Posted by Allen and Ballard Insurance Associates on
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”Robert Anthony
“A man can get discouraged many times but he is not a failure until he begins to blame somebody else and stops trying.” John Burroughs
Lessons in Leadership- “Misplaced Mistletoe”
Every year at Christmas time, my wife Ann does a beautiful job decorating our home. One of the decorations is artificial mistletoe with a bell hanging down from the bottom of it. Who doesn’t like kissing under the mistletoe?
In our previous home, Ann would hang the mistletoe from the entry hall light which placed the bell just low enough to be forehead high.
You probably have already guessed what happened. For about the first three weeks after she put up the decoration, every time I would walk through our foyer I slammed my forehead into the bell. (Note: I learned that I usually look down when I am walking and that it usually takes about 21 days to learn new habits.)
What was supposed to be a symbol of Christmas cheer and love; literally became a real headache.
Every time I slammed into that bell I would be tempted to rip the thing down. It drove me insane. I thought what a stupid idea. Why does Ann insist on hanging this decoration here to torment me this way? (Which obviously wasn’t her goal; at least I don’t think it was. 🙂
Then I realized I had a choice each time I ran into the bell; I could choose what I thought and felt and how I acted. So I decided to exercise my freedom to choose.
I decided that if Ann enjoyed having this decoration hanging in the foyer then I would enjoy it too. I decided that instead of getting ticked off every time I ran into the bell, I would CHOOSE HOW I FELT by CHOOSING MY THOUGHTS. I chose instead to thank the Lord for giving me such a wonderful wife. I chose to use it as a wakeup call to reflect on how loving and supportive Ann was. I chose to reflect on all of the ways she showed me her love and what a blessing it was to share my life with her.
In a moment everything changed and yet the circumstances were the same. That is the power of choice. That is the power of THINKING. That is the power of Significant Leadership.
Now when I ran into the bell, I chose to count my blessings by focusing on what matters most. By one simple choice a negative experience became a positive experience. Nothing changed on the outside, but everything changed on the inside.
We can’t control many of the circumstances of life -like the weather, the driver in front of us, the cost of gas, the economy or who our parents are. But, what is more important is that we have the power to CHOOSE how we respond to those circumstances by choosing how we think and act.
The reality is, we are not victims of our circumstances as much as we are victims of our choices. And unfortunately many of our choices are made without using the first habit of THINKING.
When we move from making primarily unconscious choices based on our feelings and natural instincts to conscious choices based on our values and purpose we gain tremendous strength and freedom. We begin to move from survival, to success and ultimately on to significance.
“Failures blame conditioning and poor circumstances, while winners achieve by making good choices.”
66. What/Who are you blaming for your circumstances? What/Who are you a slave to?
67. In all reality, what benefit do you derive from blaming someone or something else?
68. Take a moment to THINK about who/what you are blaming and ask yourself what choices and actions can you take to exercise leadership and take control of your life in this area?
Learn to love the misplaced mistletoe of life and in the process you will learn to love your life by loving others despite your circumstances.
We have become a culture of blame that makes us helpless victims enslaved to everybody and everything. We can only live free when we take full responsibility to carefully Think, Choose and Act independent of our conditions and circumstances. Then and only then, can we find the strength to swim upstream when necessary to reach our desired destination. Blame or Personal Responsibility- the choice is yours and yours alone.
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”John F. Kennedy