Free Will

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The power to do something different at any given time; free will. Humankind is the only creature that can wake up without a plan. Chances are you have met someone who has lived this philosophy like it was actually a good strategy. Everything else around us has a plan. Birds know exactly what to do when they wake up. Trees stretch toward the sky. Grass strives to grow a little taller. Ants wake up and start busily working.

If you desire for things to change, then you must change them. You are one of the only beings that actually can create change. Do not waste an opportunity to change your life for the better. Remember, eventually minor changes lead to major ones. The important thing is to be consistent, day in, day out. You might think you have to make a giant leap to get to your destination, but a series of small steps will get you there also.

Be patient because it might take time for change to occur. During this moment of waiting, do not quit. It is tempting to give up and go back to the way things used to be. This is especially true if of things are not going your way. After you did what you could do, then wait until more action is required on your part. Otherwise, what is left to do? Most people think worrying will help, but when you find a way it helps, please let me know.

Animals, bugs, and plants have a plan every day, and always know what to do and when to do it. They do not have a choice. It is humans who have free will and the power to change one or lots of things. Many people end up lost because they do not use this gift properly. The use of free will can be harmful when used in a wrong way, so be sure your motives are pure. Your will can be used to help others live a better life or it can make life miserable for them. Whether you believe in it or not, at least consider the idea that one day you will be held accountable for all the things you did or did not do. This adds a strong perspective and may cause you to think differently in the future about how you use your free will. 

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Add + Value

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Videos posted online have flourished like never before. Browse the comment section of popular channels and it should not take more than a few seconds to find a peculiar message. I rarely post in the comment section of any video. One day, for whatever reason, some of the comments stuck out and caused my eyes to browse a little. I was perplexed at some of what I saw.

As time progressed and I watched more videos, I started noticing similar strange messages but still did not think much about it. Then more content creators began to complain about their comment sections being bombarded by messages about scams. Unfortunately, some people do not know better and are taken advantage of by these scams. It should not be a surprise because that’s what scammers do, take value from others. I never understood how horribly a person feels toward others that they would do this to a fellow human being?

It certainly did not start on the internet, and I can’t imagine it will end there either. Corruption has long been at work in the human heart for thousands of years. People have been scamming and scheming for all kinds of reasons. I do not know how much effort it takes to rip someone off. However, it feels like people work tirelessly to take from others. It makes me stop to think about the alternative.

What if for every person out there trying to take from others, there were ten people trying to figure out a way to give more to others? When a person crosses our path in a unique way, what if we asked how, we could add value to their life? Yes, I suppose if we asked more questions like that, perhaps our thoughts would steer us in better direction. Perhaps there would be a little less need in the world. Perhaps trust among each other would not be lost so easily. Perhaps some of the small voids in our lives would be filled by the love and generosity placed in them by others.

No one likes the terrible things that people do. However, we cannot force people to stop doing whatever it is they do that is wrong. Only they can do that, so it remains outside of our control. Instead, we take what we can control and do something that will push us, and others, forward to a brighter future. Instead of taking value from others, why not add it?

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A Life of Excellence, part 9

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When you wake up in the morning, what is your first thought? I hope it’s not, “Oh no, I’m awake.” It is sad to think that many people wake up and feel this way all the time. Some days it feels this way, but we could agree that it shouldn’t be a daily occurrence. If it is, then it’s time to make some changes in your life. After we reach adulthood, most of the decisions we make fall on us from that point forward.

When you look at any other living organism, its purpose is not always clear to us. If a tree went to sleep at night, when it awoke in the morning, it would still be planted in the same spot as the night before. No shock there, right? No matter how ambitious it got, it would still be right there in the same spot. By our measure of standards, we’d look at it and say it isn’t going anywhere. But we would be wrong. Trees may not be able to leave the environment they were planted in, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going anywhere because they rise upward in whatever capacity they can.

