“You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life.”
It was shaping up to be a long night.
I was drained from consecutive nights of spending more time with my textbooks than my pillow.
A mountain of homework yet loomed ahead that I did not have the strength to climb.
Every second of the day was prerecorded: classes, meetings, observation hours, everything.
And now I was stuck in the closing shift at work.
Can anyone relate?
(I have no doubts; we are all in the same ship).
I usually embody a “tackle-the-world” philosophy. But there are always times when all of my efforts seem to lead to the world tackling me.
I dwelled upon these thoughts as I sliced pizzas, admittedly wallowing a bit in how miserable my life has turned out to be.
(Did I mention I can tend to be a little melodramatic?)
When it was finally time to start cleaning up, I was feeling pretty discouraged.
As I sloshed a bucket of dirty water back to the kitchen, I passed one of the gentlemen who work with me.
Distracted by my own histrionic angst, I simply lowered my eyes and just slipped past him.
When I later reflected upon that interaction, Bradley Whitford’s quotation popped into my head.
All that night, I had been a passive victim of circumstance.
I was letting all of the circumstances of my life (homework, late shifts at work, commitments for which I volunteered) overwhelm me.
When I let these circumstances overwhelm me, I lose my drive to “tackle-the-world.”
All of the potential that I have as an individual is dulled because I am no longer allowing myself to creatively and positively control how I interact with the world around me. Instead, like in my encounter with the gentleman at work, I am reduced to pathetic excuses that serve to just allow me to scrape by.
In contrast, Whitford dares me to be the active hero in my life.
Inside of this challenge is the call to continuously choose an attitude to live by 100 percent of the time.
The choice is not made as a result of my circumstances but, rather, in response to them.
That night at work, my attitude was a result of my circumstances: I was discouraging because I felt discouraged.
If I could go back, I would change my attitude to a response in spite of my circumstances. Instead of passing the gentleman by, I would offer a smile and a friendly, “How are you doing?”
When we act as the active hero in our own lives, we then empower others to do the same.
So, I join Whitford and challenge you to be the active hero in your own life – starting right now! It’s what I aim to do.
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