"It Is Your Choice"

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It Is Your Choice
by Joe Bonura, CSP


Do Not Sell Yourself Short

After reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill for the twentieth time, I reflected on a poem by Jesse Bell Rittenhouse…

I bargained with life for a penny,
And life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty score.

For life is just the employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked for Life,
Life would have willingly paid.

Adversity Creates Opportunity

The poem was a gentle reminder that in life, you are exactly where you expected to be. Is that true? What about the economy, the stock market, the hurricanes, the oil spills, whatever? Circumstances do not make opportunities. You do. Hill also points out in his book that many of today’s greatest companies were started during the “Great Depression.” Adversity creates opportunity only if you are paying close attention. The key is to be observant and attentive.

Are You A Bench Warmer?

Are you sitting on the sidelines, waiting for things to change? Only if YOU change, will your circumstances change. That may be easy to say when you are not up to your neck in alligators. I have been up to my neck in alligators all of my life; I simply keep swimming, and swimming, and swimming in the opposite direction, and you can too.

Action Can Change Your Life

The questions will give you the answer: What have you bargained for in life? If you bargain for a penny, why should you expect a dollar? For the first quarter of my working career, I was working for pennies, and then one day, I heard motivational speaker Earl Nightingale declare that anyone can have, be, or do, anything in life. Many people that day heard the same message; however, most of them did not take action. I did take action, and it changed my life.

Stuck In A Rut?

We are the sum total of the people we know, the experiences we had, and the decisions that we make. Recall the people who have influenced your life in a positive or in a negative way, and consider how you have allowed those influences to affect your life. The choices you make will be of significant importance. You can allow the negative influences to dominate your thinking and you will end up stuck in a rut (see my previous article “In A Rut” http://bonura.com/articles/in_a_rut.htm ), or you can choose to make the negative influence a motivating factor to move on in a positive spirit.


Recently, I read a story about a family that had twins, and the father was an alcoholic. When the twins grew up, one of them became an alcoholic, like his father. When he was asked why he became an alcoholic, he responded,“ What else could you expect; my father was an alcoholic?” The other twin grew up to be a sober pillar of his community. In view of his father’s addiction, he was asked why he did not become an alcoholic, he responded, “What else could you expect, my father was an alcoholic?”

Do Not Flip Over Your Choices

The comedian Flip Wilson often made the statement, “The devil made my do it!” The truth be told: the devil does not force you to do something; he gives you the options and you decide one way or the other. Your greatest power is to choose to do or not to do. I recall the chant we opened every Dale Carnegie session with, “If it is going to be, it is up to me.” Ultimately, it is your choice to determine where you will end up.

The Past Does Not Equal The Future

You are where you are today, based on all the choices that you have made, and the good news is that if you are not happy with where you are, you can make new choices. And they are simple choices that can make a big difference in your life. If you choose to get up fifteen minutes earlier each day, you will have a fifteen-minute head start on what you accomplished the day before. If you decide to make an extra sales call each day, and your average is normally five calls a day, Monday through Friday, you will have worked an extra day by making the five additional calls each week. If you want to lose weight, and you are accustomed to eating a large high-calorie lunch every day, try cutting back and eating a salad instead.

One Step At A Time

You can finish a marathon just by putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to move forward. You fail only when you stop moving forward. Several years ago, I watched my daughter run in the Chicago Marathon. She spent months of preparation working up to running the distance: she did it one day at a time and one mile at a time. When the big day came, we followed her throughout the race. At the five-mile mark, she was full of energy and excitement. At the ten-mile mark, she was still in the race, but she had a more serious look on her face as she passed us. By the 24-mile marker, she was focused on the run and totally fixated on putting one foot in front of the other. The pain and the strain were obvious, but the months of preparation were kicking in. At the end of the race, she was jumping up and down and high-fiving with new energy. She was experiencing the thrill of having accomplished her goal of finishing her first marathon.

Keep Running

Life is a marathon. We practice or train by getting an education in a career. We implement the training and experience the high’s and the low’s, but the key to finishing well is to keep running with the finish line in sight.

Get Set – Go!

Start your race beginning today. What is it that you want? Start training and then go for it. Remember what Rittenhouse said in his poem. Life will give you whatever you bargain for if you are willing to pay the price.

© 2010 Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

To see Joe and hear one of his favorite selling tips, follow this link to a video he created to share with folks who are interested in making more sales, or finding a job:



Joe Bonura would be pleased for you to reprint the article text free of charge (non-exclusively), but asks that you include his name and contact information:

Joe Bonura
Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.
Website: www.bonura.com
407 Landis Lakes Court
Louisville, KY  40245

(502) 553-1746 phone

E-mail: joe@bonura.com

About Joe Bonura

His background is unique. Joe owned and operated a highly successful advertising agency for 18 years. During that time, he found his advertising campaigns were more effective when he educated his clients in the areas of sales and service. He conducted training seminars for his clients as added value. Word spread that Joe was a quality speaker and more and more people asked him to speak. The demand became so high that he sold the agency to three of his associates to start his own speaking and consulting company, Joe Bonura & Associates, Inc.

Joe is past President of the Kentucky Speakers Association and a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a prestigious designation earned by only 8% of the 3,600 member National Speakers Association. Joe presently serves on the board of directors of NSA.

He is author of the audio learning systems "Three-Dimensional Selling®" and "Turning Customer Satisfaction Into Customer Excitement®." He is author of the book Throw the Rabbit—The Ultimate Approach to Three-Dimensional Selling.




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