Life is a continuous process of discovery and our reactions to those discoveries. A quote from legendary basketball coach, John Wooden seems to be the most appropriate way to react to the twists and turns of life.
“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”
Railing against things that have already happened or denying them is a gigantic waste of time and changes nothing. Rather, spending your time internalizing recent events and making necessary corrections in your life to move forward seems a much better course of action.
In today’s post to his Blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote from Jane Goodall –
“Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is all right, as long as your values don’t change.”
So perhaps we could combine the two thoughts and surmise that things work out best for those who are able to compromise and go on with life. But, what about that “values” part of Goodall’s quote. What if it is your “values” for which you need to seek compromise?
There is no generally applicable set of universal values or core beliefs in almost any society today. That is because most modern societies are not made up of people all from the same ethnic, religious or geopolitical backgrounds. The diversity of the population that brings strength to modern societies also dilutes the “values” of any one group. This results in the need for compromise even in the values upon which judgements are being made. If in no other way, it forces us to consider that someone else may have a completely different point of view on what is right and wrong in any given situation, based upon a different set of core values.
At the root of many of today’s seemingly intractable issues, such as LBGTQI rights, abortion and the role of government in our lives are differing sets of values which make compromise seem difficult. When you spend time trying to think about issues like that, you may quickly arrive at the correct conclusion that how you act or react to those issues is your decision and your decision alone. What “everybody knows” or “everyone says” has no real bearing. It is your personal responsibility to decide how you will act or react to the situation. That forces you to examine what you think are your “core values”.
If you are honest with yourself in that evaluation of your values, you may realize that there is not a value at the core of some of your actions/reactions at all; but, rather, that fear is the driving force in your decisions. Even ignorance in any situation leads to fear of the unknown as the driver for reactions.
The step after becoming more aware of what values (if any) are controlling your action is to examine whether compromise may be needed. That is really the reaction that Wooden was alluding to in his quote – making the best of how things turned out. Every fear-driven, knee-jerk reaction is just a “jerk” reaction. You need to stop and think before acting or reacting.
Maybe if you stop and at least think, “I have the power to control how I react to this”, it will force a better response. At a minimum, you will have avoided a knee-jerk reaction and at best you will react based upon your values rather than your fears. If it still doesn’t turn out for you, maybe then is the time to reexamine your “values” and perhaps seek a compromise.
How are things tuning out for you? Who decides? Perhaps one last quote will put you in the right frame of mind to answer that question –
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” (Alice Walker)
You have the power to decide how things turn out for you. Use your power.