*This is a re-post from December 2013*
Your life vaults forward. Each day represents a new act. The plot is unpredictable. Day to day, you find yourself alternating between tragedy and comedy, the mundane and the exciting. You have no choice: you are the protagonist in an unfolding story. You strive to control the narrative, to write your life’s tale. But circumstances, chance or luck — good or bad — unexpectedly intervene to test you. Will you be the hero or will you be the goat?
Well, that depends upon the decisions you make.
The archetypal heroes of literature are our models. Each embarks on a great adventure and confronts a series of physical, spiritual or emotional tests. Odysseus must outwit the Cyclops to return home to his wife Penelope. Huck Finn, deciding “forever betwixt two things,” maintains his loyalty to the runaway slave Jim, declaring “All right then, I’ll go to hell.” Luke Skywalker, overcoming the shocking revelation that Darth Vader is his father, nonetheless defeats him.
The great heroes muster courage, make a series of decisions and act decisively. Of course, these archetypes simply represent the experience common to all of humanity. At some point, each of us is Odysseus, Huck Finn or Luke Skywalker.
So what about you? Are you ready for your next test? When confronted by an unexpected trial, will you emerge with regret or satisfaction? Will others admire, pity or vilify you? To be the hero of your own story, anticipate these inevitable tests. They are coming. They always do. Be prepared. As Hamlet observed: “The readiness is all.”
You are what you decide.