Take control of your destiny

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Todd Wadkins
  • 932nd Airlift Wing Safety Office
I don't know about you, but I love a good underdog story. One where a person comes from relative obscurity and against all odds, changes the rest of their life. Why do I love these stories? Because they give me hope, hope that I can and should do anything. One example of this kind of success, began in Salem, Ill., in 1860 and ended with several attempts at the presidency. Ultimately, William Jennings Bryan would become secretary of state, under President Woodrow Wilson.

Here is Bryan's view of destiny:

"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved."

Most of you may be expecting me to parlay this article into some sort of safety gospel. Well, as much as I normally would, my mind has wandered to greener pastures. Currently, many of our folks are struggling with the Air Force 'Fit to Fight' (PT) Test. Meanwhile, many reservists are working two jobs trying to make ends meet. Still others may be reeling from storm damage or some other catastrophic loss. Yet, there are others who are mired in the clay of a job that they really don't like.

Whatever the reason, grab the proverbial bull by the horns and let's ride that SOB! (sorry chaplains.) Do you have an 'Ideal' you in mind? Are you on your way to reaching 'the future' you? Or are you spending your time making up reasons not to attack the issues? Let's take a few minutes and let me use some "Ol' Man Safety" Logic:

I. Everything happens for a reason.

Whether you attest the things in life to a higher power or to fate, destiny or chance, I believe everything happens for a reason. Maybe the reason is to test my resilience; maybe it's so that I can one day lend a hand to a neighbor in need because I once needed a hand too. No matter how dire your situation, it was meant to be, but why? I don't know, but I know if you attack the question 'Why?' with the statement 'Why not!' it puts your mind in a better state to find a solution.

 Pooh happens!

You know things don't always go our way, sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you're the bug. Give yourself a time limit on feeling sorry for you, dust yourself off and get back at it. As the old Chinese proverb says: Get knocked down seven times, but get up eight times. There are times in our lives where we come to a realization that some pretty crappy stuff has happened. Some of it is sudden and others are long term defiance of the circumstances. Look at these 'bad' events as life lessons of who you want to be.

Here are a couple of examples:
· Overweight/out-of-shape--maybe you were meant to get to the point of failing your PT test? So that you could lose weight and inspire others to do the same. This action could change their destiny too. Who knows, you might save somebody's life.
· You hate your job--quit meeting the guys for a beer after work and complaining about it for hours. Use that time to go back to school or turn a hobby into a side-business.

II. You have to travel some treacherous roads to find the best fishing spots.

So, you weren't born into nobility, or the long lost son of Bill Gates, maybe you don't consider your dashing good-looks as one of your strong points.  Maybe you haven't been overly successful in business. Great, your story will be much more fun to hear about, when you turn things around and have a rags-to-riches story to tell. How many of us have been on the "Ramen Noodle diet?" Yeah, me too. So, do you ever want to do that again? No, then I ask: are you done? Have you given up on your destiny and are ready to just live out your life in vivid shades of grey that hold us prisoners in our own self-made cells?

If not,  then it is time to shake up the Yahtzee dice and get in the game. The dice I rolled, has a history of heart problems, obesity, cancer, and strangely enough happiness. The last part I can't explain, but I'm not getting rid of it either. Knowing that I have to struggle my way through weight-loss and workouts, no longer is a job. It's a method to reach where I'm going. In fact, I took this sordid path, by the kahunas...now, I'm not going to act like I'm something that I'm not. But, when I go to the gym I'm busting my butt to overcome genetics, not to look good in a Speedo. So far, so good, except for the Speedo!

III. Fortune favors the bold

Are you content with every aspect of your life? If so, consider yourself 'one-in-a-million" and stop reading. If not, then I hope you are encouraged or motivated enough to make the change. I know that change is scary, but I also know that making a change with a plan in place is less of a stressor. Making a plan allows you to make the change because YOU want to, not because you have to!

Those that are bold enough to expose their own weaknesses, and address them one-on-one are much more likely to garner respect. If respect is your only goal, you are selling yourself short. If being the owner of your own destiny is your goal, get off of the 'treacherous' road and find the right path. Now, take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other and start taking steps towards you own 'epic" fate.

Some of us need a kick in the pants, I recently got mine from a Chief that asked me what I had done to better my Air Force this week? I humbly bowed my head and started writing this commentary; it's never too late to start adding to your skill sets. I need to be shocked, kicked, or sparked into action. I have already told you about the catalyst for my fitness regimen. It is no longer my challenge, but more of a channel for which I hope to reach my destiny. ( I want to find myself one day, so old and rickety that I'm looking for a reason to go ahead and die, roughly 118 years old and still lifting on a regular basis.) When they finally put me in the ground, I hope somebody says, "Darn, he doesn't look a day over 100!"

Stop Waiting--Stop Complaining--Just Start!

· Change your diet
· Start exercising--train for your maximum effort not minimum requirements
· Find a new job--turn a hobby into a part-time job--go back to school
· Surround yourself with people that will support and encourage the 'new' you
· DO something towards your Destiny and DO it Today!

Got an epic story to share? Somebody in the Wing probably needs to hear it...as they may be struggling on that same 'treacherous' road that you already traveled. Be a great Wingman and mentor somebody today!

What is your destiny? Dream big!