A long time ago, I was in a partnership with a group of people, some family members, some associates, and we had a set of companies that were doing quite well. One of the companies was struggling and the partner, let’s call him ‘Bob’, who was running that particular company began to get depressed and down on himself and was not showing up for work.
I did not work onsite at this company, so one day, one of the people who worked with him had phoned me to discuss what had been happening. I was told that he hadn’t been coming to work, and because his co-worker was concerned, I was asked to look in on him. He hadn’t been answering his door or telephone and they were starting to worry. Of course, I agreed…So I drove to Bob’s house and when I got to his house it looked kind of dark, kind of quiet, kind of sad actually, and I went up and I knocked on the door – he didn’t come. I knocked on the door again and he didn’t come. And then the third time he did. And this handsome, achieved man came to the door with a only his wrinkled shirt on. Gone was the 3-piece suit and what was left was this downtrodden man, who just seemed ruined. He thought he was going to lose everything; and he could have.
So he invited me in, we sat down, and we had a talk. It was a great, intimate, close talk, completely not every day of the business life. As we talked I said something to him in our conversation. I said to him, “You know Bob, they can do whatever they want, we can lose everything we have, but one thing they cannot take from us is our minds and our ability to make choices and changes. That’s inside of us. We keep that always. What do you think Bob?” And the lights went on. Bob tells that story. When Bob sees me, and I hardly ever see Bob now, he remembers that because that changed his life. And Bob, to this day, believes that he’s the captain of his soul. He’s the one that can make the choices and the changes. Just like Victor Frankl’s, “Man’s Search for Meaning”: You can be in the direst of situations but your captor cannot take away your capacity to choose and be. That’s what happened to Bob, but it happened to change his whole life. It changed my whole life and that’s how powerful we are as beings.
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