Monthly Archives: May 2016

WWII POW & Choice: Lesson Learned

How did you reflect on memorial day?

Thanks to the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country, we are granted freedom.  Unfortunately, far too many of us never fully appreciate and leverage our single greatest freedom: choice.

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor says, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Now imagine it is World War II and you survived a horrific plane crash, followed by a seven-week journey across the Pacific in a raft only to face near starvation and unspeakable torture in Japanese POW camps.  This is the true story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini.  His tale is one of those that would be dismissed as fiction if it was not known to be true.

When all of his extrinsic freedoms were taken away he relied on his greatest intrinsic one, choice of mindset.  Rather than choose victimhood, and of all circumstances this would seem acceptable, he focused on a future of possibilities.  His positive mindset not only saved his own life but that of countless other POW’s.

You might recognize this story.  Angelina Jolie did a movie on his remarkable survival called, “Unbroken.”

As you enjoy the start of your summer, remember our armed servicemen/women, and your freedom of choice in mindset.  It is the most powerful of all our freedoms.

WhyJFC

Lesson Learned: Pivotal Life Moment

What are you waiting for?

I will never forget the date – Tuesday April 26th.  It was 6:30am and we are at Pinnacle surgery center.  Our six-year-old daughter lays on a gurney with wires all over her little body.  The doctor enters our room and says, “we’re ready.”

We placed a kiss on her little forehead before they rolled her out of the room and down the hall.  Back out to the lobby.  There we sat, among other anxious parents, awaiting our names to be called, signifying the procedure was over.

I’ve never, ever experienced such a tense feeling; seconds passed more like hours.  Things were in slow motion but for the million thoughts racing through my head.  You could hear a pin drop in the waiting room.  It’s as if my mind had hit a pause button, freezing the moment in time.

Hourglass-time

Then an epiphany hit me like a freight train.  A quote from John Maxwell consumed my thought process – “Time is an equal opportunity employer; everybody gets 24 hours a day, no more, no less – but not everybody gets the same return on their 24 hours.”  How true this is.

Fortunately for us, our daughter’s surgery was minor and her results came back clear. The experience however, put us in deep reflection – for our own little family and the other families at the surgery center. We ought to be, must be, more mindful of how we prioritize (not manage) the precious gift of time.

Reflecting on this experience I realized how minor setbacks seemingly are big deals.  Then a “real” setback hits and reality sinks in.  Never wait for a low point to remind you of the great life you routinely live.  Always be grateful.  Savor the regular days – don’t wait for the irregular ones to reveal how lucky you have it.

Make today and everyday your masterpiece!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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