It Is as You Chose It to Be

Recently, I attended the The SCORRE Conference, formerly called The Dynamic Communicators Workshop, in Vail, Colorado. It is absolutely the best training available for speakers and everyone else who wants to communicate with more clarity and power. (I liked it so much the first time I attended that I am now a partner with Ken Davis, the founder and primary instructor.)

A Small Bird in a Boys Hand - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/pelicankate, Image #1926891

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/pelicankate

In the last session of the conference, we heard from speaking coach and master communicator, Stacey Foster. He closed his talk with this powerful story:*

High in the Himalayan mountains lived a wise old man.

Periodically, he ventured down into the local village to entertain the villagers with his special knowledge and talents. One of his skills was to psychically tell the villagers the contents in their pockets, boxes, or minds.

A few young boys from the village decided to play a joke on the wise old man and discredit his special abilities.

One boy came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew of course, the wise old man would know the object in his hands was a bird.

The boy devised a plan.

Knowing the wise old man would correctly state the object in his hands was a bird, the boy would ask the old man if the bird was dead or alive. If the wise man said the bird was alive, the boy would crush the bird in his hands, so that when he opened his hands the bird would be dead.

But, If the wise man said the bird was dead, the boy would open his hands and let the bird fly free. So no matter what the old man said, the boy would prove the old man a fraud.

The following week, the wise old man came down from the mountain into the village. The boy quickly caught a bird and cupping it out of sight in his hands, walked up to the wise old man and asked, “Old man, old man, what is it that I have in my hands?”

The wise old man said, “You have a bird, my son.” And he was right.

The boy then asked, “Old man, old man, tell me: Is the bird alive or is it dead?”

The wise old man looked at the boy, thought for a moment and said, “The bird is as you choose it to be.”

And so it is with your life. The power is in your hands. God has given you a great gift—your life. What will you do with it?

Will you drift with the current? Will you allow it to be hijacked by someone else? Or, will you live an intentional life—one that counts for time and eternity?

*This is a version of the story I found on the Internet.

Question: What application does this story have for your own life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://twitter.com/leaderEx Sachin Kundu

    Ah the power of storytelling. Works every time, everywhere. Be it blog, presentation, email or public speech. Love it Michael!

    I agree that people are their biggest enemies.

    So many people I meet do not believe in themselves. If you do not believe in yourself how will someone else.

    Some find an excuse for not achieving their desired dream. There is always something preventing you from becoming great. That’s given. But what are you doing about it, besides complaining and settling down.

    Some people just resign themselves to followers. They Cling to hero leaders. They never challenge themselves to get better than the master.

    Hey, I learned another lesson from the story above. 

    Always evaluate your options before you open your mouth.

    Especially when giving presentation or speech on an idea worth convincing on.

    There is a reason why a question is asked. If you can figure out that, the question can be used to assert your understanding.

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Love that. “Evaluate your options before you open your mouth.” Our mouths can get be a blessing or a curse. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s the truth Sachin.

    • Philliprogerson

      this was dumb

  • http://www.churchthought.com Matt Steen

    I recently had someone share the way that they view their leadership abilities with me.  I was surprised to hear that he thought of himself as having limited abilities and only able to pursue a “lesser vision” than those who were “more gifted” than he.

    This conversation has haunted me for three weeks now, and saddened me.  Because he doesn’t have the flash, or “sizzle” of some of the big name church leaders he is writing himself off and limiting his impact with the self-fulfilling prophecy that he shared with me.

    I often wonder where in my life am I choosing to limit my own ability to impact the world because of the choices that I make: what I believe about myself, how I spend my time, and who I am investing in.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      So much happens between our ears that determine the outcomes we experience. It’s not everything, of course, but it is a huge factor and most people are not even aware of it.

    • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

      Being confident in who we are is extremely important. It shows on our face, our body language, the words we say, and more. 

      I’m learning that we’re always setting an example for someone, wether that’s showing them what to do or what not to do. 

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        We become the stories we tell ourselves. That’s both a warning and a promise.

        • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

          Amenah!

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

          That’s why I appreciate the terms Scripture uses in relation to us when we are in Christ Jesus–saints, beloved, children of God. I appreciate how often Paul’s letters are addressed “to the saints living in…” What marvelous gifts–a new identity and new direction in life–God gives to us. That’s the story I want to listen to. That’s the one I want to tell.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That is so sad to hear but often the truth. By thinking less of oneself, we limit the reach we could have had.

  • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

    I love that story!  I can picture the look on the faces of the devious boys as they realize they have been outsmarted!

    I also love your tie-in to the life God has given us.  It IS in our hands, to do with as we choose.

    I posted about this very idea here today, using Jim Collin’s conversation with Peter Drucker.  Drucker gave Jim some great advice along this line.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Cool. Can you post a link to your blog post? Thanks.

      • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton
        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

          Worth the trip. Well written.

          • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

            Thanks TNeal!  I appreciate the encouragement!

        • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

          Great insight, Chris!

          • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

            Thanks Ben!  It is a powerful thought…

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    What a magnificent story! I choose to live an intentional life. In fact, being intentional is something I talk about frequently as i speak at women’s events. The topic I speak most of on is the legacy we are leaving for the generations coming behind us. I tell the ladies that if they want to leave a godly legacy, it will not just happen. They must be intentional about leaving a godly legacy.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      So true. Good for you!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    One of the big problems that people face, is they don’t dream BIG enough. They play it safe and set small, achievable goals. Unfortunately small goals are not motivational and are soon put aside. One way to make sure your business dream/goal is big enough is to write down one year, five year, and fifty year goals. A fifty year goal really puts things into perspective. It takes the goal out of your hands and lets you have the freedom to really dream amazing outcomes.

    The bottom line… you have to give a DAM about your life… http://goals4u.us/w0rh8F

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love your approach to this, John. Thanks.

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

    Great story, Michael. It’s just what I needed. While I was walking to my office this morning, I started thinking about the life plan I haven’t been able to put together. It seems weird that you can determine some outcomes just by deciding the outcome you want. I’ve seen this happen, but I still have trouble wrapping my mind around it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It definitely takes more than deciding, but nothing else happens until you do.

  • http://www.shessothere.com Sweetie Berry

    We have so much more influence in our own lives than we sometimes wish to acknowledge…thank you.

    • http://natelaclaire.com/ Nate LaClaire

      So true!

  • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

    You can live your life trying to make a fool of others or live by strengthening your own gifts and encouraging those around you to do the same.

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Powerful story.  I think many in our society like to think they are a product of their environments and they have little say in how their lives turn out.  This is an excellent example that we have free will and our choices shape our futures and influence others.  

  • Derek

    I know you care. The word “clarify” is used in the opening where I believe you were wanting “clarity.” Derek.ecoquest@gmail.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Derek. That is one of those the spell-checker couldn’t catch!

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    *This is a version of the story I found on the Internet.

    I believe the original offline version of this story involves a man named Schrödinger and his cat. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Hmm. I’m not familiar with it.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        Not familiar with Schrödinger’s famous cat? You allergic? To theoretical physics?

  • http://friendedbyChrist.com Tim Bordeaux

    That’s interesting that @cpatton1:disqus  referenced Jim Collins because the story and your question made me think of Collins’ talk at Catalyst and the story of the explorer who unequivocally stuck to his 20 mile a day rule.

    For me, the practical application of the story of the bird is a daily choice related to writing. I have been feeling something like a calling to write, and my “20 miles” is to write an hour a day. Not necessarily post something each day, but at least write… something I have not been sticking to very well.

    Thanks for the reminder that ultimately the choice is in my hands, and my hands alone.  

  • http://twitter.com/KellyCombs Kelly Combs

    Congratulations on your partnership with Ken Davis. I hope it blesses the two of you, and all who attend the conference.

    And with God’s help, I pray I am living an intentional life.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing this story!!! Wow. If only we would be aware each day of the power of choice.

  • Kristinajburroughs

    It is a beautiful reminder love is really defined and determined in choices. 

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    Great story, at the end of the day, I own my destiny, I am my own man. It all depends on Me. Entitlement is not the answer for America.

  • Kirk Heiner

    Great story Michael. Thanks. I have observed that most Christians don’t experience success because the NEVER decide to. They are not really certain “if” God wants them to be a success. The scripture teaches that the double minded man should not think he’ll receive anything of the Lord. Deciding we are to succeed is the beginning to making things happen. I am creating a Christian Media Ministry to create Video, Movies, Music, T.V and web content designed with the non-believer in mind. 99.9% of all Christian Media is from a Christian, to a Christian. Any advice?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      My only advice is do it well and don’t think that every product has to tell the whole story. People are usually moved incrementally toward faith. It doesn’t have to happen all with one product. Thanks.

