Thousands of years ago, when that truth was first spoken, it was profound. It still is.

Before

As I write these words, I’m away from loved ones, facing a difficult endeavor without support from those who care about me. The next few hours will involve discomfort, pain and stress, yet I’m eager to be here.

I will be running a triathlon this morning. A misunderstanding, bad assumptions, high bacterial count and other factors disrupted about a thousand of us. My imperfect preparation is matched by the vast majority who are better prepared for the planned event than the actual one.

The details don’t matter.

Discipline is knowing who you are and acting like it. That’s a different way of saying your self-identity determines your choices. People who see themselves as lean are better able to decline the calories which are freely given away. Alternatively, some folks’ default setting is “if it feels good, do it.” They eat more of the free food when it’s offered. The second group do more indulging in the short run and pay a higher health price with each passing decade.

I recently had a birthday celebrating another decade. There are relatively few in my age group for this event. Many individuals with the same number birthday candles think of themselves as aged, or fragile. Maybe my body is just as clumsy and subject to the damage as tens of thousands of others who are sitting at home this morning.

Yet I think of myself as vigorous, often ignoring inconvenient truths. By choice, I’m here, slightly chilled when I could be sitting in the heated room listening to an enlightening talk. For the next few hours I’ll only hear my own self talk and the stray comments of strangers who fancy themselves to be athletes.

There is a microscopic chance that I’ll stand on the podium for the first time today. There’s a large likelihood that within weeks I’ll be doing something else vigorous in my attempt to live until I die.

How about you? How do your choices shape you?

After

I wrote the above yesterday. I got a surprise at the end of the race. For the first time in all my decades I earned a spot on the podium. Nobody in that mob was more surprised than me. The enameled pot metal medallion with the decorative colored ribbon is a lightweight prize that I’ll appreciate for many years. To most people it would be about as exciting as a cup coffee. To me it was almost like a found treasure, a delight in excess of my expectations.

Guess what? I’ll be back again within a month. Once more I’ll wear a wetsuit over biking shorts and face chilly open ocean, knowing that sore muscles and tired feet will await me.

We make our choices and our choices make us. I hope you’re happy with the choices that you’re making.

-o0o-

Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.