Is there a difference between your philosophy and position in life? Does it change with the situation?
When it looks like you’re going to have to fight like that proverbial third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s ark, which truth will come out? How will your ending be written?
One of the best sequences of dialogue addressing this comes from Richard Jessup’s novel CHUKA, published in 1961. When you’re surrounded by an enemy that’s overwhelming and mad dog crazy, it’s time to check your inner self—and your hole card.
A Spanish Duenna was verbally eviscerating the aging gunfighter about his choices in life when she asked if he had a philosophy. And yes, there will be some paraphrasing.
Chuka told her there was a difference between his philosophy and his position.
“A man lives in a country, a place and a time. To live, a man’s got to be settled on the way he wants to live.”
“Guided by certain principles.” She said.
“Those rules, or principles as you call them are simple. Truth comes first. Second comes honor. The third, but by no means less important than the others, is courage.”
She started to speak but Chuka held up his hand.
“Now my position. My position is to walk with truth, hold on to my honor and find courage to help me over the rough spots.”
“Have you found it hard to hold this position?”
“It’s hard to hold it even for a little while. Why? Because we don’t always want to tell the truth, especially when it hurts us or someone we care for.
“We can’t always hold on to our honor or we’d find ourselves fighting all the time.
“Courage is the hardest of them all. Most times when we find courage it can be too late or too little.
“It takes courage to face truth and courage to recognize your honor is not another man’s honor. One man’s truth, or honor, or courage isn’t the test for anyone else.”
How often does that happen in life? It’s easy to write it. We can always go back and edit in the best decision for a certain situation. It's the infamous re-write. But, sometimes in real life we see the right choice going away in the rear-view mirror. Hesitation was the dance of the day and that right choice slipped away.
So, maybe the lesson is in the less quoted line. “Be settled in the way you wish to live." If you have a position, know exactly what it is and why. If you say you believe in something, can you tell someone else why?
Know what you want. Know what you’re willing to do for it. Be settled in it.
Let’s write that story line into our lives.