery on her leg to try to remove most of the infection. While the doctor was in the leg, he noticed that the infection spread to the bone. This usually does not heal itself and with a supressed immune system, probably wasn’t going to heal at all. Well, just a few short weeks later, another infection sore opened on the opposite side of the leg she just had cleaned. This is when the amputation decision was made. It surely came as a big blow but the blow was softened by preparation. This preparation was the “space” between stimulus and response. Although we had a little time, the response was not easy by any means. We were prepared which counts.

Looking at the words in the picture above again, by Zig Ziglar, What choice would you have if you fell in the water? I suppose you could choose to not do anything and just sink to the bottom of the water and drown. You could also choose to tread water for how ever long you would need for someone to rescue you. Or perhaps you could choose to swim to the nearest body of land or boat or other floating device that may be in the water. I don’t think you would have the luxury of time given this situation. The “space” between stimulus and response in this case has got to be made rather quickly. Otherwise, you will drown.

Choices – We all have to make them. There is no getting around the idea of not making choices. You choose what you eat and drink. You choose what television program you are going to watch or whether or not you will even watch TV. Whatever choice you make in the future, you will now know that you are authorized to take a “space” to decipher the stimulus and then provide the response. Make the right choice!

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