I have a question for you. Are you living the life you truly desire or are you living life by default? That’s a big question, right? One that most people rarely consider. It’s a serious issue. So often we are presented with situations and circumstances that make it seem as if we have little if any, control over the choice about what happens next.
Maybe it’s a financial issue or medical condition. Perhaps you’re dealing with an employment or business matter. Whatever it may be, outside circumstances and how we can react to them can make it appear like what happens next is beyond our control. We can have thoughts like “that’s just the way life is” or “it’s just my luck.” These are the kinds of thoughts; however, that can lead to living life by default. In other words, looking at life from this perspective can result in you living your life based upon circumstances rather than by choice.
Those who choose to live their lives to the fullest do not allow circumstances to control their destiny. Indeed, not only do they not let circumstances control their fate, but their determination to live life to the fullest can also be so strong that they frequently overcome what to some may appear to be insurmountable obstacles in route to living life by their terms. My mother Gladys Petry was indeed one such person.
Growing up during the Great Depression, she quickly learned the value of a good day’s work and a dollar. She also learned how to deal with obstacles in a way that almost always created the results she wanted most. I’ll never forget growing up as a child and to have my mother tell me: “Son, with a made-up mind you can do anything!”
It took me a long time to fully understand the power of what my mother was teaching me. After all, from a child’s perspective, it frequently appeared to me that I had little choice in what I could or couldn’t do. At home, my parents set the rules, and I was expected to follow them. At school, my teachers, coaches , and other school officials set the rules, and again I was supposed to follow them. Indeed, in each of these situations, there were negative consequences if you didn’t follow the rules. So as a child, it didn’t seem to matter whether my mind was made up or not, I had to follow the rules, and I could not do anything.
As I grew and matured, I started to get a glimpse of what my mother meant about the importance of having a made up mind. Sure there were still rules and if you violated them there may be negative consequences. Those rules, however, created the foundations and frameworks for an orderly society, they did not create limitations on what was possible to accomplish.
My mother repeated that mantra to me in her words and more importantly in her actions throughout her life: “with a made up mind, you can do anything.”
Although I thought I understood what this meant for most of my adult life, the real power of this mantra became crystal clear to me when my mother was nearly 90-years old. You see, at age 89 she fell and broke her hip while ushering at the church one Sunday morning. For many women at that age, that might have been the beginning of the end. Not for my mother, though. Her doctors told her that they could make the rest of her life very comfortable even if she decided not to have her hip surgically repaired and instead let life take its “natural course.” Without a moment’s hesitation, my mother decided to overcome the pain and difficulties of hip rehabilitation and learn to walk again. Now this would be a great ending to the story. Mom triumph’s and walks again, but it’s not the end. Indeed, it’s not even close to the end. The story gets much better.
About a year after my mother learned to walk again, she began having serious issues relating to a heart condition. Indeed, the condition was progressive, and there was no cure. As this condition continued to progress, it meant many visits to the hospital. During one hospital stay, a team of palliative care doctors came into my mother’s room and asked her if it was okay if they spent a few minutes talking to her about her condition. My mom graciously said sure, and the doctors went on to explain to my mother that she was very near the end of her life. I sat by quietly listening to and observing the doctors and my mom. They explained that my mother had a choice. She could again elect to be made comfortable and allow life to take its natural course or she could decide to keep fighting the heart condition although in their medical opinion that would mean she would be uncomfortable and not likely to live much longer.
When the lead doctor finished talking, he asked my mother if she understood what they had explained. My mom responded: “Yes doctor I heard most of what you said, and if its okay I have something I want to share with you.” Again, I sat quietly. In part, because I was saddened to hear that my mother was nearing the end of her life, but also out of respect for what I had seen my mom do throughout her life.
The young doctor said: “Sure, Mrs. Petry we want to know how you feel about this.” Then my mother continued saying: “I just want to let you know that I’m not going to die today, tomorrow, next week or next month . I still have some things that I want to do with my son, and I’m going to do them.”
My mother made these statements with such conviction that everyone in the room sat in silence for a few moments. I pondered whether the doctors were right and at the same time wondering if my mother could do it again. The doctors, I believe, were stunned that a 90-year-old woman in her health condition, could have the courage and determination to make another run at life.
Well, I’m proud to report that she did do it again. Despite having a full team of doctors tell her that she was very near the end of her life, my mother went on to live another year and a half. What’s even more impressive is not only did she continue living, but she lived her life to the fullest each and every day of her life when it would have been so easy and “comfortable” for her to have chosen to allow her circumstances to control her life.
So again my question for you is this: are you living your life in the way you truly desire to live it or are you living your life by default? It’s an important decision and the way you answer it can make a world of difference.
This blog post was written by Rick Petry. Catch Rick at momondays Kitchener-Waterloo, ON on 12/19/2016! Get your advance tickets here: Buy Tickets
Rick Petry is a speaker, consultant, Ultimate Success Coach and self-described neuroscience nerd. He loves helping people explore the way they see their world and invites them to ask these questions: If you could experience your world from another perspective, would you show up in your world differently and create different results?
If you answered these questions: “yes,” then you’ll enjoy Rick’s message.
Rick is also the CEO of 1 Lucky Dog Media, Ltd., a digital marketing agency focusing on helping entrepreneurs and service providers create more wealth and freedom in their lives and businesses.
If you want to create more wealth and freedom in your life, then contact Rick at coach@rickpetryspeaks or visit his website to learn how Rick can help you create results that you once thought were impossible. http://www.RickPetrySpeaks.com.