Lessons from the Past

Last week I took a trip down memory lane. I had the opportunity to reunite with colleagues from various points in my life, some dating all the way back to my childhood, through several distinct personal and professional meetings. It is interesting what goes through one’s mind and how conversations evolve when reuniting with close relationships from your past. Several pervasive questions came up in virtually every conversation: Is this where we thought we would be? What have you learned over the past few years? What is your next chapter going to be?  Are you happy?

My friends’ lives and stories are very different. Some have been happily married for years, others have divorced 4 times, and still others have never married. Some have met with tremendous financial success, and still others are in transition moving from one successful chapter to another chapter yet to be defined.

Through these interactions, one of my long held beliefs was cemented: a person’s choices create his/her lives. Our choices may not visibly manifest salient outcomes until many years later. In others, our choice may immediately be the cause of personal change or overall career trajectory. Regardless of what life handed these friends, their choices from these experiences created where they are today. Sure, some have been luckier in business than others (and yes, I do believe in luck); and yet in every case their choices toward sacrifice, discipline, laziness, entitlement, courage, fear, or love have built the lives they are leading.

What this past week put in bold capitalized print in my mind is this: Sure life may be dealing us cards that we do not want, or in some cases we may be lucky enough to have been dealt a royal flush. Yet, it is how we play those cards that determine our lives; we can win with a pair of deuces and lose with a royal flush. Net: we own it, folks.