A great friend of mine was telling me he was reading the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl. This is Frankl’s story of being Jewish and surviving his torture in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. My friend said the statement that resonated the most was when Frankl said that the one thing the Nazis couldn’t take away from him was how he chose to approach any situation. In the end, quite literally the only thing he had left was his ability to choose.
Later in the same conversation, my friend told me about coaching his son’s high school club soccer team. The team was playing in College Showcases so college coaches could watch the boys play. Some of the boys had already decided not to play college soccer and weren’t trying their hardest. So my friend gathered the players together and told them that it wasn’t about playing college soccer. He said the games were just another opportunity to do the best they were capable of doing. He told them that every activity is another opportunity to challenge yourself to be as good as you can be. He said to them that each of them had the ability to choose to either play to the best of their abilities or not to. The choice was theirs.
After I got off the phone, I realized the connection between these two parts of our conversation. We all always have the ability to choose our attitude and how we approach a situation. Do we complain that the world is unfair, do we put in a mediocre effort just to get it over with, or do we strive for excellence in the situation regardless of whether the outcome will enhance our future?
You get to choose.