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Winning words

How we respond is the one thing we can truly control

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Sometimes situations or events occur that are completely outside of our control. We are living in a world surrounded by such situations and events every day, and unfortunately that means we are also inundated with news stories and opinions from every part of the globe.

Some of the stories are extremely difficult and troubling, even heartbreaking. And others are very serious and need to have the immediate attention and focus of the world's brightest and best to try and find a solution. And somewhere amidst the heartbreak and seriousness of certain situations, others find it necessary to point blame, find fault, or make fun of the situation or the person or people at the center of some of the most troubling events.

There is an old saying that I find as a source of peace and balance as I watch the news, not knowing what is fake or real anymore, and as I sort through the opinions of others. And that saying goes like this, "We cannot control what happens to us, or what is happening around us, we can only control how we respond to what happens to us or around us."

It sure is easy to respond and jump on the bandwagon of something that seems to be funny at the time, that is until we find out that what we are laughing at or who we are laughing with is causing someone else an incredible amount of shame or embarrassment. We could also choose to respond to the voices of insanity that engulf our everyday political battles and landscape by writing posts, sharing memes, and contributing to the noise of nonsense and rhetoric.

In either case, doesn't that just make us part of the brokenness of our country and of the world? I mean there are some people who just seem to gravitate to any fight or cause and change or become swayed based on the last person they spoke to, the last post that they read, or the last piece of news that they have watched or listened to.

If we truly found our balance and peace in knowing what it is that we can control, we would identify very quickly that we can control our own thoughts, our own actions, and follow our own belief system. I know this sounds like common sense, but common sense is not always common practice. If we can become truly rooted in our foundational belief system, knowing the difference between right and wrong, it would be so much easier to defend our minds, our hearts, and our spirit against the daily attacks of a system that seems bent on dragging us into conspiracy theories, drama, lies, bullying, corruption, and scandals.

Disillusionment, or the art of illusion, has become perfected. Our only guard and defense mechanism is to become inspired, truly inspired to protect what it is we know to be true and not just react to what we see others doing and jumping on any and every bandwagon "just because" others are on it. As a matter of fact, most times bandwagons are already too overcrowded anyway. We would become just another rider.

So maybe we are better served to do as Robert Frost wrote so prophetically in 1916 in his poem, "The Road Not Taken," "... I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence; Two roads diverged in the wood, and I - took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

The road less traveled by is our own belief system and not the belief system of a group or society. Have you traveled it yourself lately? Have you chosen to respond to what you know to be true instead of reacting to what you have seen others do or say? I would love to hear all about how you stay in control of what you know you can control at gotonorton@gmail.com. And when we take the road less traveled by, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton

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