Choose to Be a Victor

“Life is the sum of all your choices.”
~Albert Camus

When you’re overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, do you find it refreshing to remember that stress is really a choice?

That’s a liberating concept because if stress is a choice, you can choose not to have it. Stress Is a Choice, by David Zerfoss, will show you the way with his ten rules to simplify your life. Leading the Zerfoss Group which consults with “think tanks,” major corporations and entrepreneurs, Dave has an innate talent to touch, move and inspire others. In Stress Is a Choice, he’ll inspire you to take a fresh look at how you can simplify your life … and choose less stress.

Today, I’d like to share an excerpt from Stress Is a Choice. 

Live Inspired,

Michelle Sedas
Excerpted from Stress Is a Choice: 10 Rules to Simplify Your Life
Choose to Be a Victor 
One of the most powerful medicines in the world is “choice.” We can choose our attitude, how we react to situations, and with whom we want to share our lives. When illnesses or situations threaten to disrupt our lives, it’s our choice to throw in the towel and become a victim or stand and fight, no matter what the outcome – living the life we have as a victor.

No matter what your circumstances in life, you have a choice in the matter. You, yourself and the person in the mirror. Get it?

How can this be when there are so many horrific cases of past circumstances in so many lives? All kinds of things happen in life. People do things to us, we do things to people, accidents happen, people come into our lives, people go out of our lives. We choose to let these things and people enter our lives or stay in our lives. We also choose our attitude toward them.

When you cease having a choice, you become a “victim.” Whether it’s the changing economy, difficult relationships, or a life-changing accident or illness, we possess the strongest mechanism there is to create a breakthrough: the power of choice. We choose how we react, what we think about and what we become – no matter what our surroundings or circumstances. We also choose how we want others to perceive us, acting and speaking accordingly.

In the fall of 2001, I awakened early one morning to get ready to spend the day at an industry trade show. While shaving, I noticed a lump on the side of my neck. It was not there the day before. I was not feeling ill and in fact, I had just had a physical 30 days earlier, with a healthy diagnosis.

As soon as I got back into town a few days later, I called my family doctor. After explaining my situation, I got an appointment right away. My family doctor took immediate action and sent me to a specialist. After a series of many tests, the diagnosis was lymphoma. That profoundly confronting word – Cancer – had just entered my life.

It was just a few weeks before the Christmas holidays and the oncologist asked if I would like to wait to begin treatments at the start of the New Year. In my normal fashion of attacking a problem head on, I said, “Let’s get to work on beating this thing – right now.” To be frank, I was scared to death. After living a very fast-paced life and conquering many challenges, there is nothing that compares to the confronting nature of the “C” word and the fact that your life may soon be over. A series of questions start reeling in your mind: Will you be there to see all your grandchildren be born, graduate, and get married?

My treatment was set to begin with several months of chemo, followed by a month of radiation treatments. Much to my surprise, when sitting in that chemo chair for the very first time, my best friend, Fred, walked in the room. He had come to be there with me. How do you quantify friendship such as this?

During my treatment process, I encountered many folks with far worse conditions and a much graver prognosis than my own. Life had found a way of quickly putting things into proper perspective. So much so that when people at work would come into my office to tell me they had a problem, my first thought was, “No, you don’t know what a real problem is.”

These folks I met who had much tougher diagnoses than my own became my heroes and offered me true inspiration, Their attitudes demonstrated they had chosen to live life victoriously, even if their life’s duration might be a matter of weeks or months. As one friend once told me, “Every day’s a holiday and every meal’s a picnic.”

With early detection, the wisdom of great doctors, loving support from my family and friends, and overwhelming strength that can only be found in God in times like this, I was very fortunate to beat that cancer. I am pleased to report that I’ve been cancer free ever since the end of those first chemo treatments.

When circumstances, people, or an illness threaten to get you down, remember you always have a choice in how you react and deal with the situation. Choose to confront challenges head on, no matter how serious they are. And choose your friends along the way wisely, too. They’ll be there for you just when you need them; supporting and encouraging you to choose to lead a powerful life – one of a Victor!