  • Curtis O Fletcher

    After spending the weekend in the life planning process, insert unsolicited plug for Michael’s ebook here, I confess to some significant territory which needs to be brought back under my control!  I had to go re-read my own post on choosing from two weeks ago!
    Thanks for the reminder, and the reminder, and the reminder….  :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome. I can’t what to hear more about your life plan!

  • http://tomraines.wordpress.com Tom

    Great story and great reminder to be intentional today! Thanks!

  • http://www.VictorDumitriu.ca Victor Dumitriu

    Great story. Love it! 

  • Pingback: What will you do with your life? |

  • Anonymous

     “Everyone ends up somewhere; however, few end up somewhere on purpose” ~Andy Stanley

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Is that from Andy’s book, “The Principle of the Path”? An excellent read I’d recommend for anyone.

      Thanks for sharing the quote.

      • Anonymous

        I think so. He also had a sermon series. This was a major point in one of the sermons.

  • Jane Smith

    I really struggle with this concept that “your life is up to you”.  I really hate my job. I took it a couple of years ago because I had been out of work for almost a year, was out of unemployment, and it was the only job offer I had received in that time. Career-wise it is a much lower level position and pays less than half what I used to make. On top of that, without going into the several details, my work environment makes me miserable. The past 6 months I’ve been diligently applying and interviewing for new positions – ones that would bring me back to my career level, be enjoyable, and pay at what I should be making at this stage of my career. I’ve also been praying and believing so I feel like I’m doing everything I can. I’ve tried to raise my kids with faith, morals, and good decision making skills but they (two teens) are making very bad decisions and getting themselves into very serious trouble with consequences that may follow them for years. I’m a very good steward with my money but struggle from week to week to have food in the house and gas in the car. There are many other things I would like to do and have made plans and done actions to make them happen but they never come to fruition. I’m a single mom and while I believe in taking “leaps of faith” to follow your dreams or be in the ministry that you feel led to be in, I also don’t feel God wants us to make foolish decisions so I don’t quit my job even though I struggle not to quit it .  I do and I pray and I do and I pray.  This is not just a recent thing. It’s been years of one struggle after another (beyond what is stated above). It’s been hard to hold onto my faith let alone try to retain any hope that I’ll ever be able to follow my dreams or even get beyond the current situations of my life. What advice to you have for someone like me?  

    • Anonymous

      Jane, thank you for the comment.  It is one I can connect with. 

      I love the story presented in the post and I understand the value of realizing we have the ability to make deicsions about our own lives and that those decisions shape our lives.  I love the way that realization both empowers us and simultaneously shows us our own responsibility.

      However, there is a practical limit to the power of positive thinking, as well as positive behavior.  Whereas a few years ago I could have really connected with the story presented, today I better connect with frequent recitation of The Serenity Prayer, in the realization that there are many things in life that I cannot change, and the one thing I do have control over is my own attitude and response to the realities that God allows to be introduced into my life.

      Yes, I have control over my own choices and my own attitudes.  However, there is much of life over which I have no control, and must simply trust that God does have control; that He is much wiser than I am; that He knows His plans for my life far better than I do; and that He loves me immensely.

      You asked for advice, so I will offer you my advice (which I also offer to myself).  First and foremost love God with all your heart, and spend time each day studying His word.  Ask God to show you His plans for your life, and the ministries for which He has annointed you.  He will probably not show you the full plan all at once, so be prepared to take steps in faith based on what God does show you.

      Never forget that the oft-quoted verse “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” (Phillipians 4:13) is speaking specifically about learning to “…be content in whatever circumstances I am,” (Phillipians 4:11).  This does not mean we must take a fatalistic approach to life.  However, it does mean that we must ask God how our life is to be conformed to His plan…not the other way around.

      Ultimately, God is in control… not me.

      Hope this helps.  I’m praying for you.

      • http://www.provisionhouse.org/ Paul Stark

        That’s a good word, Joseph.

        Ephesians 2:10. In other words, we don’t get to decide for ourselves. God “prepared beforehand” what we would do. Our job is to find “that thing” out and live it out.

