sebgwrites

Worlds of imagination by Sara B. Gauldin

Choices for Success in the New Year

I have found that one of the most difficult comprehension skills to teach in reading is cause and effect.  For years, I have wondered why or how something that seems very intuitive is so much of a challenge.  Recently, I have realized that the answer is much the same as the question many of us ask of adult behaviors.  Why?

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Why do people commit crimes?  Why do some people succeed while others fail?  Why are some people rich while others are destitute?  The trouble is, in our society the answer has gotten lost.  Many people see their daily misfortunes as bad luck, or being redirected by some evil. So many people no longer see a basic cause and effect relationship for what it is.  They paint every color distraction over situations that are simply black and white.

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Just today CNN featured a young woman who told about the hardships of her life and made an argument for raising the minimum wage to improve her odds of living independently of her mother.  The lady had dropped out of high school, and then had a child as a single parent.  Red flag folks, those were her decisions to make, but she has to live with them, just like we all have to live with our own.  She chose a tough path, but it is not an impossible journey.  If she is unhappy with her income, the effect, then she needs to change the cause of the income, the job.  How can this be achieved if she is not qualified for another job?  She can return to school and set a positive example for her child.  She can learn the skills to obtain a better-paying job.  The effect of these actions would be a positive one.  Instead she claimed that her situation was impossible, and that she was too old (at twenty-nine) to get an education because it may take until she was in her 40s.  Wrong head set.. First of all, twenty-nine is relatively young.  With the rollback of social security, many of the people in my generation will not retire until around 70 any ways.  By that estimation, she has 40 more years in the workforce.  A two-year degree would vastly change her earning potential for the next 38 years, but instead she is on national television complaining that her situation is impossible and expressing her desire to create inflation and devalue the income the rest of us working-class folks have worked our way up to in order to help her gain an advantage that she did not earn.

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This type of learned helplessness is rampant in our society today.  It seems that many people have stopped seeing that their own actions and behaviors are the biggest players in the game of life.  In reality, people who choose to work earn money.  People who pursue an education are likely to earn more of it.  People who spend time and money enriching the lives of their children are more probable to have children who grow to be healthy and well-adjusted adults, who like their parents will pursue their goals rather than waiting for them the magically happen.   The truth is, easy solutions and the path of least resistance is not a reality for very many people.  The people in this world who are successful did not get there with luck alone.  They used some combination of talent, hard work, determination, work ethic and personal accountability to get there.

 Accountability

On the same line of thought, I encountered a person who I was acquainted with in my teens.  We spent a brief amount of time catching up.  She told me about her job and children, and I told about mine.  Then the comment was made.  I was lucky that I had a good job.  Lucky?  I put myself through a community college with a learning disability.  I became a computer technician and pulled a 4.0, so I could afford to attend a four year university.  I completed three years of my two college degrees as a mother, two of them as a single mother.  I took and passed all the necessary tests and benchmarks to obtain a teacher’s license.  Yes, I have a decent job that pays me more than minimum wage.  But no, luck had nothing to do with it.  I made a choice.  The comment was made that I was lucky to be able to send my children to private school.  Again, I pay half of my salary to send them to the school they attend.  That is a choice.  I could keep the money and spend it on whatever I like.  I choose to invest in my children.  There is no luck involved.

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As a child, my father repeatedly told me that I could have what I want in this life, but that each thing would be a choice, and I would have to give something up to achieve that goal.  I gave up time and money and a social life to obtain a college degree.  I gave up income to buy a better home and education for my children.  I gave up sleep and television to become a published author.  All of these choices are the cause of my place in life.  Granted I could have made decisions that led me in wildly different directions from millionaire to junky.

Sometimes the choices we need to make to achieve our goals are not evident to us.  I can relate to that as well.  My new release The Corporeal Pull is not selling as well as I would like.  It is not because it is bad; it is because it is an unknown book.  Currently, I am trying to figure out what choices I need to make to bring my book release more success in the New Year.  I cannot guarantee that my marketing decisions will be successful, but I can guarantee that not trying will never get my book or me anywhere.  So that is my backward way of saying that my New Year’s resolution is to make the choices that I need to make to become a more successful author and to continue my parenting and teaching. As the present tense steadily erodes to the past, best wishes in the New Year, and make awesome choices!

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