I was watching a show on television the other day. An incredibly brave, resilient woman (Ingrid Betancourt) was sharing how she endured being held hostage in the jungles of Columbia for over six years before her rescue. Differing opinions regarding her behaviors during captivity have emerged in the time since the dramatic rescue which freed Bentancourt and 14 others. She did not emerge best friends with her fellow captives and reasons for this were discussed on the show. Of course, a he said-she said scenario emerged, however that was not what impacted me about the interview. In a pivotal moment in answer to a question regarding the most significant thing she learned through her ordeal she simply answered, “I realized I could chose what kind of person I wanted to be.” Her statement hit me like a Mack truck.
“I realized I could chose what kind of person I wanted to be.” This was an eternal, universal truth – a live-changing one – because another universal truth is we can’t choose what happens to us. We can’t choose our parents, the home we grew up in, what the weather is like, what people are going to say to us, how they will treat or respond to us. But we can always choose the kind of person we are going to be in the middle (or maybe in spite) of all those things and more. Chained to a tree, freezing, body covered from head to toe with itching, oozing, swelling insect bites and any number of other almost unimaginable conditions, ordered around, treated worse than the dogs who shared her camp, Betancourt determined the kind of person she was going to be. She did this in order to get out of life what she knew she deserved, not what she was currently being given. Amazing. Incredible fortitude and courage.
You have that same ability. In you is the courage to decide what kind of person you are going to be and to live like it, even when life doesn’t serve up your expectations quite like you ordered them. You can’t choose what happens to you. You can choose how you respond to what happens to you. That is choosing the kind of person you want to be.
Think about what kind of person you want to be. Decide. Then, live it. One day at a time. One decision at a time. Change your trajectory today.