Friday, January 6, 2012

Gandalf had it right

Having just published a book, which is by no means the same as crossing a finish line, gave me a breather and think about what's happened in my life as I wrote it.
There's been some pretty rough times and I wonder how I got to this far in mostly one piece. What's funny is how I can look at those moments with a different attitude, now, than was I was feeling at the moment it was happening. 

Charles R. Swindoll said, "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it."

I love awesome quotes like this. I just wish it were me that thought of it first. 
Whenever I think about things that have happened to me I always end up looking at my reaction and it's my reaction that determined if I would be miserable, or motivated. 

Okay, lets be honest. If something really horrible happens to us we're not going to simply brush it off. No way. We have a natural reaction to things. It's who we are as human beings. But, after we recover from the initial reaction our heads are clear enough that we can make a decision. 'How do I want to go forward?'

One of my favorite moments from the Lord of the Rings is when Frodo feels the full weight of how his world has been turned upside down.  The reply that Gandalf gives has stayed with me. 
Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

I love this. In a nut shell what he says here is we are not victims. Things happen to us that we don't have control over, but we can control what we do about it. You spend months or a year writing a book and it flops. Do you get angry, or defensive? Do you blame the reviewers and give up writing? Or, do you decide to learn from the experience? Do you learn your craft better, study the market to see what people are looking for? 
In other words do we react, or do we make a decision and then act on it?

Being a writer is a tough road, but the road is only 10% of the journey.  What will make the other 90% either the best time of our lives, or a struggle is up to how we chose to react to it. 

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