I heard the story of a man who grew up in Dundee, Scotland during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
His was an upbringing permeated by the constant threat of violence from the public housing community he lived in and from his Father.
It was a period when money was scarce and he told stories of two female factory workers attacking each other because both wanted the one opportunity for overtime that day.
Violence was everywhere to the extent that blood on the foot path was so common it was barely noticed or referenced. He was “glassed” at 15 years of age.
Leaving school early, he worked a number of jobs including that of a slaughterman. Here he was subjected to basic criminal activity and participated to a small extent from the sidelines.
Both parents were a positive influence but in different ways. He wanted to follow the example set by his Mother while all the time having a determination to be the polar opposite of his Father.
When faced with the choice of going down the path of crime and violence or not, he chose not to.
He left Dundee and moved to Sydney where he made something of himself.
It was a blunt reminder that we all hold the ultimate power of choice.
No matter what circumstance we are faced with, what adversity or what exceptional opportunity presents, we alone have the power to select what we do.
It may be the position we apply for or accept.
It may be how we respond to a situation; is it out of anger and ego, or with a sense of calmness and rationality?
And the most fabulous thing of all, is that we all have responsibility for how we chose to respond.
We may blame someone else for how we react or act, for the opportunity we take or decline but deep down, we know it was always our choice and ours alone.
The story I heard today was of someone who when faced with options, identified what his character strengths were, the life he wanted to lead, the family he wanted to have and the example he wanted to set first and foremost for his children.
He never once set out to achieve fame or fortune, but only to live his own life as best he could in accordance with the choice he made.
He took responsibility for his choices with a clarity of purpose and he made these free of ego.
And it all so easily could have gone another way.
It was a stark reminder that we may not be able to control our environment or the behaviours and motives of others however this is not important. It is not important because we have true liberty of making our own choice in every situation.
In his case, it just so happens that he has achieved a degree of fame and fortune including being the author of several books.
What comes first, pursuit of fortune or the pursuit of your life purpose?
The choice is ours.