I’ve heard my father give this speech hundreds of times. In fact, it was a major section of his bestselling motivational classic, Life Is Tremendous
. The Three Decisions
: Who are you going to live your life with, what are you going to live your life doing, and who you are going to live your life for. I know my father worked very hard and came from humble beginnings, but I always kind of assumed that he was one of the very few who just got it right the first time. After all, he married my mother at 20 years of age and they stayed married for the next 60 years. He was a world-renowned motivational speaker who had a certain charisma that was unrivaled. His faith in the almighty God after he became a Christian at 23 was as pure and radical a transformation as Paul’s on the road to Damascus.
So easy for him to make these decisions, right? Wrong! When you read The Three Decisions
you will see a man who made a decision and then spent his life committing himself to it. There was nothing easy about it. Committed people only look that way to outsiders. This is such a rarity these days we just assume great fortune or that the stars were aligned when someone leads a charmed life. There are no charmed lives. There are only those who live life giving their all to what they’ve committed to with their decisions.
My father said the secret to a lifelong marriage isn’t compatibility, its commitment, and that you cannot make this decision based on how it goes, but solely on integrity; that God does not put romance in marriage, but in people, and it’s up to us to ensure it stays there. My father also said that God never made a job to make a man; He made men to make a job. And if you wanted a better job, you needed to do a better job. And when my father finally made his personal commitment to accept the Bible as absolute truth, he pursued it with all his heart. He would say, “With all my heart I’m telling you this: you ought to know what you believe and why you believe what you believe, and you ought to be willing to believe it so you can get to the heart of what believing is really all about.”
His lifelong mantra was that if what you’re going to get supersedes what you’re going to give, you’re in the wrong ballpark. In other words, if you are always on the make for a better person, job, or god based on what it’s going to do for you, you aren’t even alive. But when you are so ready to commit to one person, one passion, and one master that you’d give it all up, then you are capable of making the three most important decisions of your life and to live life tremendously and triumphantly.
Wow. It would have been a pleasure to shake your dad’s hand. What an example. And it’s clear that his philosophy and legacy are in the best possible hands, namely those of the author of this post.
I loved the part about there being no charmed lives, and that commitment is never easy, despite appearances. Thanks, Tracey, for being a much needed voice and witness in these oft discouraging times. Did I mention your zest, good cheer, and relentless good humor? Well, thanks for that, too!! : )
Thank you Mark! Yes, it wasn’t until after he had gone home that I really got to dig in and understand how hard he worked every single day for the things that were important to him. He made it look so easy, but then again, when we stand firm with what we’re committed to, life truly does become so much clearer and simpler:-) As always Mark, thank you for your unending support and encouragement!