In our youth, we feel invincible. After all, time is on our side. We have a lot of time to pursue our story.
In our old age, we feel invincible. After all, time is on our side. We have limited time to amp our story.
The reality is we are never invincible. We are human after all.
Question: How are you making your story choices? Are you considering the immediate time only?
The Picture of Your Story
I love the picture above. I took this during Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco. After dinner, I was walking back to the hotel and saw this Levi’s store window being constructed. First glance, it all looks like it is all part of the display. A second look shows two men working to put together the “Endless Stories, One Original” display.
Just as the picture shows, your story is on display. Today, more than ever, our stories are for all to see. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and other interactions highlight the story we want to tell as well as what others tell about us. Within our story, we have family, friends, and coworkers who join our story.
You have characters in your story. Most characters you choose.
Who is in your displayed story, and how are they contributing to your choices?
Your Choices: The People Around You
Youth brings school and college. Friends enter your story. In most situations, you choose your friends. Some may join from other friendships, but you own who you associate with.
In some cases, the easy path is taken. Laziness sets in. A party happens, and it is easy just to go. After all, everyone is friendly and having a good time. Add in some alcohol and drugs, and life is good (or so we think). The setting firms for a potential life story detour. Driving under the influence happens. Accidents happen. Lives are disrupted. Excuses like “affluenza” or “I just didn’t think it would happen to me” spew. However, it all comes back to your choices.
The more challenging path is to find friends who have fun yet hold each other to a higher standard of conduct and learning. Taking this path may involve some lonely times, but time will eventually bear fruit in the friendships we develop.
A more challenging path is to find friends who have fun yet hold each other to a higher standard of conduct and learning.Tweet
In many ways, our youthful scenarios happen when we are older, too. Some take the lazy path in their associations. At work, it is easier to go along, remain silent with bad behaviors. In our communities, we think someone else will stand up and raise concerns. Who we surround ourselves with is a lifetime challenge so we should start early in developing the right relationships.
Who we invite into our life story is our choice. We need to do our best in selecting the best people to bring our story to life for the best impact.
Your Choices Highlight Your Weakness or Strength
To repeat, you are not invincible. No one is. Your story can explode in a second with one bad choice. Your story can endure by making the best choices possible with the best people around you.
Can you recover from a bad choice? In some cases, yes. It just takes a lot of time and forgiveness.
Can you gain redemption in your story? Of course. It will take the right people with the right help and the right choices.
Recovering or gaining redemption is a difficult challenge in four specific areas: Mind, Body, Spirit, and Reputation. We are not invincible, particularly in these areas. All four areas require healthy choices to build a future of making a positive difference.
4 Vulnerable Areas (And 4 Key Healthy Choices)
What we read influences our mind. Who we listen to influences our thinking.
From here, other factors come into play. Marijuana is legal in more states now, and the thinking is “all will be OK.” Medical reasons for marijuana exist. However, the impact of marijuana on young minds is unknown, and concerns are heightened.
Recent studies on teen use of marijuana show “brain variations that indicated arrested brain development in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for judgment, reasoning, learning. and motivation.”
Especially in our teens, our minds are mysterious and developing. What we do early carries longer term impacts. Being young is not the same as being invincible.
Outside of drugs, electronics influence our mind as well. Always being plugged into to a screen contains risks. We may begin to think everyone’s life is better than ours, so we try to short-circuit our development to “catch up.” Poor choices begin to happen more frequently.
Our minds also need a break to regain perspective and creativity. Nature is an antidote to electronics. Young and old, we need to break out of our electronic world and get real with people in our communities. We need to absorb nature to refresh our thinking.
Our mind can recover, but it is not invincible. Our mind is a terrible thing to waste. We need to keep our mind to craft a meaningful, long-term life story.
Our body is amazing. How everything works together seems almost impossible, yet it does. Like anything, if we do not take care of it, our body will deteriorate. Parts will fail.
Smoking, vaping, being sedentary, and eating too unhealthy will take their toll. We may think vaping, for example, is a calming, cool thing to do, yet the health impact may be great later on. Same with the others. Of course, we can eat ice cream and have treats. We just need to be smart in how we take care of the one body we have. No different than our mind. We only have one.
Can your body recover from early bad habits? In some cases, we can. In many cases, we cannot. We need to make the best choices to keep our best shape.
Our spirit is resilient. Being resilient is different than being invincible. Our spirit can be crushed, especially when we do not tend to it.
In our youth, we may go to church because that is what our parents do. As we age, we question faith and spiritual development. College can distract some from soulful practices. Our spirit needs to be cared for just like our mind and body. We need to tend to our fire inside. Pick the spiritual practices that keep you enlivened.
Here’s the deal. If we think we are invincible, then we may ignore our power within. We just take our soul for granted, like it will just self-feed. Over time, we get worn out, and we weaken. Consequently, inappropriate choices become more commonplace.
Our soul is not invincible, but it is resilient if we take care of our spirit.
Good friends guide a healthy spirit.
Good spiritual practices build a healthy soul.
Healthy mind and body keep our internal sparks flowing.
An interconnection between body, mind, and spirit exists, and we need to make good choices to sustain these important connections. After all, good connections build a purposeful story.
Reputation is a result. Who we surround ourselves with impacts our reputation. How we think impacts our reputation. How we care for our body impacts our reputation. What our spirit showcases impacts our reputation. If we want a life of long-term impact, then our reputation pulls it together and lifts up what we are all about.
We may recover from many things, but our reputation may never recover after one or more bad choices. One of primary reason our reputation is not invincible is due to the impact on others. In many cases, when bad choices are made, the life of another is impacted adversely. Think about it.
Driving under the influence can end an innocent life.
Drinking too much can lead to inappropriate actions in which someone is hurt.
Drugs kill. In one week, there were 225+ heroin overdoses in 4 counties in 4 states.
Trying to fit in can lead to joining in activities that damage people or property.
We are not invincible – young or old.
Know this: The internet is filled with stories of youthful poor choices and a grueling path of possible redemption. Lives ended. Lives disrupted. No different for elderly choices. Sometimes we never learn the value of our reputation until it is too late.
Our Story, Our Choices
Young or older, we craft our story with our choices. Our purpose counts on us to live the best story possible and do the impossible through the choices we make.
We need to pull our life strings. Doing so with a healthy mind, body, and spirit will give us strength. With this strength, our reputation grows and empowers us to do great things. Our character builds.
We are never invincible. We are embedded with aspirations. Now we need to live in a way to bring the best out of ourselves as often as we can for as long as we can.
Note: Picture by Jon Mertz, all rights reserved.