        1 Cor. 3:11-15. What would it be like to stand before the judgement seat of Christ, watch what we thought were good works incinerate before our very eyes, look at Jesus in shock and bewilderment and hear Him say, “I never asked you do that.”? In such a case, the Bible says we will “suffer loss”—in eternity.

        God doesn’t do joint ventures.

        My suggestion? Psalm 37:4.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Thanks, Paul. I love Eph. 2:10.

          With regard to “God doesn’t do joint ventures,” I’m not quite sure what you mean. Certainly, He is the “Author and Finisher of our faith” (see Heb 12:2). He is the Grand Initiator in everything. In Him, “we live and move and have our being” (see Acts 17:28).
          But ..

          We are also his co-workers (see 1 Cor. 3:9). Our works do matter. In fact, the very verse that you cite, Eph. 2: 10, says we were created ”for good works.”
          Granted, they don’t justify us before God, but they flow out of our relationship with Him. In fact, if they don’t exist, we have reason to question the quality of our faith (see James 2”14–16).
          Thanks.

          • http://www.provisionhouse.org/ Paul Stark

            The issue is not whether justification is by faith and/or works or whether our works matter (they do). The issue is whether or not we get to “choose” what good works we do. And there, the answer is no, for reasons explained in my previous post.

            Regarding joint ventures, this simply means that, not only is God the only One who decides the goods works we are to do, but we don’t even get to “consult” on it.

            Bottom line: We need to be very careful about God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Whatever He’s chosen for us, it must be carried out in spiritual power; hence, spiritual gifts.

            If what we’re doing is simply a “good thing” and not a “good work”, the cost of getting it wrong could be rather severe (suffering loss and forfeiting rewards).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Was there ever a time in your life that you did succeed at something? A time when you were happy and hopeful? What were you doing differently?

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      I’d recommend Jon Acuff’s “Quitter” for any person in your situation. I’ve been where you are (lost job, living on unemployment benefits, etc.) and would have benefited a great deal from his book. I read it after my wife and I had come into a better financial situation. Acuff’s insight would have helped me more fully appreciate the job I hated way back when.

    • Anne

      Jane, I have just read your comment and I hope you life has taken a turn for the better. Philippians 4:6-7 gives me comfort when facing situations over which we have no control. Anne

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Love the story. Reminds me again that God puts desires on our heart, but he can’t turn those desires into reality if we don’t do our part. 

  • http://twitter.com/bdillenback Ben Dillenback

    Its like schrodinger’s cat in a box idea… sort of. 

  • Allison Gray

    I’m really intrigued by the idea that waiting to make a choice can be connected to the desire to trick others or “win” some sort of contest.  Today and for me, the end of the story is a reminder of how important it is to make choices without worrying about how I’ll appear to others and what I’ll get out of choosing honestly/authentically. 
    Glad to find this in my e-mail this morning :)

  • http://darensirboughblog.wordpress.com Daren Sirbough

    Ah such a great thought. This story reflects many aspects of my life. Understanding that the power for a lot of things in my life is in my hands helps me to understand my responsibility to those decisions. In a day and age where we often ‘pass the buck’ to someone else, there are many things that fall into our hands and can only be done well if we choose the right path.

  • Anonymous

    Powerful story, Michael. I agree that we have have to be aware of what happens in our heads that might color the way we see ourselves and our world. This has been most evident to me in seasons of my life where failed to spend in God’s Word. Without it, I don’t see too clearly.

  • Anonymous

    Your story and interpretation of it describes the exact approach I took to life when I was an atheist. I did not, of course, view my life as a gift from God, but as a biological and physiological reality. But from there I was the master of my own destiny. I was the hands and the bird was mine to manage, plan and manipulate. When I entered a recovery program at age 31, I began to explore the notion that there was something bigger than myself and that my well-being and the well-being of those around me somehow hinged on my ability to submit my will and my life over to its care. I did not understand what this “higher power” might be or how it worked, but I became willing and proceeded with the arduous task of confronting my ego and learned the meaning of the recovery slogan, “I can’t, he can, I’m going to let him”. 

