When a mournful Forrest Gump stands over Jenny’s grave he laments, “Jenny, I don’t know if Momma was right or if, if it’s Lieutenant Dan. I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”
The simple wisdom of Forrest was never more evident than with that observation. The important people in his life had influenced his thoughts on destiny, from the angry conviction of Lieutenant Dan, We all have a destiny. Nothing just happens. It’s all part of a plan! I had a destiny. I was supposed to die in the field with honor! That was my destiny, and you cheated me out of it! You understand what I’m saying, Gump? This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to me. I had a destiny. I was Lieutenant Dan Taylor.” to the pensive observation of his Momma, “Well, I happened to believe you make your own destiny. You have to do the best with what God gave you.”
Forrest chose to recognize that life is a combination of random occurrences and inevitable events, neither of which we have control over. Fortunately for us humans, we have the power to choose. Our choices are how we individually decide to view occurrences, interpret events, and ultimately respond to them both. It’s our choices that fundamentally create our destiny. What’s your destiny?
Your choices include your interpretation of these occurrences. Do you personalize them? Do you think the kids are purposely trying to upset you? (maybe it’s true!) Do you concoct a corporate conspiracy that is out to get you? Did those cars crash on the freeway by design to delay your commute?
So much of what occurs in our daily lives is beyond our control. In fact, everything that occurs when others are involved is out of our control, and in this crowded, connected world most events in our daily lives do ultimately involve others or are a result of other people’s actions and decisions. In reality, most of us cannot even control the split-second, initial thought or feeling about an occurrence.
So what can we control? We can ultimately choose our own outward response to the events and occurrences in our lives, can’t we? Even if the initial gut reaction to a negative event in our day is too instant and too fleeting to take control of, we can indeed control how we finally choose to view and interpret events. And most important, we can choose how we ultimately speak and act, which in effect exercises some control over our destiny, doesn’t it?
The Serenity Prayer speaks to the very notion of understanding the difference between the accidental occurrences and the choices one makes. I believe your destiny is created with the wisdom of knowing the difference.
Forrest Gump was wise when he mixed Momma’s floating around accidental-like on a breeze with Lt. Dan’s destiny. It is both. Learning to recognize the difference between things we can control versus things we can’t control is some real gump-like genius.
What?s your destiny?
To learn more on this subject continue to explore the SpeakingGump.com website or consider having Steve Weber speak at your next company or association meeting. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that!
Next Blog Title: Being Flexible
Next Blog Date: May 20, 2010