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It's Your Life; Own It!
No Blame, No Excuses ...
By LaSharnda Beckwith
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2014 Dr. LaSharnda Beckwith
All rights reserved.
"Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" Philippians 1:6
Personal Assistant: "Dr. Beckwith you have a telephone call, the person is Suzy Q.
Dr. Beckwith: "Okay, put her through; I have been expecting her."
Suzy Q: "Good morning Dr. Beckwith. I am so glad to be able to talk to you today."
Dr. Beckwith: "Me too. What can I do for you?"
Suzy Q: "I want to talk about my career to see if you can help me" [lots of discussion and then ...]
Dr. Beckwith: "Okay, what is it that you really want your ultimate job to be?"
Suzy Q: "I want to be a Vice President in Marketing, but I really don't want to supervise people."
Dr. Beckwith: "Do you work in marketing now? You do know that being in any level of management generally requires that you supervise people; right?"
Suzy Q: "I don't work in marketing, I work in the Call Center and I thought in marketing I would have a small group to supervise."
Dr. Beckwith: "Is there a particular career track that you can move into that can put you on the road to moving over in marketing? Do you have marketing experience? We must talk about leadership and the role of leaders in developing other people. You want to be in a leadership role but you don't want to supervise people? That is impossible."
Yes, that was a real conversation that I had with someone. When I replay that conversation in my mind, I am still surprised by what played out that day. Concisely, this person has not thought through the real-life ramifications of their decisions.
~Have You Thought About It?
Many people want external representations of success and if they lack it, they feel that they have failed. That's why it is so important to decide what's important to your life. What is it that you want out of life? Be clear about it in your own mind. Admit to yourself that whatever you want will take hard work and don't be afraid to do the work.
You see, many people do not know what "they" want in life. They see what others have, the money, power, possessions and want it too. However, that is coveting thy neighbor, and although it works for your neighbor, it may not for you.
~I Know Many Suzy's; Don't You?
I have met many like Suzy Q. They go to school and get a formal education; they meet others in the workplace or in some social setting that they want to be like. They want to be a part of the in-crowd, but they don't really understand what's involved in what they want; they can be setting themselves up for failure. The minute things do not go their way, it will be someone else's fault or they will blame others or themselves, for being so stupid. If they are fired or demoted, they will place the blame somewhere else.
On the other hand, if the person had gotten clear on what it was in life that they truly wanted. Had they acknowledged at the very beginning that the process of pursuing would involve time, effort, some successes and maybe some failures? Had they also admitted that every step of the journey would be okay; in the end, there would be a happy and fulfilled person. Do you know why? Because they would have controlled their destiny.
From the very beginning, Suzy Q was not aware that she had not thought thoroughly about what she really wanted in a career. She did not want to supervise people but she wanted to be a vice president; the two are not exclusive!
~Meet Bobby B~
Now meet Bobby B. Bobby B. met someone special who was 30 years younger than he was. In fact she was in her 20's and he was 50 years old! He loved being with her, but most times he paid for their dinners, vacations, and all the things they did together and all she did apart from him. She was happy to be taken care of and he didn't seem to mind. Eventually she started seeing others and simply did not show up when they were supposed to be together. He sat waiting on her for hours. He knew that she was probably out doing what young people do, but he sat and waited anyway. He eventually grew upset about how she treated him and confronted her with why he was upset. She understood his frustration, but she continued with her 20 year old behavior. I don't know if he, like Suzy Q, had thought through his decision to date a person 30 years younger and what impact that decision would ultimately have on his life's happiness.
The point is this. He can date her; he can do whatever he pleases except blame her or anyone outside of that relationship. It was his total decision to enter the relationship with her. The question now becomes, what will his decision be for his life from this point forward? It's his life and only he can make the decisions for it. He can choose to think of long-term happiness or short-term gratification. Either is fine with me, I don't have to live his life. Is it fine with him? Suzy Q did not think through her professional decision and Bobby B had not thought through his personal decision.
~When We Know Better, Do We Really Do Better?
What is similar about both situations is that each of them made their own decisions. It can be argued that Suzy Q did not have a good grasp of her situation. That may be true, but she was made aware. Bobby B was aware that the young lady he was dating was only 20 years old. Yet, he decided to continue seeing her anyway. He, too, made his own decision.
Why do you think each of us knows what we should do, but we don't do it? Seriously, why? Because we think that we will be the exception, that's why. We ignore what is right before us; we ignore the big, white elephant in the room. We think subconsciously perhaps, that if we ignore it, it might somehow go away on its own. That almost never happens!
Awareness is defined as "having knowledge; consciousness". Awareness is the first step in helping you create the life you want to represent your true self. Being our true selves takes work; hard work, and it takes intention.
Awareness and intention are all good, but what's important to know is that being aware requires discipline. Therein lies a problem. Anytime I say anything about hard work, I know people turn off mentally. But anything worth pursuing requires some amount of effort. If you want your life to change for the better, you must be willing to put in the time and energy to do it.
