|Posted by Dan Castro on February 11, 2015 at 2:35 PM|
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NOTE: As a thank you for reading this blog post, we are providing you with a free excerpt from Dan Castro’s book CRITICAL CHOICES THAT CHANGE LIVES.
Once there was a wise old prophet known far and wide for his ability to solve any puzzle. A brazen youth came up with a strategy to stump the prophet. He decided to bring the man a bird held behind his back. He would ask the prophet whether the bird was dead or alive. Then depending on the prophet's answer, he would either squeeze the bird's neck to kill it or let it live. One day, the young man approached the prophet and with his hands behind his back said, "Old man, tell me whether the bird I hold in my hand is alive or dead." The prophet paused for a long moment and stared into the young man's eyes. The young man smiled, thinking he had gotten the best of the old man. After a long silence, the prophet declared, "It is as you would have it."
So it is in life. Many times, we are faced with difficult choices that seem to have no right answer—crises that demand an answer now, with little time to study the options. But the outcome always depends not on the circumstances but on our reaction to the circumstances. In the words of the prophet, “It is as we would have it.” Few things in life are truly beyond our control. No matter what comes our way, we can always influence the outcome, even if ever so slightly. Even during those times when circumstances and events take place in our lives that seem to turn our whole world upside down, the final impact it has on our lives is still largely up to us. The decisions we make determine the final impact.
By now, the story of Nazi death camp survivor Viktor Frankl is well known. Many behavioral scientists, psychiatrists, motivational speakers and preachers have analyzed how Frankl was able to survive and prosper in the midst of great sorrow and extreme difficulty. I will only briefly discuss the story here for those who may not have heard it.
While Viktor Frankl was in a Nazi death camp, a Nazi soldier noticed that he was wearing a wedding band. He forced Frankl to stand naked in the cold and stretch out his arms. Then the soldier pulled the ring off of Frankl’s weak, frail finger and threw it in the mud and stomped on it. It was the last remaining possession Frankl owned.
But as he stood there naked, Frankl realized he still had one thing left that the Nazis could not take from him: the power to choose his outlook on life; the power to determine how he would react to his captors; the power to keep believing and to keep going. The undying belief that he would one day be free was the source of energy that kept him alive until the Allied Forces defeated Germany and he was ultimately freed. There was no reason for Frankl to believe except his choice to believe. This was more important to his survival than food and warmth.
We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it. For example, if your car starts to skid out of control on a wet road, experts tell us you have two options. You could either slam on the brakes, which would exaggerate the skid and cause you to lose control completely, or you could slowly release your foot from the gas pedal and turn in the direction of the skid, which would bring you out of the skid. You have a split second to make a decision. Which action you take could determine whether you live or die. It is your decision, therefore, not the wet road, that determines the final outcome. If you could practice the proper maneuver over and over in a controlled setting, it could save your life one day. But, unfortunately, most of the crises we face in life don’t come with a dress rehearsal. There are, however, some crises that are predictable and for which you can and should prepare.
Commercial airplane pilots, as part of their training, are exposed to predictable emergencies in flight simulators so that they can learn how to react in a real crisis. This training teaches them which decisions to make quickly when time is critical. Usually the answers to every flying emergency are readily available, but untrained pilots tend to panic and not think of the options they have in time to prevent tragedy. Private pilots are not required to go through this simulated decision-making process. As a result, private pilots have accidents 200 times more frequently than do commercial airline pilots. You see, it’s not whether your plane stalls that determines whether you live or die; it’s how you react when your plane stalls that determines your fate. How a pilot reacts is dependent on the split-second decisions he or she makes.
In the U.S. Army, the Rangers, an elite fighting force, are required as part of their training to go through rigorous survival training in which they must eat bugs and leaves and suffer extreme physical conditions. This training teaches them that they can do anything they need to do in order to live. This training builds confidence, layer by layer, and leaves well-worn paths and patterns in their brains that they can follow instinctively if they ever encounter a similar situation in real life. They come to believe that even when they are in grave danger, there might be alternatives to death, if they choose to exercise them. This belief allows them to see potential sources of food, shelter and weapons that others might not see.
Remember, if you are buying or selling real estate in Austin, contact Rose Castro at Austin Options Realty.