No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.
Agnes De Mille
I was conducting a communication skills workshop to one of the NGOs in Lebanon in a program for motivating people with special needs to enter the labor market. It was common to those young individuals that “normal people”, as they described, look at them as weak individuals, and treat them accordingly. Wherever they go, whatever place they enter even in the workplace, they hear or see the pity in the face of the people. Despite the fact that those strong individuals have great credentials of academic background, the maximum that they can look for, is a non-value added position, a lower status, just a job that they can secure a small income from.
Those powerful individuals gave me a great lesson then, a lesson about decisions… and destinies forged by their ambitions. In that class, you can say that “potential was in the air”. People who belong to different academic backgrounds powered by life examples, know their points of strengths which they build the blocks of their future upon, and know the fact of their physical limitations, and yet make a humongous effort to overcome them.
It hit my thoughts how we “normal people” as they described us, fall into the trap of our own inner perception of things, even the slightest sickness, or the bad-hair day effect, can ruin our days…
Letting our limitations, or at least what we think they are, take over and control our lives, we literally let them shape our destinies, hence we let them write our book of life.
Rita, one of this class attendees, came late that day, I saw at her entrance a charismatic personality that can spread positive energy to a whole village, she had such a charming weapon and shield, it was her smile, a genuine smile that never left her face…
“With this smile, I make my destiny”, she said, replying on my argument on how our emotions influence our decisions. “When I was diagnosed as fully paralyzed, I was at the age of 9, it was after a damaging flu hit my whole body, and even the doctor after 3 years of me being in the special care center ordered that I leave, being so sure there was no room for improvement for my case” she stated. She had to convince the doctor at that age that she wanted to stay; her words were mixed with her lovely smile still, “doctor, it’s my life, and I decide to live, if you give up, it’s your problem, but I am not”. She was on the wheel chair back then, with even half of her body up to the face paralyzed as she described, and with that strong will, the smile, she faced her illness, which many of us would take for a limitation, a huge one…
With this smile she got over the wheel chair, with very long and hard hours of physiotherapy, swimming practice, and also a very exhausting linguistics exercise. Now she is a grown-up woman, with the charm of a Cleopatra, the heart of a warrior, and the mind of Marx… this is not the end of the journey; she is still in the beginning of it. Her ambitions, or shall I say set targets, are to lose the walker this year and to finish her University degree so she can get a (not just an ordinary) job… I believe with that smile, with that determination and strength, she will.
That young woman made a decision, a decision to live, to fight for her life, to put all her strengths in the front line of her army of feelings, against her own limitation. That decision controlled her destiny, others would have let that destiny control their decisions, their decisions to do the job they just can perform at, not the one they really loved to do, that decision to live a life they would be just fine with, not the life they dreamed to live… she made a decision that changed her destiny, and is still doing so…
If I look at our daily interactions, feelings or decisions, I believe we can learn a lot from Rita, and that we should take a closer look at our limitations. Doing the comparison with hers, our limitations seem to be just a fraction, yet, sometimes, we let them push us to live the lives they lead, and we surrender to make them grow inside us, taking control of our lives, and kill pieces inside us day-by-day.
No matter what situation this life puts you in, remember, you always have choices… this is not the point…
It is the choice you select, the decisions you make.
We make decisions in life left and right, we adopt them, without bearing in mind the consequences of these decisions…
The simplest decision you make will make it or break it for you in no time. It will reveal another decision you will be dragged into committing yourself to, or will reveal a whole destiny you will put yourself in.
Finance, emotions, love relationships, social relationships, even the food you decide to eat decide your destiny afterwards.
Next time when you are in a restaurant, watch that old waiter, and ask yourself, why is he still a waiter? Why is his manager 20 or 30 years younger than him? Why is he putting up to whatever silliness I am making?
Next time you are in a bar or a club, take a look and embrace the faces, you’ll read a lot, trust me.
You’ll read regrets, joy, pleasure, frustration (oh boy there’s a lot of this), deception, sarcasm, selfishness, desire, instinct, and a lot more.
Next time you are in a park, take a look at the children’s faces and try to absorb the amount of emotions and feelings, take a look at the parents, watch their eyes; they will tell you a lot, how they love their little ones, how they are afraid and anxious about them, how they care for them, how they devoted a their whole life, love, care and destinies, because they took a decision once to get married and to have them.
Next time you are in a plane, take a look at the pool of personalities, traits and behaviors; take a look at the eyes of the ones next to you. There’s a whole story of decisions and destinies beneath each face, watch their whole life movie without even having them speak, they will tell you about their decisions, the pain they had or have, and the pleasure they sought or seek.
Next time when you are in a public place take a look around, you will find happy faces, sad faces, worried faces, non-chalant faces, and faces that either are full with pride and joy, or grief and pain.
Remember then, that we make decisions to reach one of the two ultimates…
We make decisions to reach Pleasure, and we make decisions to get rid of Pain.
Be wise with your decisions!