    Thus began a transformation of heart, mind and Spirit that led to a conversion to Christian faith at age 37 and an entirely new context for letting go and letting God. This new and paradoxical context involved concepts like strength in weakness, wisdom in perseverance and being filled with power in the moments in which I most submit my power. As it relates to your story, I learned that I am not the foolish child holding the bird and thinking I have the power…I am the bird who is a pot in the hands of a potter who promises to illuminate my path, keep it straight and empower me to serve when and if I am willing to be transformed by the mysterious power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Of course this requires submission, patience and a willingness to be changed from the inside out that does not track with the pick-a-target-and-shoot-for-success culture we live in. However…to my amazement as a lifelong atheist/agnostic…I have found that taking that taking the paradoxical step of letting go of life planning and submitting into an uncertain (and, with all due respect to your post and others) unplanned future with a willingness to be led and transformed has resulted in my having more “worldly credentials” than I ever had when I was a corporate VP with a big house, lots of money and all the trappings of my traditional sense of the American Dream. All to say that I would respectfully ask you and your readers to consider this story through a different lens…and to consider that the business-based approach to living does not become a godly path just because you add “god created us” to an otherwise secular approach to living. I believe the Christian life offers us more than the same way I lived as an atheist and that our attempt to “finish in the flesh what began in the Spirit” is a large contributer to the ineffectiveness of American Christianity to make a difference in our culture. The first 2 1/2 chapters of Proverbs offers us much instruction on this life in the Spirit that Jesus promises in his absence. It discusses what it takes to have wisdom, understanding, knowledge and discernment. With these we need less how-to plans because we will be tuned to the will of God in our lives confirmed by the Word. The American church that I’ve encountered in my 9 years of Christian rarely discusses these concepts and does little teaching about discernment and what it means to hear God. As a result, many are searching for the same 10-ways-to-a-better-life instruction that new agers, non-believers and others in our culture are hoping will light their life paths. There is more out there for us…and for others…if we allow ourselves to follow the road less travelled.  

    • Anonymous

      Well stated, Joanpball!  Thank you for the perspective!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      To some degree, I agree with you. I appreciate your story and the transformation God worked in your life.

      I agree with the fact that we, as Christ followers, don’t pursue the American dream but we “seek…first the kingdom of God.”

      Scripture also encourages us to take an active part in God’s shaping. “…study to show thyself approved…”

      At some point, we either intentionally choose to follow the Lord or we drift from Him. I think that’s the intention of Michael’s posts, to highlight choice, to discourage drift.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t doubt that, @TNeal. But the question then arises, what is it that we are meant to be choosing? If we are filling in the StrenghtsFinder, learning what we are good at, assuming that being good at it means it is our calling (a notion that is widely accepted but contradicted in many Bible stories), and making plans to excel in activities that maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses (all tried and true business principles born out of completely secular theories) then how are we any different than people who do the same with no faith? That is exactly the approach I took to life when I was an atheist. We wonder why people on the “outside” see no difference in us. It is because we are looking to them for principles, tagging God on it and proceeding as if we are the ones who came up with the idea. Christians did it with microfinance (conceived by a Muslim man named Muhammad Yunus) and we are doing it with strategic/life planning (an outcome of executive coaching principles). At what point to do we highlight choice and discourage drift without sampling from the secular?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          My approach is that all truth is God’s truth. Why divide the secular from the sacred? God is sovereign over everything. Just because someone is using something successfully and not giving credit to God doesn’t make it false. It just makes it borrowed.

          • Anonymous

            To use a business metaphor, I view the creative and innovative nature of a life lived in submission to Father, Son and the guidance and counsel of the the Holy Spirit to be like a cutting edge company that is consistently  bringing the new, different and compelling to market. One that has the potential to inspire and compel others to want to follow. That does not discount the fact that many companies succeed borrowing best practices from other companies. It doesn’t even make following the best practices of others wrong. I just think we are meant for more than that and that spending more time learning what it means to pursue the mysteries described in the beginning chapters of Proverbs and less time looking for processes from successful businesses, we might be surprised at the outcome–for ourselves and others.

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

          I don’t mean to parrot what Mike said in reply but I agree with his basic premise. Truth is truth even if it comes out of the mouth of a donkey (a very biblical concept). Moses, after stating what God had done in the past, says to the people, “I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction [choice]…Now choose life…”

          I grant you that God’s view of success and the human view differ by tons. God said through Isaiah, “My ways or not your ways…” You rightly caution against confusing my thoughts and ways for God’s divine purpose or bypassing the Spirit’s leading by simply taking a personality survey or gift assessment.

    • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

      Fantastic story of transformation!  I think the essential self is what you commit yourself to.  God has created us with the incredible ability to choose and it is up to you to make your declaration.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Joan, I wanted you to know that I have come back to your comments periodically since I first read them. I appreciate your introducing this thread into the conversation. Your comments have made me think more deeply about my faith in the Lord and my desire to be pleasing in His sight. Thanks for bringing your thoughts to the table and sharing them.–Tom

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    I have decided to live intentionally. I have made changes in my life, got my life plan written out and I review it. I have goals for my days, weeks, months, and years. However there are times when old habits try to creep up and tempt me to live as I used to. I’m tempted to let go and just fly wherever the wind takes me. It is a lot of effort for my life to be “as I choose it.” But it is so worth it. When the temptation comes up I remind myself of what I would lose if I went back. The cost is not worth falling back into a purposeless life. The prize for living intentionally is to great to describe, and so I continue. 

  • Rob Sorbo

    I wonder if I’m that little boy with the bird.

    I hate being cynical.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      We all are at some level. We have in our hands the power of life an death—over our dreams.

  • Jack Lynady

    Yes and No on this one. No one has absolute control over life their own or anyone else’s (ie the bird in the hand). It’s more like a Journey at sea. You can effect the direction of the boat, the sails, etc. but you are still at the mercy of the wind, the currents, the elements.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree that ultimately this is the case. But it’s a little like the Bible. It’s not the parts I don’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts that do. We can get so focused on what we don’t have control over, that we fail to take control over what we do.

      • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

        Amen to that!  

        Until I am executing the parts I do understand, I am not going to worry about the others!

  • http://www.irunurun.com/blog/ Travis Dommert

    Brilliant story.  I love wisdom and hope to acquire some to share along the journey. :)

  • Mikesformo

    Hey Mike,
    Mike Sformo here, DC. I created my own show about persistence faith and distractions. I wanted you to be part of it, with a one on one interview for my show. So take a look at the site, and buzz me if you think its to any value to you and your group.

    The site is: http://www.sformo.com

    Keep the faith brother,
    Mike Sformo

  • Janie V.

    My life is an intentional life with a purpose.  My future is so vague but yet so clear for many who know me!  I have so much to offer but many a time others hinder me or just plain don’t think that I can accomplish much.  I am graduating this December 9, 2011.   I will tell many my testimony one day and they will know that I am different but yet a great person to know if they truly get to know me.  Some Christian acquaintances only know what they see or better yet what they think they know about me; but do they really know me and the answer is “NO.”  I choose to be better than the opportunities that I have been given in my life.  Indeed I know that GOD is the head of my life and He will get me through everything that I go through and guide me to excel and be the best person that I can be!

  • http://www.nosuperheroes.com Chris Lautsbaugh

    Be intentional about your growth plan. Where do you want to be? Put on step in front of the other to get there!

  • Marianne Takacs

    Great story of truth.. for me, this speaks to the fact that although I may deal with  circumstances that are beyond my control, how I perceive those circumstances needs to be based on truth, as the old man in the story pointed out.  This is much of the idea, coupled with finding our hope in God,  behind the book my daughter & I wrote and recently had published. 

    Our family lived through a  painful five year period of time, with my daughter being very sick. Often, the circumstances surrounding our family did not change for the better, but our perceptions had to change in order for us to grow in those circumstances and not live ‘under the circumstance’, pun intended. We had to believe in God’s goodness and faithfulness and look for it in the midst of things. As we made choices to be courageous, move forward and face things head on, God was already there waiting to supply.

    It’s often in the choices we make by faith that we find the greatest potential for joy, satisfaction and personal growth.

  • Holly Moore

    Mike…

    This was a really timely post for me.  I’ve been contemplating how I manage my life and how I make decisions, and how important it is to remember that I have the power to CHOOSE.  To choose my attitude, how I will respond to pain, how I will believe God and His word, how I will spend my time and who I will spend it with, etc.  You encouraged me today to make wise and intentional decisions.  Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Holly. I am so glad. Best to you!

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/about Ryan Hanley

    I want to write a really thought provoking, value adding comment here, but I think that story speaks for itself.  

    So I will finish quickly with a simple Thank you for sharing!  This post added value to my day.

    Ryan H.

  • Kathy_ficek

    It puts my life in perspective, and hands me the choice.
     Thanks for sharing!
    Kathy

  • Baryinspired

    yes, but also a scary reminder to be aware of WHO we try to push responsibility of our own decisions onto…like that the wise old man pushed the responsibility back on to him.    

