Every day we wake up, we are guaranteed one thing…. Choices
No matter our background, circumstances, location, or mindset… We still have choices. Even if all of our freedoms have been stripped away, we still have the choice in what we think, believe, and hope for in the future. Viktor Frankl, the famed Holocaust Survivor once said, ““Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Working with students-athletes, we are coaching choices and the importance of consistent choices everyday. That it is important to know that in how we do anything; is how we do everything. That all parts of life are interconnected, and truly successful people have a history of choices that align with their goals. Some people may have a better set of circumstances than others, but it is ultimately their choices over time that determines their fate. We tell them that everyday, no matter what, you will have 4 types of choices:
- Compliance: Everyday we have certain basic responsibilities. This could be making your bed, showing up on time, completing an assignment, to obey laws, to follow directions, to put the cart up at the grocery store, etc…. For many, doing these basic things is a struggle… We live in a very selfish time and if we do not see personal value in basic things, then most will skip them. However, each task completed is an accomplishment, and something positive that propels you to do the next positive thing.
- Conviction: This is that tug at your heart to do more than is expected. To stay late for work on a project, to check on a friend that does not seem right today, to lift weights after school because you want that college scholarship, to pick up someone else’s trash in the hallway, to help someone even if they do not ask… Everyday, we have these moments…. The moments we can choose to serve others and work for something greater than ourselves.
- Compromise: This is the opposite of compliance and conviction…. It is what keeps you from doing both. Compromise is when you base all of your choices on your feelings…. Feelings will fail us… Why are you late? Because I did not feel like getting up…. Why did you not stay after school? Because I felt like going home to play video games… Why didn’t I check on Sarah when I knew something was wrong? Because I felt too awkward, and decided I would just see how she is the next day. Compromise is the enemy of our ability to make a difference….. It is the enemy that will destroy the best version of yourself.
- Covenant: This is the final stage we want to get to…. The level we want to stay at consistently…. This is the promise you have written on your heart that you will do the right thing no matter what… That no matter how you feel or if you have to stand alone… You have a standard and pride about yourself to be someone that can be counted on. You get here by constantly defeating compromise to be responsible and obedient to your calling. A covenant is written every morning, because it too is a daily choice. You have decided to live by a personal code and standard of excellence.
The real battle of life is proving that you are someone that can be counted on… and that proving ground is not won in a day…. It is more precious than medals, trophies, raises, or promotions. It will be judged through every success, failure, triumph, trial, and tragedy. It is found in our choices, it is the ultimate victory; and it turns our lifetime into a legacy.