Example 1 Joe Murphy
To make a long story short, when I was nine, I vowed to myself I would help everyone understand that everyone is important; everyone is loved; we are all connected.
My career has focused on fulfilling my vow.
I was in life insurance when I had a vision of creating a level playing field for achieving and living your dreams. Imagine an environment where anyone and everyone could build the future they’d wished for. I created it! I was fulfilling my vow!
Because life insurance is a highly regulated field, I worked with the Texas Department of Insurance, hereinafter TDI, for two years. Tweaking it. Confirming it was in compliance with regulations and received their written approval.
With their approval in hand, I marketed my program. The response was incredible. It seemed everyone wanted what I created. We were like a rocket taking off. Growing to 100,000 members in three months. Unforeseeably and without appropriate notice, TDI revoked my insurance licenses.
I fought back, taking my case to the Texas Supreme Court, hereinafter Court. But the Court refused to hear my case. In their denial, they noted they disagreed with what TDI had done. How could they not. I had pointed out: (1) TDI openly declared they had no evidence; (2) They acknowledged they had investigated, approved and authorized me to offer my program. And they violated my Due Process. It didn’t matter. The Court wouldn’t hear my case.
I couldn’t believe this could happen in America. With full written approval, no evidence of wrongfulness, my company was taken from me. My vow was crushed. My family and I lost everything, except each other. I felt betrayed. I was terrified that I’d led my family onto the street!
I was caught in Option One’s trap! I wanted retaliation! To strike back! But, striking back – I couldn’t win! Times were bad and getting worse. Then I had an ‘Aha’ moment! I understood. I chose Option Two, and things begin to turn around!
Example 2 Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor. Before he was imprisoned, he was a psychologist and neurologist. As a prisoner, he watched his family, friends and colleagues be executed and thought it was inevitable that he would also die. After being liberated, instead of living in quite despair or seeking retaliation, he chose the Option Two path.
His experiences had led him to realize “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Surviving the Nazi Concentration camps’ prisoner experiences deepened his understanding and sensitivity to others’ feelings.
He acknowledged, accepted and used his experience to write the seminal Man’s Search for Meaning and lectured audiences. His book and speaking tours also helped countless others around the world understand his insights, deepen their understanding, and sensitivity to other’s feelings.
Frankl said, “I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” And “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Example 3 William James
Mark Manson, noted for his plain-spoken but straightforward style, tells the story of William James, who failed at everything he tried, before preceding to become recognized as the “Father of American Psychology,” a leading thinker, and one of America’s most influential philosophers.
On January 11, 1842, William James was born into a wealthy family. As a child, he suffered serious health issues, eye problems, stomach conditions and back pains. Although his father disapproved, William aspired to be a painter. But every attempt failed. His health declined. His relationship with his father worsened. He struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies.
His father, desperate to turn his son’s life around, was able to get him admitted to Harvard Medical School. There, William felt he had more in common with the patients than his peers. He was ready to try anything and signed on for an anthropological expedition to the Amazon rainforest.
The trip was long, complicated and dangerous but he made it to the Amazon where he nearly died with smallpox. Rushed back to civilization, he recovered only for his back pains to grow worse.
He returned home to a disappointed father, nearly 30, unemployed, and a failure at everything. Despite every advantage and opportunity, he had been given – he failed them all. He went into a deep depression and planned suicide.
But first he wanted to try one more thing. He wrote in his diary he would try an experiment. For an entire year, he would accept he was 100% responsible for the events in his life. Regardless what happened, he was responsible. During this year, he would do everything in his power to change the circumstances but regardless, he was responsible.
He wrote that at the end of one year of taking responsibility for everything, if nothing had actually improved, he would accept he was powerless to the circumstances and would take his life.
Choosing Option Two, accepting he was completely responsible for his circumstances, things changed. He later called it his “rebirth” and credited everything he went on to do to what he learned in his experiment. Notably, he learned: “You are responsible for everything you do in your life, no matter the external circumstances. By taking responsibility, you fight less. You get angry less. You feel offended less. And you suffer less.”
If these posts speak to your heart, don’t miss how you can avoid the Option One trap.
Love, Peace and best wishes! All you’ve wished for is within your grasp!