It is 3:00 in the morning and I am awake. Forty two minutes ago, something startled me from my slumber. I don’t know what it was. It could have been Howard, my cat that doesn’t like to snuggle unless there is a tinge of coolness in the air like there is tonight. It could have been a car driving by breaking the silence of the night since the window is open. It isn’t important but in that moment of shattered peace, I opened my eyes to the clock and all was broken. I tried to get back to sleep but my thoughts filled with emails I had to complete, the conference coming up and contacts have to be followed up, the grant that has to be circulated and always my students.
I believe in the power of choice. I could have stayed under the covers, tossing and turning, letting the stresses of the upcoming day overtake my sleep, or I could get up, do something and hope that sleep will return once my thoughts have calmed. I talk about choice everyday with the students I serve. Many are first generation college attenders, some single parents. All made a choice to invest in their futures while still having to take care of their families and their lives; most with little or no support. Every day they face struggles, ranging from dealing with medical diagnoses that makes simply walking a painful process to juggling family, school and work to what to do about having the electricity turned off and not having the funds to get it back on. I marvel at them and the strength they have to keep going. But they are making a choice. They are saying that the future is important enough to struggle today so tomorrow might be a little bit easier.
We all make choices every day, be they conscious or unconscious. By doing so we impact not only our own lives but the lives of those around us. Everything time we decide to make one choice, opportunities we could never have imagined start to open before our very eyes. The impact of the choices we make ripple beyond any expectation we can imagine. We must choose.
Several years ago, one of my favorite bosses ever shared with me a short paragraph attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now”. We all must make that choice and Begin it now.
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