Changing one's life means changing one's thoughts. You must intentionally grab your thoughts and make sure you push out the negative and pull in the positive. You cannot allow your mind to simply go with the flow. Those who go with the flow are not disciplined people and they will find themselves letting life control them rather than the opposite.
As humans, we tend to be reactionary rather than proactive. If we like something or want something, we allow our feelings to take us where they will; that's reactionary. Being aware of that one fact can put you on the track that you need to change the direction of your life. Being unaware will produce the exact opposite.
I have heard people say that they simply were not aware of how their decisions would impact their lives. Many times they were aware; they just chose to ignore the warning signs. When we stop and weigh the pros and cons of our decisions, we can usually see the cons easier than the pros, but we focus on the pros; we conclude that we can manage the cons; we really hope and pray that our decision-making processes will turn in our favor.
Bobby B should have known that as a 50 year old, that 20 year old girl might grow old of him and that she, and he, really did not have anything meaningful in common. He was lustfully in love with her youth and maybe his ability to manipulate her. She, on the other hand, was in awe of a handsome, dashing man, who inspired her with his wisdom. He was a man of means with money; he could care for her as her father did!
I believe that Bobby B knew all of that, but he did not care. He wanted to be with her, overlooking the fact that she would eventually want to hang out with people her own age. He was willing to accept that she might want to hang out with her younger crowd.
Did the young lady have any responsibility in this? Of course, but not for his decisions, only for her own. Bobby B can't blame her for his life and she really can't blame him for her life. Each made a decision that would affect each of their lives.
Many of us will be easier on her than on Bobby B because of her age. However, in the end, both were of age to make decisions that would affect their own lives. They have to own those decisions.CHAPTER 2
I do not play the lottery! That is unless my husband strongly suggests that I buy a ticket! He says that we could win $300 million dollars! Even then, I am apprehensive in spending my buck. I grudgingly stop by the local QT or some convenience store, walk in, and immediately feel awkward because I don't know how to fill out the little form.
Someone helps me along the way and I finish filling out my ticket with my numbers and walk out the door. I put the ticket somewhere I may never find it or even think about it again.
My husband asks about it and I can't find it. Look, I say to myself, I don't believe in playing the lottery! I feel it is wasteful. I have this opinion that while one is wasting money playing the lottery, that same energy can be better spent doing something for God or to better their lives.
~I Don't Have Time for That~
I don't have to tell you of the millions of folks who sit around day-dreaming of winning the lottery. Many work and many do not work regular jobs, yet they play the lottery. I have always thought that the amount of time and energy people put into buying those tickets could be used in doing something much more productive. They could be writing a book, creating a beautiful garden, painting, drawing or better yet, volunteering. They could be doing anything that would help them develop themselves but instead they are sitting around waiting for the lottery to hit.
This in itself is a flaw in our thinking patterns and this flaw stems back to our value system. It says much about what we see as important and what we feel deeply about.
If you sit and obsess about getting rich and never do anything worthwhile to get rich, what does that really say about how one thinks? Does it say that we really believe that we were put on this earth to sit and wait for wealth to come to us without lifting a finger to gain it? Does it also indicate that if we do not get it the way we "think" we should that we will blame someone else for our lack of having anything?
Again, I ask the question, are those who behave in this manner aware of what they should be doing? Or are they aware and simply choose to ignore that part of their lives? I say that some are aware and others are truly unaware. I know that's not the answer you wanted to hear. But check out these statistics:
Fact 1: The Lottery Victimizes the Poor
A California study revealed that 40% of lottery players are unemployed. (*ALCAP)
In Maryland, the poorest 1/3 of the population buys 60% of the daily numbers tickets. (ALCAP)
In Georgia, those who make less than $25,000 a year spend three times as much on lottery tickets than those who make $75,000 or more per year (*AFA)
On the national average, lottery gamblers with household incomes under $10,000 dollars bet nearly 3 times as much on the lottery as those with incomes over $50,000. (*ERLC)
A 1988 New Jersey study found that among lottery players with income of less than $10,000 per year, the average percentage of income spent on lottery tickets was almost 21%. (ERLC)
In Massachusetts, individuals in the poorer cities of Worcester and Chelsea spent an average of $336 and $445, respectively, on lottery tickets in the early 1990s. Those in wealthier towns such as Weston and Amherst, spent an average of $30 and $42, respectively. (AFA)
A University of Texas study found that players with a high school diploma or less spent more than $250 a year on the lottery. (AFA)
In Michigan, a 1994 study in Detroit found that people with less than a high school diploma spend over five times more than those with a college degree spend. (AFA)
In New Mexico, in 1996, three of its poorest counties ranked among the top-10 best-selling counties in lottery ticket sales. (AFA)
A 1996 Virginia Lottery study found that 13% of those who purchased tickets said playing the lottery reduced the money they would normally spend on household expenses. (AFA)
Economics Professor and lottery expert, Dr. Robert Goodman, says that after 3 to 5 years, many people stop playing the lottery because they can no longer afford it. ("The Luck Business," by Dr. Robert Goodman)
Fact 2: The Lottery Exploits Persons of All Ages
In Texas, the Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse found that the introduction of a state lottery increased the number of adults who gambled by 40%. (AFA)
Senior citizens are the fastest growing group of problem gamblers. In 1997 the state of Minnesota saw an increase of 200% in problem gambling among seniors.
