Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost
Some of you reading this, I know. We’ve swapped stories, shared dreams, broken bread or maybe even opened a bottle. In the case of most of you, your dreams, challenges and fears are a mystery to me. However, I know why you’re here. Yes. Sight unseen, I know your purpose. How is this possible? Because we all share the same purpose. We exist to fulfill our potential. We are on this earth for a little while to do what we can with the gifts we are given. Now, isn’t that easy? Your purpose is to do as much as you can. I don’t need to know your nationality, creed, religion, political viewpoint, sexual orientation or favorite color. Just as I am, you are here to take it as far as you are able.
Of course, defining “it” for yourself is challenging. Of what are you capable? What is your potential? How far can you take it? That is the beauty of life. You get to decide your own possibility. How? By exercising free choice. You choose what you believe. You choose where you are heading. You choose how to react. You choose each action that takes you somewhere, or nowhere. Your choices define your life. Your choices define who you are. So, to my earlier question: of what are you capable? The answer starts with your choice. We might call this a choice of vision for your life and it happens everyday.
Now that you’ve made a choice of vision (or a thousand choices of vision) you are ready to take action. This is where it gets tough. Why? Because so often we act in ways that diverge from our ideal choice; in other words, our choice of action does not align with our choice of vision. Think of this divergence as vision versus will. The vision(s) I choose for my life can often be undermined by my will to act on it or not. Will? Oh yes. Will enables you to act on those defining choices and the lack of it “will” take you in a different direction. A great example of this might be choosing a vision for your life that includes losing weight and eating healthy foods. The actions affecting this choice happen hundreds of times a week. If you eat healthy foods in moderate proportions, you will likely lose weight. If you don’t have the will to act on your plan when faced with temptation, then you most likely will not lose weight. This is why I say “Purpose is easy. Choices are hard.” And by the way,there are no wrong answers, just the ones you choose. Someone else may not agree with your choices or actions, but it is your life and you are choosing it. This is not an exercise in morality – it is simply how it works.
Though choice of vision is ours to make, we often receive indicators of how it aligns with our inner fabric. This guidance will appear in a couple of ways: our inner voice or gut instinct as well as events that occur as a result of our choices. My goal with this post is not to unravel your indicators. I will just say that these “signs” are simply a reflection of your, and your world’s, reactions to your choices. If you are getting reactions that are undesirable, it is a safe bet that you are not aligning your actions with your vision for your life.
How do you bring your will to bear on your choice of vision? The answer to that question defines your life. It is your choice. I cannot tell you. There is no right answer. As Nike likes to tell us, you “Just Do It”. Or you don’t. Just as we watch our children grow and want so badly to tell them the answers – they are not ours to give. We are free to share our nuggets of wisdom as everyone must be apprenticed to the world in some way. But ultimately, it is their purpose, their choices and their will that set their path.
To those who argue that the world acts upon us and we don’t always have choices I say: the decision to believe that way is a choice and you have made yours. Yes, the world acts upon us and bad things happen outside of our control. How else can it be? We live in a complex, messy universe that is made of up of colliding bodies — %#%$ is going to happen! Plan for the worst, hope for the best and make your choices. Ultimately, your purpose is easy: do the best you can. After that, the choice is yours.