Whatever has happened to you in life. Whatever hardship. Whatever pain …. They pale in comparison to the power you have to choose what to do now.
Greg Mckeown, Effortless
Sometimes the past feels like a heavy weight that we are dragging behind us.
Something happened that hurt us emotionally and maybe even physically.
Then there are the things that didn’t happen that created their own damage.
The pain and the loss are real.
It’s little comfort to know that everyone has similar experiences. Ours feel especially debilitating, mostly because they happened to us.
Following the medical model, we try to fix the root cause of our present difficulties, but we cannot change the past.
Asking how we got here is not as useful as it would seem to be.
The important question is where we want to go.
As long as we are staring into the past, we cannot see all the options available moving ahead.
And we have options.
More options than ever before in human history.
Just being able to read these words is the result of technology unavailable for most of that history — and still not available for some people living today.
That technology also allows us to overcome many of the limitations of previous generations and our own past.
But, even with modern technology, some options are no longer available to us now.
That, however, is not our biggest difficulty.
Our biggest difficulty is that we have too many options.
We want to take out our map of the future and plot a direct course to our desired destination.
So we become paralyzed like Buridan’s donkey that starves to death because it is unable to choose between two equally-appetizing piles of hay.
But the direct course is not necessarily the most enjoyable route or even the most efficient route.
And as we move toward our desired destination, we may decide we’d like to go somewhere else.
Besides, our current map of the future is not very accurate, and the terrain is constantly changing.
We don’t need to be victims of our past decisions.
We don’t need to be immobilized by our current difficulty in deciding on a specific destination.
We can move ahead while enjoying the scenery and being on the lookout for interesting new waypoints on our journey to becoming the person we were meant to be.
Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.