Everyone comes into the world with a hand full of cards that was not of their own choosing. It’s the hand they were dealt.
- We have innate intelligence that was hard wired upon our entrance.
- We didn’t choose the family we were born into – nor did they choose theirs!
- The connections in our formative years were determined by someone else.
- The disposition logged into our genes began to take on a life of its own.
- The circumstances of your childhood were not designed by you.
“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
We use the gambler’s metaphor of being dealt a bad or a good hand. Yet we forget that wild cards also exist in that deck.
We all possess a wild card.
Just as in a game of poker, a wild card can make all the difference in the world. That wild card consists of the choices we make and it impacts all the other cards. Using that card well is the key to success. Life has continuous forks in the road, and it’s important to make the choices that your future will thank you for.
Here are 5 things to remember as you play your wild card.
1. Always start with the end in mind. We make our decisions and those decisions turn around and make us. Go out in time and determine the final outcome you desire. Too many people approach life like it’s a lottery ticket – if you hang around long enough your number will come up. At last, everything you’ve ever wanted will be yours! But it never happens. Just ask those who bought a ticket. There is a 5,000,000 to 1 chance of picking a winner — which equals zero.
2. Make sure your choices are adding up. Focus on the now. Knowing your desired “end” points to what matters now. If it doesn’t matter tomorrow then it doesn’t matter now. So focus your energy on today. Look at the path that will get you to the life you want. Are the current choices being made moving you down the road? Do those choices add up? Where do you need to hit the delete button, and where do you need to adjust? What should you continue to do? Do the math.
3. Never fail to choose yourself. It’s very exhausting to pretend to be who you know you aren’t. Wearing masks wears you out.
Faking becomes fatiguing.
Wear the mask long enough and it begins to feel like your own skin. You can forget who you really are. Sometimes it takes a pretty big jolt to crack the mask. Choose your voice over someone else’s. When you take that deep dive you get past the self-imposed choices of others. It’s freeing and refreshing. But more importantly it fuels your ability to choose wisely.
4. Simplify your choices. Fewer choices lead to better results. Research has shown that people who have too many choices have a harder time choosing. We live in an options-rich environment. If we don’t simplify our choices our thought process becomes paralyzed. The key choices of…
- who we will serve
- what principles we will live by
- what kind of relationships we will value
- what we will believe about ourselves
are the key categories that determine positive decisions. We desire more choices because information is addictive. As humans, when we simplify and become confident in our decisions, we stop seeking additional information and move forward.
And don’t miss this last one….
5. It’s never too late to make good choices. Where you are in life is temporary. Where you end up in life is permanent. How you get from point A to point B is entirely up to you. You can’t make positive progress with a negative attitude. This might mean you need to avoid negative people in your life. No one can choose for you unless you let them. The biggest step to changing the world around you is to change the world within you. Don’t let the past immobilize you. Learn from bad choices, stupid choices, and lazy choices. They deepen you, but don’t define you. They fuel your present choices which in turn impacts the rest of your life.
The cards you hold can change dramatically when you insert the wild card – your choices. What seems intimidating becomes manageable. You gain more courage by acting.
Courage is rarely given up front. Confidence is on the back end of the choices you make.
Don’t get stuck accepting your life. Make sure you are leading it.
What is your wild card? Looking back one year from now, what is the choice you need to make today?