According to a 1995 survey in Florida, 72% of the senior citizen problem gamblers there said the source of their problem was the lottery. (AFA)
When California legalized a state lottery in 1985, gambling among adolescents increased by 40%. (AFA)
In lottery states, 1/3 of minors have illegally purchased tickets. (ALCAP)
In Indiana, 65% of minors play the lottery. (ALCAP)
Fact 3: The Lottery Is a Sucker's Bet. The odds of winning the lottery are ...
1 chance in 54 million (ERLC)
The chance of winning a jackpot like the record-setting Powerball lottery that occurred in May, 1998 is 1 in 80 million!
Compare this to your chances of experiencing some other incidents in life. Before you rush to judge me because you think that I am judging you; don't! I have no problem at all if you play the lottery. I just want you to be aware of some startling facts.
Many times we don't even recognize some behaviors that maybe detrimental to our lives unless someone helps us see. Remember earlier on I said that we have to intentionally control those thoughts that flow through our minds? I still mean that. We have to watch our thoughts and those things that seemingly mean nothing because they will shape our values.
The Bible says, "The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things" (Philippians 4:9)
The lottery? Instead of waiting for the lottery to hit before you take control of your life, take responsibility for who you are and where you are in life now and then take your life where you want it to go. Most will not win the lottery; they will only give their money away. Most who think that their lives will be perfect when they win the lottery, will continue to be miserable and hold attitudes of dependence on external things to live full happy lives. You don't need to be one of those people. The lottery sucks the blood out of you ...
~Guard Against Mosquitoes~
Mosquitoes fly around looking for someone or something they can suck the blood from. They don't bring with them anything other than disease. They attach themselves to a person and don't let go until they suck all they can or until someone kills them.
I wonder if mosquitoes think. I don't believe so. Their goal is to land on you, attach to you and bite you to suck blood. We hit them and complain about them. However, if we are thinking strategically, we prepare for the potential attack of the mosquito. We put on mosquito repellant. We do that in anticipation of being bitten. We guard ourselves against the attack!
This is what step 2 is all about. It is an action taken; intentional actions that will help you protect yourself from the mosquito. Should we not do the same for our minds?
Excerpted from It's Your Life; Own It! by LaSharnda Beckwith. Copyright © 2014 Dr. LaSharnda Beckwith. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 ~Become Aware~, 1,
Chapter 2 ~Lottery Anyone?, 9,
Chapter 3 ~It's Your Decision~, 17,
Chapter 4 ~The Blame Game~, 27,
Chapter 5 ~Not All Experiences Will Be Positive~, 31,
Chapter 6 ~Are You Good with Yourself?, 37,
Chapter 7 ~Frustration Hurts You~, 43,
Chapter 8 ~Will I Follow? Really?, 55,
Chapter 9 ~Which Are You?, 59,
Chapter 10 ~Life Isn't Always Wonderful~, 65,
Chapter 11 ~Are You Strong? Or Are You Scrawny?, 69,
Chapter 12 ~Endurance Builds Strength~, 73,
Chapter 13 ~We Just Have to Walk Through It~, 77,
Chapter 14 ~God's Ways Are Not Our Ways~, 85,
Chapter 15 ~Thrive Despite Your Adversity~, 89,
Chapter 16 ~Your Life Has Purpose~, 99,
Chapter 17 ~No More Excuses~, 103,
Chapter 18 ~Live Your Life With The End In Mind~, 107,
Chapter 19 ~Turning Jealousy Into Joy~, 111,
Chapter 20 ~Is It a State of Mind?, 117,
Chapter 21 ~Feel Gratitude~, 119,
Chapter 22 ~Just Trust Him~, 123,
Chapter 23 ~What Makes You Wonderful?, 127,
Chapter 24 ~Positivity Affects Your Happiness~, 131,
Chapter 25 ~Recognize You Are Not A Positive Person~, 135,
Chapter 26 ~Somebody's Watching You~, 139,
Chapter 27 ~Become the Person of Your Dreams~, 147,
Chapter 28 ~You Don't Need a Reason to Let Go~, 153,
Chapter 29 ~Sometimes We Just Need To Listen~, 163,
Chapter 30 ~Watch Your Words~, 167,
Chapter 31 ~Do You Add Value to Others?, 173,
Chapter 32 ~Do You Believe You Are Worth It?, 177,
Chapter 33 ~You Have Influence~, 181,
Chapter 34 ~Broken Promises~, 187,
Chapter 35 ~Do Yourself a Favor~, 191,
Chapter 36 ~It Helps to Really Know Him~, 195,
Chapter 37 ~Do You Want to be Successful?, 199,
Chapter 38 ~You Are God's Masterpiece~, 209,
Chapter 39 ~Small People~, 211,
Chapter 40 ~It Is Your Life; Really~, 215,
~Dr. LaSharnda's~, 219,
21 Day Reflection Journal, 219,