Janet Sumner Johnson
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Controlling our Destinies

Oct 06, 2014 Uncategorized 5 comments

“Our decisions determine our destiny.” ~Thomas S. Monson

There is so much in life that we can’t control. So much that seems to affect who we are, who we will become, and in fact, our very destinies. I heard a snippet of an interview on NPR with an actor from That Seventy’s Show, and they were talking about how much there is out of our control that determines our “success.” (I put success in quotes, because that’s a matter of definition, isn’t it?)

The interviewer commented that making it big is not just about getting out there and working hard. He knows plenty of people who have been there working hard for a lot of years. People who have worked just as hard if not harder than the ones who DID make it big. So it’s not just about work. It’s about work, and luck, and timing, and the stars aligning, and Jupiter being in its 3rd rotation of the 5th lunar cycle and blah, blah, blah.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot this past week. In truth, we can work hard and never achieve that “success” that we all dream of. So much of that is out of our control.

But we can control our destinies. How do we react when we get that rejection? Do we throw our notebook across the room and refuse to ever write another word? Do we scream and rant and blame others for not giving us what we wanted? For sabotaging us? Or do we pick our tarnished pride up off the floor, wipe away the dust and move onward? Learn from experience?

Most of us will probably never make it big. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have bright destinies and leave a trail of shining good in our wake. It doesn’t mean that we can’t leave the world just a little better than we found it through our actions.

Because we can control that. We can control how we act and react to everything we face . . . good and bad. And that is what determines our destinies.

Have you ever felt proud for how you reacted in a bad situation?

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5 Responses to “Controlling our Destinies”

  1. Yes, the "making it big" success is totally out of our control and very much a matter of luck and timing. But our hard work and perseverance pays off in how we choose define our personal successes, how we feel about ourselves, and whether we let an outside measure (like the NYT best seller list) to define us.

  2. "It doesn't mean that we can't leave the world just a little better than we found it through our actions" – I really like this – so true! Writing is a tough calling. There is a lot of frustration and disappointment, with ourselves, with editors who fail to see the genius in our work :), with reviewers who may say unkind things about a story we worked hard on, and like you say, that is out of our control. All we can do is keep working hard, keep trying to be better, keep helping others along the way, and just do out best. I am proud of myself every time I get a rejection and don't give up 🙂

  3. I. LOVE. THIS. So beautiful and true. And that photo of your girl is perfect. That pretty much captures the life of a writer.

  4. Marcia says:

    I love when people admit there is so much you can't control. We can't do or be "anything we want," because the minute we run into someone who has the power to make a decision that's not in our favor, we don't control that. They do. Sometimes we control these outcomes for others, too. If we want to do anything that's controlled by gatekeepers (get into college, get a job, sell a product to company A), it will just never happen until the gatekeepers see fit to say yes. I've always felt so worn out by super-Pollyanna extroverts who talk as if nobody stands in our way but us.

  5. Hard work often leads to good luck…

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