The other day I stumbled into another short post from Steven Barnes that reminded me of what I had written several days back.
If you were judged by your actions more than your words and your words more than your intents or feelings…how would you look?
Easy enough, right? I stated that the choices we make day to day, minute to minute, demonstrate whether we really make a priority of the things we claim we want. And Steven asks you to step outside of yourself and look at how you appear – what is the discrepancy between what you do, what you say, and what you intend? Are they the same? If not, why?
Both of these also mesh with Eric Raymonds essay: Ethics from the Barrel of a Gun, which, no matter what you think of guns themselves, discusses several universal truths. First, the fact that in the end, no matter what your predilections, strengths, and weaknesses are, it all comes down to your choices – and no-one else’s. Circumstances can inform or skew your choices, but in the end, it’s your decision to act, or not.
A second is that choices cannot simply be undone. Time’s arrow runs in only one direction, and any action, once taken, is permanent. The best that you can do in most cases is expend additional effort to counteract the consequences of the original decision or action. This is important because it applies to not only large, obvious actions, like pulling a trigger, but to small ones without immediately visible consequences: Eating a slice of cake probably won’t harm you (diabetics may beg to differ), but a person complaining about their weight who has a dessert every night is making a series of small decisions that in the end add up to weight gain.
Thirdly – the universe does not care about your motives. It doesn’t care if you want to be thin, fat, famous, a writer, an actor, and engineer, or bum. As I said earlier, whether or not you become these things depends on what you choices you make every time you reach a decision point. It depends on what you do when other, easier alternatives may present themselves.
“You are who you decide to be.” Not who you want to be, not who you say you are. Who you decide to be. It’s a great truth, but most people forget that this is an ongoing and constant decision, at every turn that other options present themselves.
And as Steve Barnes reminds us: actions speak far louder than words.
Just what are you going to do about it?