  • http://www.meeklabs.com meeklabs

    It is a good reminder for me to always get back up when knocked down. Its too easy in life to go where the current takes us, but that undertow is the world, and it will pull you under and drown you without you ever knowing it.

  • Stephanie @ KickAssWife.com

    This week I am taking on that concept by not watching TV for the next 5 days.  I want to see what I can get done when the “great distraction” is removed!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    White-eyed vireo. :-)

    That’s what’s in the hand.

    Excellent, powerful story. It not only communicates. It connects.

  • http://www.failuresneverfinal.com Colleen (FNF)

    Oh, I am SO going to tell my teenagers this story!  What a great lesson on the responsibility behind the choices we make.  It seems I’m always telling the older kids how they still have to choose what is right – even if they have been treated wrong.  You know, I try to get across that anger in itself isn’t the sin, but the behavior that the anger can lead to (or not!) is where the responsibility falls back to you.  Can’t wait.  Going to be ‘watching’ for my chance to use that illustration.  Thanks.

    • http://bentheredothat.com Ben Patterson

      For sure!  Teens need to hear this message of encouragement that they can choose life.

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  • http://twitter.com/Avito_BZE  Avito Zaldivar 

    Great writing again, Michael.  “Or will you live an intentional life…” This is the second time this weekend that I have been confronted with this very issue of intentionality.  I suppose I must heed what Bill Hybels might suggest as being the “power of a whisper”.  Thanks for this.  I better get busy with studying, reflecting, learning, and applying this intentional living.

  • Tabifork

    This helps. i was always taking all that people told me for gospel truth, and that has gotten me into enough trouble. But the word “intentional” in living your life has changed my destiny. Infact life is good when God tells you what to do and you chose how to do it.

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it, Michael. I like to apply this in the area of decision-making. Since we are accountable to God for every decision we make, let us strive for wise and right choices. That’s a worthy endeavor!

  • Kdojamin

    I fight and sometimes not fight the my ability to do nothing, there are times when I wish I wasn’t in control of everything. When I do nothing is when I sin the most. I thank GOD
    I choose to go back to work.

  • http://www.helpmeselfpublish.com Andrea Bandle

    It still amazes me when the whispers come at the exact right time. My daughter has been having a tough time in school this year, and I was just this morning, telling her that she has control over her own feelings and that the energy we put out there, (good or bad) is what comes back to us. This will be a great story for me to share with her. Thank you.

  • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com Charles Specht

    A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.

    • http://www.CrazyAboutChurch.com Charles Specht

      How often we wish we had more birds (a different life) when the real issue is living the life we have and making the most of it!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Love the story. Thanks for sharing.

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  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I think human being is the only living creature in this world gifted with the sixth sense. We are infact made in the image of God. In a sense, we are all special. We need to use this gift and ensure that we make use of most of the opportunities to be all that we can be.

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    I love this story – and how true it is.  It is all about our choices – powerful….

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  • Pastor Easy Amanze.O.

    2013 is your year for divine fulfillment.
    The evidence of  (2peter 3:9).

  • http://www.languageninjas.com/ Jade

    Shorts stories are always the best to get a point across, it’s a little sad but very true

  • Greg

    Do you think the Bible teaches a theology of suffering?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      What do you mean by “theology of suffering?” Thanks.

  • Chris Aingworth

    Michael I wanted to say that I have learned so much from you and your blogs, book and podcasts. I wondered, flying to Fiji for Life Mastery and Wealth Mastery what I was meant to learn or receive from these courses and now I know it was to meet you and start to learn from you. I still have a long way to go but I wanted to thank you for your advice in Fiji and your continued amazing content.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thank you so much, Charles. It was such a privilege to meet you. I’m so grateful you have found value in my content. I so hope our paths cross again. Blessings, my friend.

  • Kendall Hoffman

    Oh the choices! Indecision gets me every time.

  • Nancy Bouwens

    Story stirs the heart in a way many words can not! … it is as you chose it to be.. through what lens do we view our world?

    Thank you for sharing and again reminding us to chose.. life or death is in our hands,

    Blessings -
    Nancy
    http://www.simplyabundantlife.com

  • Tim Enochs

    The SCORRE Conference is amazing! I love this story! I used it while speaking to a high school football team in October.