If you walk into a river and suddenly get upset that the water only flows in one direction, people might think strangely of you. If you started yelling at the sun for coming up in the east and not the west, people would think something was wrong with you. There are certain things we’ve come to expect from what we see around us. Have they always been this way? I can’t say for sure but I’m pretty certain based on what we know so far. I’d venture to say most things, like the tree, have a purpose. It doesn’t take us recognizing its purpose for it to fulfill it. Lifeforms live out their purpose every day, with or without our knowledge or approval of them doing so.

Humans, though, are different than any other creation. We were given minds with free will. This means we have the power of choice, which can be exercised in a split second. We don’t have to live programmed the way other lifeforms live. If you wish to stay up north in the winter and play in the snow, you have the choice to do so. You are not biologically programmed in the same way an animal is. When you leave your house every day, there could be an obstacle that trips you up every time. Let’s say it was a cheap doormat that had the edge folded up. Every stinking day, on your way out, it trips you up. It caused you many times to spill coffee on yourself, drop your keys, slip, and trip. If you continue to live with this faulty doormat, you’d be living just like an animal, thinking that’s the way things are. But you aren’t just an animal, are you? You are a human being, gifted with intellect and reasoning.

You could philosophize about why people put doormats in front of their doors in the first place. You could debate with whomever it was that put it there. You could theorize a possible solution to weigh down the corner that causes you to trip. Or, rather than continue to put up with the blasted thing, you could declare that enough was enough. You could roll up the doormat and throw it in the trash. How you choose to deal with your obstacles is a choice that you alone have to make. If you decide to wait on others to come fix your problem with the doormat, it may never happen!

Find something that is worthwhile and good, that you can conquer. When we are challenged, it awakens something within us that likes to be stirred. It’s one of the reasons we like competition with others so much. It’s why many of us seek to outperform our previous best efforts. We enjoy growth, movement, and the rise to a good challenge. Stop waiting for the world to solve your problems and start solving them yourself. If you want to live a life of excellence, it means you have to take charge of your life!

Live by Your Choice

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Are you the product of your choices or those of another? Hopefully, it’s the first because you are the one that has to live with those choices! The truth is most of us have given in to peer pressure at some point. Doing so causes us to lean toward other people’s choices in order to fit in with them. The voice inside that tells us not listen to them gets pushed back into the corner of our minds.

Young people get faced with this on a regular basis because peer pressure starts out early in life. It is a time when they are trying to figure out who they are and just want to be accepted. They haven’t realized yet that their opinion of themselves is far more valuable than anyone else’s opinion of them. Without knowing the consequences of their choices, they often let others choose for them. Sadly, the price can be severe enough to cause much heartache over the course of their lives.

There is a strong desire at that age to be either popular or be liked by popular people. Back then, we always rounded our age up, trying to get into the next bracket. In our rush to become adults, we were tempted to try things that made us appear like adults. Girls tried on makeup. Guys tried to shave before they even had facial hair. With all the variety of drinks we have available now, children are even drinking coffee now. They witness people smoking cigarettes, vaping, drinking alcohol, stealing, or doing drugs. Their eyes see things that they should not be seeing at their age.

Somehow one of their friends gets hold of something and the pressure starts to build. If strong willed, they may resist for a time. If enough pressure comes from the outside, without strength enough on the inside, its only a matter of time before they give in or are smart and run far from it. No one ever decides to become an addict. It doesn’t happen overnight, which is why most people get fooled, and certainly not to someone like them. It starts with the statement, “just this once”. After that, the trick is in thinking that it can be stopped any time. For some, that statement is true. But for the unfortunate rest, it might be too late, and they become enslaved to an addiction.

This is why parents and guardians always want to know, who do you hang out with? If you hang out with the wrong crowd, you will eventually end up doing the wrong thing. If you don’t know the consequences of the actions you are thinking about taking, talk to someone wise who does. Live by the choice of the one who should have the greatest interest in your choice, the one who stands to lose or gain the most because of it; you.