The Most Important Decision

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

Nelson Mandela grew up in a segregated nation, spent 27 years in prison for his political and social views, contracted tuberculosis while in his dank cell and then lifted an entire nation out of the shackles of apartheid, all the while maintaining his great concern for truth.

How have you handled the adversity in your life?

You can let yourself be vulnerable. You needn’t try to control everything. You can, as they say, go with the flow.

To do so without drifting requires that you have an active inner life and an ardent dedication to the discovery and revelation of truth. Your value is not predicated on what you accomplish, endure, amass or establish; it is absolute.

The most important decision you can make with respect to any set of circumstances you will ever face is this: “Shall I seek to be uplifting or shall I be reduced?” The rest is just details.

6 thoughts on “The Most Important Decision

  • I loved your last words, that “the rest is just details.” This is so true and we don’t need to sweat the small stuff, but we do need to handle it rightly.

  • I’m so thankful for Maya Angelo’s words and incidentally her life’s example of this. There are perhaps many others who could be mentioned as deliberately choosing to rise above their circumstances and for each I am thankful for their courage and stalwart hearts that raised the bar on nobility in fact. To let ourselves be reduced is to cower and succumb to the live the life that others have crafted for us. It doesn’t require resistance from us but an unrelenting devotion to our own purpose and belief in our power to choose what emanates from our own hearts. Excellent post! True freedom!

  • Thank you for your words Gregg. Whenever I hear people say “what can one person do” I think of Nelson Mandela and what he did. His refusal to take offense set the tone for a whole nation (black and white) and the impact of his living reverberates through the whole world. Just through our day to day living and the attitude of our hearts we have the opportunity to do the same. As you say …the choice is ours.

  • Thanks for your ongoing gift of common sense and uncommon insight, Gregg. the world is a restrictive place in so many ways, but each one can choose to be free in the various limitations, which inevitably puts pressure on anything that may be arbitrarily limited or distorted. The story is the same for all the great ones!

  • I watched the movie “Invictis” the other night. It’s one of my favorites because it really illustrates that a small number of people can be the catalyst for large changes. In this case, it occurred to Mandela that a rugby team could help the process along of removing blockages between his countrymen. The rugby captain caught the vision and did what he could to encourage his team. He also accepted Mandela’s suggestions on how he might do so as they were not winning many games. Through the process, the team became inspired and magic happened. Something large was able to open up for everyone. Mandela did not have it easy for 27 years of his life yet was able to keep his orientation to something higher. Oh boy! I love the implications for all of us. Our circumstances give each of us the opportunity to be catalysts for change. We might be bloodied by them but we can remain unbowed.

  • With the great examples provided here, I can clearly see that this indeed is the deal-breaker of one’s life. All of life’s moments, great and small, give us the chance to exercise this choice. In thinking about it some more, I would venture to say that our lives are defined by our choices not so much to the exalted moments, but to the adverse ones. And it’s so easy to give in to the childish and impetuous reactions – in fact, it’s as almost if others would want you to act that way if they are acting that way themselves.

    As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize what a few of my elders in my younger years spoke of, about the critical importance of each moment. To my mind now, that is no exaggeration; there’s just too much hurt, pain and suffering going on that to contribute to that in even seemingly trivial ways is enough for guilt. Nothing is trivial, as it is all energy, and we can purveyors of light and yes, uplift, or just continue to rehash the same old dramas that prevent us all from being who we really are. It all comes down to choices.

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