Today’s Quote: “We imagine that we want to escape our selfish and commonplace existence, but we cling desperately to our chains.” Anne Sullivan
I read Anne Sullivan’s quote in my local paper last week and it struck a nerve. I think I’m about two cheeseburgers and one bag of lemon cookies from clinging desperately to some chains of my own. I hear them rattling every time I open my mouth and whine and complain about what I whined and complained about yesterday and last week. Though I wouldn’t consider my existence commonplace or selfish—no one ever does—I seem to be whining and complaining more about more and more. Here’s why that’s a problem:
The only person you can change is you. No matter how much you want to “fix” somebody, everybody, or anybody else –- you must start with you. You must identify the problem and solve it if you can or if you choose to. To fix the problem, my friend Kimberlee says choose the best solution from the choices you have at the time, and move forward. So, it looks like instead of whining, I could be doing something, anything, everything differently. Being indecisive isn’t one of the options. Make a decision, accept what comes next—good, bad or ugly, and let it go. If you just want to identify the problem so you have a perennial topic for conversation, become a hermit before you bore your friends to tears being “one-note Johnny ”— no matter where the conversation starts, it ends in the same place. Unless you want cheese, don’t whine.
Plan your work and work your plan. Yes, it’s that simple. Build success into your systems so there can only be one outcome. SUCCESS! Having a successful outcome cuts moaning, whining and complaining to a bare minimum. My father often reminded us that if a train leaves the station and stays on track, it will reach its destination. Of course he was right—the train might be slow, the tracks might even be a little rocky, but staying on course is its key to success. Leave the station today and don’t get caught up in the chains and foolishness that could derail your dreams.
Choose carefully. Whether it’s friends, food, new places, your work, where you live—you get the picture. Make good choices. Those folks who bring you down with their whining and negativity, limit your time with them—for your sake as well as theirs. If your workplace is toxic and/or dysfunctional and literally makes you sick, plan an exit strategy. Early in my work life, I had a job and it was a misery—pure, measurable, unadulterated misery. I was Employee #15 so they would’ve had to lay almost everybody off before they got to me. One Friday when the company announced a layoff, I volunteered. I was blessed to find a more suitable job the following Monday and I haven’t looked back except to shout hallelujah that God gave me the courage to step out on faith.
Speaking of faith, today’s an excellent time to step out on it. You can trust God with all that concerns you—your family, health, home, dreams, work–everything (except the whining and complaining). God wants you to escape your chains, your selfish and commonplace existence, and live triumphantly! Like the Nike commercial, just do it!