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Life Is.

There is a quote often attributed to Mother Teresa. It goes like this:

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is bliss, taste it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.

In other words, life gives us all kinds of things. It’s true. Life gives us things. Whether we see those things as gifts or burdens has a lot to do with what we believe about the Giver. And how we respond to those gifts says a lot about what we believe about ourselves.

Last September, I was finishing up a long run. I was hot, tired. I started thinking about how nice it would be to jump in our pool. I think I’ll do it, I thought. Then came the second-guessing: that water is really cold, Ned. You don’t have a towel. But jumping in the pool is cool, I countered. Yeah, but taking a shower would be a whole lot more convenient. But jumping in a freezing cold pool is crazy. Yeah, jumping in a freezing cold pool IS crazy.

I went back and forth in my mind as I turned up Quilling Rd.

In the end, I jumped in.


Because in the end I want to be the guy who jumps in a freezing cold pool.

It is the choice I made.

So am I the kind of guy who jumps in a freezing cold pool, or am I the guy who talks himself into jumping into a freezing cold pool?

There’s a difference, right? Or is there? The fact is I jumped in. It is the choice I made, and by making it I became the guy who jumps in…

We make choices all the time: What to eat, when to sleep, how many times I check Instagram. Those choices don’t necessarily determine who we are, but those choices certainly say something about it. What do your choices say about you?

Loving husband? Bad parent? Faithful employee? Reckless driver?

Each day, life presents us with all kinds of things – whether we receive them as presents is up to us.

Ned Erickson

Ned is the Founder and Executive Director of the Winston-Salem Fellows, a non-profit dedicated to equipping people to live seamless lives as they grow into the men and women they were created to be. He is the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed novel Clay. He, his wife, two children, dogs, rabbit, guinea pig, turtle, and chickens live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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