We don’t have the luxury of choosing the circumstances in which we were brought into this world. I didn’t choose my parents, sex, body type, instinctual urges, psychological make-up, or any other fucking thing. Yet one day, all of a sudden here I am dealing with all of this shit. Here I am interpreting the world and doing my absolute best to navigate through its treacherous waters. I don’t know the percentage (maybe it’s a hundred percent) but a lot of the time it seems like things are happening outside of our control. Which in turn makes me feel as though we only have the illusion of choice when we make our own decisions. 

This I know for certain: I didn’t choose to have that thought pop inside my head that I want so desperately to go away. I didn’t choose the weather or the traffic jam that caused me to be late to work. I didn’t choose to get abused and taken advantage of. I didn’t say to myself this morning as I rose out of bed “Hey, you know it would be great if I had a shitty mood come over me that ruined my entire day.” No one does that. With exception to masochists, very few people wish negative thoughts, actions, and external circumstances onto themselves. No one is trying to fuck up. People are genuinely trying their perceived best. These things just happen (as they say). 

The only thing that I suspect I have any control over in this life is my reaction to the thoughts and circumstances outside my control. Whether it’s an illusion or not, I am in control of my reaction. That one thing, my reaction, that I get to choose. I get to have control over my intentional acts of good and evil. Good or evil being highly subjective concepts because, you tell me, what is good? Who decides what is good? I’ll tell you my definition of good and evil and you can decide for yourself if it’s accurate or not. Good is that which benefits the planet as a whole. Bad, or evil, is that which does not benefit the planet as a whole. In between those two dichotomies is a shit ton of gray area that we’re all trying to figure out on a daily basis. And in between this balancing act of trying to find out what the fuck is good and what is bad, I am in a fight over control of my decision making process. At times it seems like the easiest thing in the world. Obviously if I drink and drive, that’s BAD, so I don’t do it. Other times, it’s very unclear and I find myself in deep thought or extreme anxiety while I search for the right decision. On top of that, I still have to combat the urge to do that which I know is bad. Which leaves me with the perplexing question of why I have the thought to do bad in the first place. It’s an awful feeling to know you did something which hurt yourself or someone else when you knew damn well you shouldn’t have done it in the first place. Yet the urge to do it felt like you had been thrown into the rapids of the Colorado River and dragged down the son of a bitch. 

No matter how bad the urge, you have the power to choose. The stronger the urge though, the more powerful you tend to feel when you resist. You level up. The ability to resist the short term consequences of temptation and pleasure build up long term benefits of stability and strength of character. You might fail over and over but you must get up and try again. No matter how bad the fuck up, no matter how great the shame, you have an obligation to your friends, your family, and yourself to get up and try again. You have a duty to the planet to be your best. It’s not all about you. No man is an island, we need each other. Sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself is easy but it’s incredibly selfish too. Giving in is easy. Staying in a shame cycle is easy. Getting up like Rocky did in the 14th round and waving your opponent back in for more, that’s hard. Sometimes, in order to get back on track you have to stare yourself down in the mirror and say, “Look you son of a bitch, I don’t give a fuck what your problem is and I don’t know why you keep fucking up but I’m turning this ship around whether you like it or not.” No matter how great you think someone might be, he/she has the same struggles you do. They have dark thoughts that overtake them and they choose to do bad when they know what is good. All of us, everyone of us, fuck up from time to time. Getting back up is the only thing that separates an average person from a great person, the courage to get back up. And eventually, the more you get back up, the less you’ll find yourself on the ground needing to get back up. Character building is a slow and arduous process, but it’s worth it. . . if you’re strong enough.


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