The Only Power We Have

Viktor E. Frankl, a Nazi death camp survivor, famous psychologist, and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning” (on my to-read list), once said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Steven Covey made this a central tenet of his “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. There is a huge money making machine around the book and his tools, but I can never recommend the book enough.

Yesterday was Richelle and my 7th Anniversary (hi Richelle). We’ve been through hell and high water together. Among lovers people say things like “it was destiny”, or “we were born to be together”. But the truth of the matter is, if she didn’t make the choice to believe in me through my dark times, and if I didn’t make the choice to get over my fear, we’d not be here today and be blessed with Emma and each other.

There are cards we are dealt. We fool ourselves into believing we control the hand all too often. A lie we tell ourselves to make things feel better.

And then there is how we play those cards.

Read Dave Rogers’s latest post, “Social Hygiene: Love Better” (via Shelley Powers). It’s a little more than 500 words, and worth every one of them:

This isn’t an endorsement for the Salvation Army. I’m not saying everyone should go throw money they may not have at something. I’m saying that love is faith in action, and you have to find a way to make a choice to embrace faith somehow, as often as you can. A practice that reminds you of your faith, helps you find it. The kettles are probably not a great choice, because they kind of disappear as soon as Christmas is over. I have other practices, not enough probably, but driving is one of them too. “Don’t drive angry. Don’t drive angry.” isn’t the tag line here just because I thought it was hysterical watching a woodchuck drive a truck on Bill Murray’s lap.

But this is a good time of the year to help people get started. There are lots of good messages out there right now, but they can be a source of suffering for many too. But the only power anyone has is the power to choose. Lots of people are going to be getting those 50″ high definition plasma TVs, and Sony Playstation 3s; and maybe you’re hoping you can just put gas in your car. Maybe you wish you had a car. Maybe that’s not fair, but you have the power to choose. You can choose where to place your attention. You can choose to embrace faith instead of surrendering to fear. And you still won’t have a Playstation 3, or a 50″ high definition plasma TV, or even gasoline, but you’ll have something else that money, or attention, can’t buy.

And you won’t get it reading this blog, or anyone else’s for that matter either. So go on, get out of here!

But thanks for stopping by.

The usual disclaimers apply. As Dave would say, if you’re coming to this blog for advice on life, you’re coming to the wrong place.

Get off your chair and do something.