“Everything happens for a reason. Some times that reason is that we acted stupid and made bad choices.” -Unknown
I read this quote some time ago and it immediately made me laugh. But then after some more serious thought, I realized how true it really is. When I look back at times where I made mistakes, or found life confusing, or felt my world was turned upside down, in many ways those moments were the result of having a choice and not making the right one.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to have dinner with Jack Canfield, motivational speaker and author. He is best known as the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. During a discussion of his books, he expressed his belief that wherever we are in life is because of the choices we made. And wherever we go from here will be the result of the choices we make going forward. We can’t do anything about the choices we have already made, except learn from the bad ones and applaud the good ones.
Now you may be thinking that some choices were made for you. Someone else made the decision. But in those times you made the choice to accept the decisions that were made for you. Or you think that some things in your life happened that were totally out of your control–the things that happen by chance or accident. It’s just life: a car accident; illness; death of a spouse; loss of a job. But there is still a choice…not in what is happening, but in how you respond to what is happening.
There are stories in the news every day of people who have experienced horrific life changes and have risen above the problem to lead amazing lives. All because of the choice they made in response to their experience; all because of the choice they made to accept the challenge.
Thankfully most of us will never face these kind of ordeals, and our choices are more of the day to day, how to get through the day kind of things. We can make the choice to live each day like Winnie the Pooh or like his friend, Eyeore.
Winnie the Pooh was my son’s favorite character when he was a child, and Winnie the Pooh is one of my heroes. Pooh knows what will make him happy, and he pursues it with passion. When he goes in search of honey, he makes the choice not to be diverted by anything that gets in his way—not bees, not blustery days, not getting stuck in a tree. No matter what life brings, he is persistent, single-minded, and chooses to make the best of every day.
On the other hand, Pooh has a donkey friend named Eeyore who makes the choice to spend his days worrying, complaining, doubting, and insisting that nothing good will ever happen. At the end of the day, Pooh is reveling in a pot of honey, while Eeyore has had the kind of day he had made the choice to have.
If we make the choice to be an Eeyore, we can choose to worry about everything, complain that we will never have what we need, blame others for our plight in life, and pronounce at every turn that life has treated us unfairly. If we do decide to do that, then it really all does come down to the fact that there is a reason for everything. And the reason is, “sometimes we acted stupid and made bad choices.”