I was teaching the 7 Habits at a professional gathering last week when I experienced something remarkable. While I spoke about Habit 1, Be Proactive, and some of the principles for being responsible for your own life or carrying your own weather and choosing your own response, a gentleman from the audience stood up. Right before this big audience, this man stood up on his chair and essentially said the following (I’m paraphrasing):
“Last week my wife left me. It was totally unexpected. I have felt a mixture of feelings from being hurt, feeling anger, betrayal and embarrassment. But listening to this today I have decided to not be angry anymore. I am going to choose to be happy and not be hurt or embarrassed any longer.”
I was so taken by this man’s sense of humility and courage, and his desire to be the creative force of his life rather than being victim to his circumstances or his relationship with his wife. I’m sure he was in a lot of turmoil and feeling like the world had crashed down on him. But he gained the self-awareness that he could still choose his response to his devastating personal challenges. He saw that he could act and not feel acted upon.
I commended him for his decision and affirmed that he can choose to let the anger go, to forgive and create his life. This is often a hard thing to do especially in painful situations like his. The audience applauded him. I applauded him. I had never seen anything like it.
When I think of this man, I don’t know what will happen to him and his wife. But I do know that if he will grasp onto the principle of being proactive and seeing himself as the creative force of his own life with the choices he makes, he will find meaning and fulfillment in his life—he will eventually find peace of conscience.
Can you think of a situation or relationship in your life where you can choose a better, more effective response? Choose it now!
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!