Chapter 5 Lessons Learned:
It's All About Choices

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Is our current situation defined by our circumstances or by our choices? So often we feel like our challenges prevent us from reaching our full potential. Actually these challenges are the seeds that, if nurtured, allow us to become more than who we currently are; more than we ever dreamed we could be.

Let's take a look at how the choices of some of the greatest figures in our history made an impact that still affects us today. Actually, you may need to do a little research, but I promise you that it will be worth it. I want you to look past what the history books tell you in their limited space, and really look at the lives of anyone who has succeeded in this world. I promise that you will find that they have had their own adversities and personal hells to deal with. Yet when these adversities arose, they made the choice as to how they were going to respond.

I related the story of George Washington and choices that he made that dramatically affected his life, and our country earlier, but let’s look to some others also. People who are loved and respected by millions like Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Bach, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King. All these people turned their adversities into accomplishments. You may ask, “What kinds of adversities did they have?”

Look to their lives, and you will see things like Albert Einstein being told as a child that he was stupid, that he would never learn anything and never become anything. He left school when he was 15 because of poor grades in history, geography and languages. But look what his love for mathematics and physics led him to.

What about Beethoven? Even though he stared his life coming from a family that was quite prosperous, with the death of his grandfather in 1773 and the decline of his father into alcoholism, the Beethoven family became steadily poorer. By the age of 11 Beethoven had to leave school; at 18 he was the breadwinner of the family. He continued to stay focused on his music and in 1784 he was sent to study with Mozart. But his studies were cut short. Two months after arriving, he received news that his mother had died. Beethoven as many of us, had choices. He could have given up and turned to a lesser calling. But he chose instead to stay true to his love, and in doing so changed the course of music forever. Oh, and did I mention that he wrote some of his most influential music after losing his hearing? Some of his greatest works were created when he was completely deaf. He had choices to make, he could surrender to the very real fact that he couldn’t hear, or choose to find a way to continue.

Look at the challenges that Martin Luther King Jr. had to face. Look at Nelson Mandela, Mozart, Og Mandino and Gandhi, all of these people that we look up to as having great success and influence. People who are successful did not become successful because they didn’t fail. They became successful because they DID fail. They often times failed the most. They just made choices to continue rather than succumb to those failure.

The library is full of books detailing the life stories of people who overcame great adversity to leave a lasting mark on the world. And this applies to people from every profession and every background. Look at Oprah Whinfrey and Whoopie Goldberg, or Sylvester Stallone and Daunte Cullpepper. Whether you choose to look to business people, entertainers, sports figures, politicians, educators or philosophers you will find that in each field, some of those who have made the biggest impact, had to overcome amazing adversities to achieve such great success.

So if these amazing human beings can accomplish so much, what will prevent you from achieving your highest aspirations? Nothing. You make the choices. You are the only one who will decide what life you will live. The Universe offers you a life full of abundance and happiness, if you choose to accept it. At the same time, if you choose to live a life of quiet desperation, the Universe will allow you to have that as your wish. I pray you can see this now and look deep inside for the strength to say, “Enough. I have more potential than I give myself credit for, and I will not accept anything less than the best from myself anymore!”

The saddest part that many people do not understand is that life does not make value judgments on what you deserve. Life gives you exactly what you ask for. Exactly what you choose. If you are not currently living the life you would like to live, remember it all comes down to a matter of choices. Your relationship, your job, your finances, everything around you is exactly what you have chosen it to be.

I can remember the impact the first time I read the following poem which was in Napolean Hill’s best selling book Think and Grow Rich.

    I bargained with life for a penny,
    And Life would pay no more,
    However I begged at evening,
    When I counted my scanty store.

    For Life is just an employer,
    He gives you what you ask,
    But once you have set the wages,
    Why, you must bear the task.

    I worked for a menial’s hire,
    Only to learn, dismayed,
    That any wage I had asked Life,
    Life would have willingly paid

Have you considered what you have been asking Life for lately?

< Chapter 4                                                                               Chapter 6 >


The Warrior Sage Part 2: Lessons Learned Chapter/Section

Lessons Learned Through Sacred Scars
Chapter 1: Understanding The Power Of The Sub-Conscious Mind
Chapter 2: Discovering Peace
Chapter 3: Living In The Now
Chapter 4: The Gift Is In The Present Moment
Chapter 5: It's About Choices
Chapter 6: Understanding Change
Chapter 7: The Power Of Modeling
Chapter 8: Being Human - What Does It Mean?
Chapter 9: The Cost Of Living A Dual Life

The Warrior Sage: Sacred Scars Chapter/Section

Who Is Willard Barth?
Author's Notes
Preface - Exploring Strength And Weakness
Chapter 1:1 - The Process Of Self-Awareness
Chapter 1:2 The Stages Of Child Development
Chapter 2:1 The World Changed Forever
Chapter 2:2 The Vicious Cycle Begins
Chapter 2:3 Losing Faith
Chapter 2:4 My Dark Secret
Chapter 2:5 Where Is The Love I Was Promised?
Chapter 3:2 The Road To Alcohol Dependence
Chapter 3:3 Leaving My Childhood Behind
Chapter 3:4 Escaping Responsibility; The Joy Ride Ends
Chapter 3:5 Living A Duality Begins
Chapter 3:6 Out Of Control
Chapter 3:7 Crossing The Line To Insanity
Chapter 3:8 The Black-out Drinking Begins
Chapter 3:9 Facing The Music
Chapter 3:10 A New Beginning
Chapter 3:11 More Lessons To Learn
Chapter 4:1 The Final Party
Chapter 4:2 A Moment Of Clarity
Chapter 4:3 My New Life Begins
Chapter 4:4 Sober, Time To Face The World
Chapter 4:5 The First Year Of Sobriety 
Chapter 4:6 Major Change Comes In Year Two
Chapter 4:7 My Daughter Is Born April 20, 1992
Chapter 5:1 Life Changing Decisions Follow My Daughter's Birth
Chapter 5:2 Recognizing The Voice Inside
Chapter 5:3 The Empress Hotel
Chapter 5:4 A New Chapter In My Life Begins
Chapter 6:1 Finding My Way Home
Chapter 6:2 Falling Into Place
Chapter 6:3 A New Awareness
Chapter 6:4 Personal Finances and Personal Development
Chapter 6:5 The George Washington Story
Chapter 6:6 Letting Go So Others Can Grow
Chapter 6:7 The Wrap Up


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