14. Knowledge

Civilisation does not consist in commercial prosperity, or even in a fine service of express trains. It resides in quick apprehension, lively interest, eager sympathy . . . at least I suspect so. 

— Benson, Joyous Gard 

What are your hopes and dreams? That was the first question that Ted, a financial planner, asked before he introduced his services to me. You know, I had to think about that for a while. He sort of caught me off guard. On the one hand, there seems to be so much that I want from life. But on the other, I really just want to enjoy the simple things. I’d like to meet more people and know their stories. 

I enjoy interesting people. Ted himself had quite a story, even though I heard only a little of it. He’d been a submarine skipper in the Navy during the “Cold War” years. He told me about trailing Russian submarines in order to keep an eye on where they were heading and what they might be up to. He said that he and his crew would remain submerged for 60-70 days at a time.  

I can’t imagine being submerged for so long, can you? No daylight for over two months. No fresh air. But Ted didn’t mind it at all. In fact, he must’ve really loved it. I think he probably enjoyed the challenge of following an enemy submarine without being detected. And as the boat’s skipper, he was constantly thinking and making decisions in order to ensure safe passage.  

Life offers a great many challenges. And even though you might not realize it, you’re making decisions every day that somehow will affect your outcome and your points of destination. Sleeping late, for example — that’s a decision that you make. It might not really feel like a decision. But it is. You could choose not to sleep late, instead pushing yourself to get “up and at ’em.”  

Hundreds – even thousands — of individual decisions will influence your outcomes in life. Reading, studying, meeting new friends, writing letters, working on a project – these are all things that you must first choose to do. They won’t happen unless you make them happen.  

Ted began by asking, What are your hopes and dreams, Levi?” And I thought, “It really doesn’t matter what my hopes and dreams are unless I’m willing to make the decisions that will lead to their outcomes.” 

Day 14 Guide 

The decisions and commitments that you make should foster the things that you care most deeply about.  

© 2006, Levi Hill

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