Friday, January 2, 2009

The Next Five Minutes

At the end of my 6th grade year, my elementary school principal shared with me a quote from Irving Berlin that said:

"Life is 10% of what you make it and 90% of how you take it."

Life is a fascinating journey of difficulty and ease, struggle and concession, victory and defeat, joy and pain, and errors and perfection. Whether or not you believe that your existence is part of a divine plan, I think that you would agree that your path is shaped by the choices that you make. The next five minutes of your life are not promised. If you knew the date and time of your demise, how would you spend it? Would you continue to procrastinate, hold that grudge, keep smoking or drinking, or put off changing your diet? Would you ignore your spouse, put off your children, harbor envy and jealousy, or be selfish? Would you do the opposite? In an instant, you could make the decision to do something that could greatly benefit your life and the life of others. You could do it in the next five minutes.

We have just ushered in a new year. Many of us have made resolutions to do something better this year than we did last year:

"This year, I am going to FINALLY lose the weight."
"This year, I am going to FINALLY stop smoking."
"This year, I am going to FINALLY get out of debt."

Finally... Finally... Finally...

Studies have shown that if significant progress isn't made in the first three months of the new year, resolutions fizzle. Generally the methods used lack clear, written, measurable goals coupled with a measure of accountability. The original thought of the need to make a change in our lives probably occurred months or even years ago. Why did we assume that we could put it off? Who said that the next five minutes were promised?

The way that we handle life's ups and downs makes the greatest statement about our strength of character. Do we make good use of every opportunity, or do we take them for granted? I believe that our success in life stems from finding our purpose, making a good plan, setting clear goals, setting well-placed priorities, working hard and smart, being diligent, being the most prepared, timing, and being kind to others along the way. If you are still reading this post, then you may have the opportunity to apply any one of these principles in the next five minutes. How will you take it? What will you do? The clock is ticking...

More next time!

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