“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour.” – Henry David Thoreau
I heard a story about a man in San Jose, California who worked at a construction site. On the first day, when it was time for lunch break and other workers got out their grub to chow down, the fellow got out his lunch box, opened it and started complaining, “Geez, sardine sandwiches! I hate sardine sandwiches. I hate sardine sandwiches.” The next day, the chap repeated the same thing: opened his lunch box and started grumbling, “Sardine sandwiches, I hate sardine sandwiches.” The third day over lunch, he brought out his lunch box and was about to replay his theme of complaints when the supervisor stopped him on his tracks and told; “Give all of us a break will you? If you don’t like sardine sandwiches then tell your wife to make you something else please.”
To everyone’s surprise he replied, “I live alone, so I make my own lunch.” Isn’t that the reality of life, that we all make our own lunch? So why then is it that one finds a whole lot of people who so gladly gripe, whine, and moan about their ‘lunch’? Fellows who refuse to look at the mirror and accept that there’s a choice they’ve got to make as far as their lunch goes. It’s the quality of those choices that really determine what kind of ‘lunch’ they’ll end up having. The responsibility for making those choices cannot be conveniently shuffled upon the shoulders of society, one’s parents, friends, relatives, circumstances, the government or the economy or even a myriad other causes.
We all do make our own lunch. The construction worker hated sardine sandwiches, went as far as whining about it every so often but made the same kind of choices that created the condition he was so upset about. With regard to the law of cause and effect, it has been said that thoughts are causes and conditions are effects. The man was so ‘upset’ about the conditions – his lunch – but did nothing much to alter the causes or the nature of his thoughts that ultimately influences his choices. American psychologist William James once said, “The greatest discovery ever made is that human beings can alter the outer aspects of their lives by changing the inner attitudes of their minds.”
That instead of complaining about the ‘lunch’ as if it is a given fact that cannot be altered, we should work fastidiously at changing the inner attitudes of our minds – the seat of our thoughts. Going to work on that front alone is sufficient to significantly alter the nature of ‘lunch’ we end up making for ourselves. Don’t join the crowd that is always making a fuss about effects or conditions while failing to deploy their efforts towards changing the causes or thoughts. As Winston Churchill said, “Responsibility is the price of greatness.”
We step into greatness as we refuse to shuffle that vital responsibility – to change our causes, so we change our effects – to someone else. Roll up your sleeves and go to work from today. If you don’t like the effects – in your office, your family, your company, your nation, name it – decide to get to the bottom of the causes and deal with it. Don’t whine like the chap with the sardine sandwiches, make something else for lunch. And don’t dare say you have no choice: we all have a range of choices available to us. Sometimes it’s the consequences attached to those choices that keep us hemmed in and feeling like we have no way out. Make your own lunch!
Quote of the Week
“Your philosophy determines whether you will go for the disciplines or continue the errors.” — Jim Rohn