At the end of the summer myself another leader and a couple of Scouts from my Troop, both Eagle Scouts, took a four hour road trip South to attend our Sections Conclave. It was just another four hours in the car until we started a conversation that lasted the better part of three hours. In this conversation the subject of life choices came up. You see one of the Scouts is a very out going young man. He is very active in his community, student government, sports, band, and an active social life. The other would be considered his opposite. While he participated in sports, and drama, he feels as though he is the one on the outside looking in. And so the discussion went. One contrasting the other. But the question was why is that? What makes these two young men so different? They grew up in same community. Both from good homes, Attended the same High School, and both active in Scouting (Eagle Scouts and Arrowmen).
Now, I am not saying one is better than the other here… I was just asking why? But in fact, the more the conversation went deeper, the more I wanted so much for the Scout with less friends and social life to be like the other. Why? Because the social one had what seemed to be a better outlook on life.
What it came down to was choices. Making a choice not to be the guy in the corner, making a choice to step out of the comfort zone and meet new people, make new friends, and discover new things. While the other was clearly not having a great high school experience and felt like everyone was against him.
He did not believe that he had the ability to make a choice to have a different experience, while his companion on the trip felt like his entire high school experience revolved around those choices he made.
Both of these young men are Honor Roll students, so both are smart and articulate. They have the faculties to make sound decisions and choices. So what is it?
We never answered that question, but did come up with 5 things that would help, as they said, if we had to do it over again. First. Make a choice to have the experience you want. If you want to play the victim, That will be the choice you make. You can chose not to be and do things in your life to curb that mentality.
First. Know that you and only you have a choice to make. You will decide whether or not you want to set a course for discovery or to hide inside of yourself. You will make a choice to make friends or not make friends. With that choice though, you need to know that the world is not against you and you must do at least half the work. You can not expect friendships and opportunities to just happen, you need to work at them and create them. Your mind will be the starting point. Get it in your mind to make the right choice and you will find the path that will lead you there.
Second. Break things down into smaller parts. We discovered in our talk that in most cases those that have a difficult time making friends or feeling left out expect to much to soon. Break things down. Start small. Opportunities in life happen in bite size chunks. Financially, we do not wait around to hit the lotto.. we get a job and work our way up to bigger and better opportunities, better pay and position. So it is with most things in life. Start small and set small, short term goals. These will lead you to bigger goals and better opportunities. Again, you need to make a choice to go that route.. or sit around and wait for the right balls to drop in your favor. Keep waiting, the odds are against you.
The third thing is to Never give up. Never, ever give up. The world is not against you, in fact, the world doesn’t know you so don’t give up on yourself. When you reach a point in life when the going gets tough or you have reached an obstacle that seems insurmountable.. find another way. Every time I have been in that situation I look for a way to get around it. I do not let it beat me. If plan “a” doesn’t work, go to plan “b”. If that fails you move on to “c” and so on… Sometimes you will get all the way to plan “x, y, and z” before you need to reevaluate, but never give up. I typically get to about “D” and then figure there may be something wrong with me or my approach. You need to be willing to accept that sometimes it is you and not the process or other people. You can be wrong, but don’t give up or in. There are ways to accomplish your goals, you may just have to come at it from different avenues. Never give up, especially on yourself.
Fourth, have a Positive outlook. If you choose to look at life from a negative point of view that is what you will see. I am not saying that you put on rose colored glasses, but look at life for what it is. Great! Life is full of opportunity, you just need to go get it. Life is full of fun, you just need to find it. Life is full of adventure, you just need to grab it. The common point there is YOU. You need to be positive and accepting of the fact that YOU are in charge of your outlook.. no one else. If you think that You are wrong.
And finally, realize that you can have results or make excuses… but you can’t have both. Results will get you want in life. Excuses will get you nothing. So pick one, Results or Excuses. I can’t stand people that make excuses, it is lazy and demonstrates a lack of personal accountability. The person that blames life on their condition is just being lazy and unwilling to work for results. Like I said, the world is not against you.. the world doesn’t know you. Your class mates are not against you, you are not willing to make it work or do the work to make friends. You need to look in the mirror and realize that there are people just like you, they all need friends and relationships. They all want acceptance and a sense of belonging. Find them.. do the work. Not everyone is a jock, not everyone plays in the band, not everyone is a Scout or into the drama or chess club. Find the group that you belong to and embrace them. Don’t make excuses that no one likes you.. maybe it’s you. Maybe you have not allowed them to like you or opened the door for that friendship. Maybe it is you that has not worked hard enough to get that raise or promotion. Maybe it is you that has had a bad attitude and no one wants it to rub off on them. Maybe it is time to stop making excuses and go get results.
You and only you have 100% control over you. No matter what your age, ethnicity, race, religion, whatever.. YOU control You.
So you make the call? Have you made a choice to do something with your life? Have you broken it down to smaller parts to manage your goals better? Have you given up? Do you have a positive outlook? And you want Results or keep making excuses? It is simple, but it starts with you and a choice.
You make the call.
Have a Great Scouting Day!