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  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Sharon Gober
  • 6th Medical Operations Squadron
Each day we make choices. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross states, "I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime." In making decisions about my own career and family planning, I have been reflecting on this topic and challenge you to do the same. Force shaping, deployments, busy schedules, unemployment, professional military education, classes, promotions, raising children, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, staying connected with family and friends- the list of demands on us is endless. Sometimes it is overwhelming to think about how we are going to achieve all the tasks on our lists or how we can maintain balance in our lives. So I challenge each of us to make positive, healthy choices. Our motivations should stem first to improve ourselves, then for those we love who surround us, and finally, for our coworkers and colleagues, who may actually be influenced to make better choices themselves after observing our behavior.

One of the first choices we make is attitude. Each day, I challenge you to choose a positive attitude. In the words of Martha Washington, "the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." The reality is that we cannot control all of our circumstances; therefore, it becomes critically important to approach each day with a positive attitude. Slowing down, taking a deep breath and methodically working through circumstances will go a long way in choosing to overcome negativity or challenges in life.

Some of you, however, will say that you just don't have what it takes. We often get wrapped up in worry that we aren't as talented as the next person or that the circumstances we face are just too much to succeed. However, in the conversational banter of good friends as written by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter is called out by his friend: "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." Consistent, reliable choices make us who we are and give us results, far more than our capabilities. Choose to work hard, choose to eat well and choose to augment your life with a balance of hobbies, loved ones and mindful meditation. The sum of our choices adds up far more than the initial gifts and talents we start with.

Finally, I challenge us to be content. From a quote attributed to Buddha, "health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, and faithfulness the best relationship." While I don't want to use this to be an excuse to slack on achieving goals, I also believe that there are many times when our envy results in the belief that others or other circumstances are always better. I challenge you to appreciate what you have, acknowledge your success, and know when you have done your best. When we consciously choose to do what is right and with a positive attitude, we may just find that our abilities far exceed our wildest dreams. It is then that we can feel fulfilled and at peace with where we are in our lives- we can accept our choices. At the end of the day, "one's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility." (Eleanor Roosevelt)