There are many voices in the world clamoring for your attention. They want you to act the way they would have you act. They want you to support what that they say is critical. But before you respond you have to know where you stand.
There is a saying, that if you don’t know what you stand for, you are libel to fall for anything. You need to be intentional in what you want to see in life. How you respond becomes reflective of the foundation you have chosen for your life as opposed to what the fad of the moment is.
An old Native American legend presents a powerful metaphor for how we choose to live. How we determine what kind of person you want to be. The legend is that two dogs live inside of each of us. One dog is loving and the other mean. The two dogs fight for control all the time. The dog who wins is the one we feed the most!
One way makes sure the good inner dog is fed is to be careful where you get your information from. Those who want you to be under their control will mislabel others. They will twist the truth by attacking the messenger not the message. Learn to have confidence in the sources that are independent. Listening to gossip or what appears on the Internet can many times distort the truth you need.
A second key is to know the history of the subject you are dealing with. You learn from what has happened before you. To fail to listen to the past will usually doom one to repeat what happened before. We cannot change the past, but can pick the lessons of the past that will feed our character.
Another key is to set your goals for those things that call for growth and improvement. There is always room for improvement if you are intentional. Have you heard the story of the two youngsters who took all their money and rode a merry-go-round until their money was gone? They had been going round and round for quite a long time. Their mother spoke only these brief words, "I see you finally got off. I just want to know one thing, where have you been?"
Each day is a precious gift. You need to use each day to its fullest to realize the dreams you have for your life and those that you love. A purpose needs to be ascertained, a goal set to be pursued if your life is to be more than going in resource draining circles, and not getting anywhere.
Make sure you have sought the direction that is best for you. Even if it pushes you outside of your comfort zones. We need the prayer of the great English naval hero Sir Francis Drake
Disturb us Lord
When we are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true,
Because we dreamed to little
When we have arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
You grow within when you are willing to try. Which does not mean you will always succeed. There is too much emphasis in the world that winning justifies what we stand for. In fact we grow when we are willing to fail. John Wooten, the great basketball coach, once said, “If you are not willing to make some mistakes, then you are not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes. “
One more key to building a solid foundation for your inner character, is to find a few you can trust to be honest with you. When you are a committee of one, it is easy in our arrogance to grow blind tor your shortcomings, to fail to see where you need to grow and change. Pick those you trust carefully and then have the courage to listen to them and learn.
All of us will be challenged in life. The time to decide your answer is before the crises arises. Each of us needs a core that you have developed over time and are willing to invest your life in.