Note: You can capture the image, enlarge and print it. There will be one such image with each of the seven decisions. The write-up of the blog is taken from the text of the image. Only the italicized comments are mine. 😀

The first part of this series can be read at The Traveler’s Gift- Introduction.


The Responsible Decision

The Buck Stops Here.

I will not let history control my destiny. Harry S. Truman

From this moment forward,I will accept responsibility for my past. I understand that the beginning of wisdom is to accept the responsibility for my own problems and that by accepting responsibility for my past, I free myself to move into a bigger, brighter future of my own choosing. The Traveler's Gift- Decision One

[Of all the ideas presented in the book, this is the toughest. Probably this is why it has been presented first. How can we claim to have the power to create our future until we agree that the past- which was the future at some point of time- is also our our own making…? By refusing to take responsibility for our past, we also take away our power to design our future. A person who is in such a disempowered state is like a passenger in a driverless car- hurtling down a hill. A crash is a foregone conclusion; it is only a question of time. ** If you think this is grim, read on**]

Never again will I blame my parents, my spouse, my boss, or employees for my present situation. Neither my education or lack of one, my genetics, or the circumstantial ebb and flow of everyday life will affect my future in a negative way. If I allow myself to blame these uncontrollable forces for my lack of success, I will be forever caught in a web of the past. I will look forward. I will not let my history control my destiny.

[Take away from me my blame games and you leave me naked. A clichéd joke asks why a man needs to marry. The answer:  because there things that go wrong in his life for which he can neither blame God nor the government. Moral of the story: Blaming others is your shot in the arm. You make a career of your excuses- with the pride of place given to all those who helped a malevolent universe in screwing up your life. Once you’ve got it framed up and put on the wall, you fold your hands over your hands over your stomach and sit glaring at it with your lips folded with pained primness. **No use hating me for saying all this. I hate myself before you do. Donno where all this stuff is coming spewing out from. Blame it on Andy. The silly nut…! Oh…!! Oops…!!! Did it again did I..? :(**]

The buck stops here. I accept responsibility for my past. I am responsible for my success. I am where I am today—mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially—because of decisions I have made in the past. My decisions have always been governed by my thinking. Therefore, I am where I am today—mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially—because of how I think. Today I will begin the process of changing where I am—mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially—by changing the way I think.

[What….!?! Yeah right..! Like I asked for all the sh*t that has hit the fan in my life…! You got to be kidding me…!!

Are you finished…? Then listen to this: The sh*t in your life was never the problem. The problem was your inability to deal with it. Had you dealt with it… had you been on TOP of things… they wouldn’t have become problems in the first place. There are always ways of dealing with challenges. You either proactively do something to resolve them, or you grin and bear them. The operative word there is ‘grin’. **I really don’t know why all this stuff is coming together in this repulsive manner.I fervently hope you are grinning. I am not.**]

My thoughts will be constructive, never destructive. My mind will live in the solutions of the future. It will not dwell in the problems of the past. I will seek the association of those who are working and striving to bring about positive changes in the world. I will never seek comfort by associating with those who have decided to be comfortable.

[I asked myself: So what’s wrong with wanting to be comfortable… don’t we all want that..? Pat came the reply: Be comfortable then. And stop dreaming of a higher level to reach.. to live… to experience. They are mutually exclusive, comfort (read complacency) and experiencing the pinnacles of fulfillment. The moment you admit to yourself that you are not moving forward, you doom yourself to sliding inexorably backwards. Life is movement, it cannot stand still. The choice is yours- to move forward or backward. **This one really scared me.It sounded like I was ready to sit under a tree and wait to die. Horrid isn’t it…? **]

When faced with the opportunity to make a decision, I will make one. I understand that God did not put in me the ability to always make right decisions. He did, however, put in me the ability to make a decision and then make it right. The rise and fall of my emotional tide will not deter me from my course. When I make a decision, I will stand behind it. My energy will go into making the decision. I will waste none on second thoughts. My life will not be an apology. It will be a statement.

[God put into me the ability to make a decision and to keep fine tuning it until it becomes right. I read this somewhere: ‘I know the battle is not over. How can it, I haven’t won yet.’ The battle is not concluded until I have wrest from it the victory I want. I will not let it get over. I will fight again. My life will not be on apology, it will be a statement. It’ll be a statement that I will look upon when I am ready to pass over and feel proud of having made. **I liked this one. Gave myself a pat on the back too. I don’t mind if you do too. :)**]

The buck stops here. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions.

In the future, when I am tempted to ask the question “Why me?”, I will immediately counter with the answer: “Why not me?” Challenges are a gift, an opportunity to learn. Problems are the common thread running through the lives of great men and women. In times of adversity, I will not have a problem to deal with, I will have a choice to make. My thoughts will be clear. I will make the right choice. Adversity is preparation for greatness. I will accept the preparation. Why me? Why not me? I will be prepared for something great!

[I don’t want to sound insufferably pompous (is there a sufferable pompous too… strange… never thought of that before), but ‘why not me?’ is something I adopted years ago. Even God… Jesus, Ram, Krishna, Buddha… was not spared. Where do I think I get off expecting to be spared…? I genuinely believe that adversity is preparation for greatness- because it is a character builder. You become a bigger person, gaining stature, skill, expertise in dealing with the challenge thrown your way. You need that increased ability to reach the summit. Had you never been given the challenge, you wouldn’t have been able to handle the next lap. I do accept the preparation. Waiting for the goodies to being dropping from the heavens any day now. 😀 **More challenge..? No no… I am DONE preparing now thank you God. I’d like the rewards now please. What…!? One more challenge…? @#$%**]

I accept responsibility for my past. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions. I am responsible for my success.

[Controlling your emotions is not easy. I don’t say that happily but ruefully. Two things have helped me whenever I have wanted to do that.

1. I look at the long range consequences of indulging my current emotional state. That scares me cross-eyed.

2. I tell myself, I will fool myself. I will continue feeling the emotion, but will prevent myself from manifesting it in action.

I am not saying it works all the time, but it works often enough to astound me. Can’t ask for more can we…? **okok… I am done here. Don’t lynch me.Not today at least.I don’t have time to be lynched tonight. Some other night don’t you think..?**]


The buck stops here. I am responsible for my success. And THAT… is exciting.

The Traveler’s Gift- Decision One