Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Four Tests Of Life

I'm a thinker (and that's not an apology), and in this weeks post I want to drip a few more drops of ink from my overactive mind. I hope you will find my thoughts interesting - and perhaps even personally beneficial.

In considering life, its meaning and its progression from birth to death, I believe that each of us will be forced to take a stand, from time to time, on some jugular issues. I don't mean superficial stuff like the house we want to buy and live in or the clothes we wear (although those things may have great impact on us), but I am thinking deeper. I am thinking about the way we each approach and deal with life and its vicissitudes.

We all make decisions, some tough and some easy, but I believe that some of the decisions we make are like the oxygen we breath - if we are to live, we are forced to make them. For example, I walk down the street and see a fat wallet laying right in front of me on the sidewalk. Am I surprised? Yes. Am I forced to make a decision? Yes. At that moment, I have power over that wallet. It may contain a large amount of cash or some other valuable commodity. What do I do? Do I pick the wallet up? Do I steal what I find? Do I turn it in to some authority? Do I walk past the wallet and leave it behind me? No matter what else happens, I am forced to decide something. The only way I would not have to make a decision is if I had not seen the wallet - but it's too late for that now. Because I was there at that moment in time, I'm forced into making a quick decision in regard to that wallet.

Now this principle of forced decision making is probaboly not new to any of you. It seems that I live in a stream of continual confrontation with the opportunity to decide. I hear a joke, I see the cover of a magazine, I stub my toe, I get a paycheck with lots of overtime paid out, I am put in charge of someone - the stream of life never stops washing over me and I expect it never stops washing over you either. The stream just keeps flowing and I am left with only one option - to make numerous quick decisions - whether I want to make them or not.

So, you may be wondering... what are the four tests of life? Well, I will tell you what I believe they are. As I have pondered the seemingly endless stream of forced decisions, I believe that every ultimately significant decision can be categorized into one of four groups: money, power, pain and sex. I believe that the real tests of life are how we personally handle the forced decisions within those four groups - especially the forced quick decisions.

I may not be rich, but I do have enough money to live. I may only have power over ants and mice, but I still have power. I may not feel pain at this moment, but I will eventually confront physical or emotional pain. I may wish that I hadn't notice well photographed cleavage on a magazine cover in a store checkout line, but I am now forced to decide to either stare or look away. And I believe that the sum total of how I handle money, power, pain and sex will determine, yes, determine who I really am today and who I will be tomorrow. How I do in making my forced quick decisions tells me how I'm doing today. My carefully planned decisions are much easier to get right, but the real me shows true character when I make quick decisions that are forced upon me without warning. If I am to find and fix weakness in my character, I must examine the moments when I am at my worst. I find this painful, but I believe that I deserve to do better, therefore I must take a hard look and ask myself the hard questions. How am I doing with money, with power, with pain, with sex? And since I deserve to succeed in life, what can I do differently so I can succeed?

I believe that we are all created equal in importance and that we all deserve to succeed in life - but not at the expense of others. I believe that we all have challenges, but I also believe that we all have the power to choose positive responses to whatever comes our way. I believe that none of us can get it right all the time, but I believe that practice makes perfect, so hang in there and get up each time you fall. I hope I do well, and I hope you do too! To quote Andre the Giant from the movie The Princess Bride, "I hope we win!"

No comments: