"You can lead a horse to water,
but you can't make him drink."
-- a very old saying
New: Audio version
[Classic post from 4-18-15]
This week, I gave away a lot of books. How many do you think will get read? I haven't got a clue. I certainly hope that they all would, but that seems highly unlikely. But, I have learned that it isn't my job to decide, nor can I spend any serious time being concerned about whether they get read or not. If I was concerned, I might rather not spend the money it cost to buy them, to begin with.
One of the significant mentors in my life, Jim Rohn, said that in America (this was around 1979), only 3% of the population owns a library card. I've also heard it said and seen it in writing that only 3% "succeed" in life. Their definition is those who are financially well enough off that they can "retire" comfortably without relying on supplements such as Social Security.
I used to plug into all that stuff. I don't anymore. Life is all about choices, and each of us chooses. Not all choose consciously, but they all choose. And, we are choosing all day long every day we are here living our lives on this planet.
The most significant thing I learned about this is that it isn't my decision to make for them. The only person I can decide about is me. Everyone has to make their own choice.
Can I influence? Sure. To what degree is not up to me. Ultimately, I can only lead myself, and whatever I offer to others has to be a gift without strings. If I think they should do something with that gift, that means I'm trying to decide for them. Even when people are, based on my own opinion, choosing poorly, I cannot decide for them. I might influence them, but that is all.
So, really what I was giving out this week, was a number of opportunities. "Here's an opportunity, do with it as you wish. It is a gift that I only hope could bring value to you."
How many times have you had opportunities that you blew off, didn't care for, didn't want? How many times have you had opportunities that seriously changed your life? We've all had both. The choice of what to do with them was ours alone.
The reason I'm writing this is that I think sometimes as parents, teachers, managers, leaders, that we might get frustrated that some are not responding to our teaching in the way we would like. Sometimes we see people wasting their talent--in our opinion, of course. Sometimes we simply put too much energy into what decisions others make or should make or didn't make. It just doesn't matter. I think we just need to give from our heart and mind and leave the rest up to everyone else. If we influence positively, excellent, and if we miss the mark in our own estimation, that's okay too.
The Other Person's Decision Is Not Ours To Make.
Spread Some Joy Today--by letting go of the rope.