Monday, May 20, 2013

Act More Than React

Emancipate Myself
Emancipate Myself (Wikipedia)
by Weldon Smith

When we act, we are taking charge of ourselves and our lives.

When we react, we are allowing something or someone else to be in charge of us and our lives.

Of course, life is a combination of both.

We can never get to where something or someone else can't do things that affect us.

But we can get to where what we do and believe and think is because we see them as the best things, and not because we are victims of something or someone acting upon us.

We should never be in a place where any of our actions or reactions are based on what other people are doing. Our reactions, as well as our actions, should be what we see as best.

Many people have the attitude: "Well everybody else is doing it; I guess I'll do it." Or they make their decisions based on: "What's everyone else doing?" or "Who else is doing this?"

I know that many decisions of large and pseudo-powerful corporations are based on who else is doing what they are considering. There is value in learning from others' decisions and results, but those should never dictate what we do.

We have to be completely in charge of ourselves, and as in charge as we possibly can be of what goes on around us and in our lives and families. We just have to do what it takes.

A leader knows where she is and where she should be. Things happen that she cannot foretell, and when they do, she reacts the same way she acts. She knows where she is at that point, and where she should be. She makes necessary changes and moves on.

Reacting more than acting comes from not doing what it takes to be in charge of ourselves. I admit I struggle with this one from time to time. Some of us allow outside influences to have too much power over us.

Recently I read a wise man's recommendation that we emancipate ourselves from the weather. When I was a teenager I customized an old pick-up truck, with much help from my father. We got to the point of putting in a larger engine and a better drive train about the middle of January.

We were working in the driveway, and could have decided to wait till June when it was warmer, but we didn't. We went ahead and did it on days where the high temperature didn't get up anywhere close to freezing.

I remember not being able to hold a wrench anymore, so we would go inside and warm up. I remember lying under the truck where it was reasonably dry and watching it snow all around me.

No, it was not as comfortable as waiting for warmer weather, but we got it done sooner. I am thankful to my dad for teaching me that when you want something, you do what it takes.

Recently, I have wanted to stay inside when I had work to do outside, but because of lessons I had learned, I put on cap, coats, thermals, and gloves, and went out and got some work done.

In other instances, when something outside me was taking too much control from me, I have found alternate ways to get done what I needed to do. Creativity is very much a part, maybe even the principal part, of being in charge of oneself.

I exercise indoors, but I have seen people running in rain, snow, and stifling heat. You can tell how much a person acts rather than reacts, and how much he is in charge of himself by how little he lets other things keep him from doing and having or being what he has determined is best.

Doing or not doing things, or feeling or not feeling things because of how cold it is or how hot it is or whether it's precipitating is very reactionary.

I thought about the wise counsel to emancipate ourselves from weather, and I decided it is wise to emancipate ourselves, as much as possible, from jobs and bosses that don't fit us, from interest rates, from stupidity (ours and others'), from our physical yearnings, from politics (not from government; from politics and immoral or amoral laws arrived at by suspicion, second-guessing, greed, stupidity, etc.), and so forth.

Things that try to derail us in being, doing, having, and giving the things that we should, should be thrown out of our lives. Things that would hold us back should be destroyed.

Making decisions, making plans, working hard, working intelligently, being creative are things that help us be in control and act.

Watching television for many hours in the evenings and on weekends, going with the flow, taking whatever job comes along, thinking that government can and should save us from ourselves and solve all our problems force us to be out of control and to react.

Let's do what it takes to act more than react.

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