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Life and Three Martinis

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 1972 issue of the Real Estate Observer.

The plane is grounded here and I am virtually alone on it. Just sat in the chief pilot’s seat and went through all the controls – fascinating. We are waiting for air to be pumped into the struts – a seemingly impossible task according to the maintenance chief. I have relaxed now and again am clean with only the seminar tomorrow as the present goal. It is so good to be able to classify the most important task first. It seems like making this determination is my constant cross and its weight begins to burden me by the day.

If I were to choose an ideal occupation it would contain these factors:

1. Surprise
2. Challenge
3. Freedom and “un-regimentation”
4. Rewards based on correct decisions
5. Economic rewards based on production, applied intelligence and again, correct decisions

If the quantity of decisions could be reduced and the quality increased then life would be simpler and at the same time more rewarding because each correct decision would produce more dramatic results, thus strengthening the intrinsic desire to make good decisions.

I often wonder how well I would play a game of my life against a decision, and I really believe that each living person, either consciously or unconsciously, makes this decision bit by bit, day by day, as they allow life to run its course, putting their life’s results against fife’s time. Now that is a quality decision. Imagine having all inconsequential problems removed and facing only one decision wherein the decision made, the finesse of its execution, and the endurance of the decision maker, would determine the outcome. That is fullness of life. That is success – that is the test – that is the drama of the ages – that is immortality in the personal sense that you would go to your eternal destiny informed about yourself.

It seems to me that people spend a good deal of their life fooling themselves about what they are. The old saying, “If you do what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it, you will be what you are when it is too late to do anything about it,” seems to miss most people. They listen politely when I say it and they cock their head quizzically at the end and nod knowingly – but it misses them.

Do you understand it? Will you say it to yourself when you face the tasks that you do not want to do? Will you pass it on and understand what it means to you – what it means to me? Can it mean to anyone what it has meant to me? Is it the truth? Is it strong enough to think about time after time or are there better things to look for?

The secret of life is not a secret. It is the most brazen sign post in the world. Revolving every 60 seconds it shoots across everyone’s horizon these words: “Here I am – use me to the fullest – I am fleeting and will be gone in an instant – I will take with me only what I know and feel. Everything else will die with the stroke of the minute.”

This sign then is the one to look for, to seek out, and camp beside. For here is where the action is, here is where the ring of decisions is heard. Here is where your apprenticeship is over and you take the helm and steer a course that will guide you through your adult life.

Chart in those unknown waters for surprises. Steer for the rapids and the waterfalls of challenge. Know the freedom of the open way and the demand of a 24 hour day. Think through the affects of your possible decisions and make them – right or wrong – for here is the fruition of life. The ability to decide what you will do when and where. You make things happen – things do not happen to you.

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