Everyone has those moments when you are faced with a decision that will change your life. At the time you probably have no idea how much that choice will affect you. In my life there have been many little incidents that caused me to correct things but the one that really had the most overall impact happened in Jump School. I stood facing a Special Forces captain, who was telling me that I wasn't good enough at physical training, and that I should just drop out of the class.
Let me take a moment to explain that yes, I wasn't real good at PT. The instructors were not being mean, they were thinking of my own safety and the safety of those around me. As hard as they were on us it was to make sure that we would be in the best shape possible and better prepared for the rigors of being an Army Paratrooper. So I had a choice to make, should I agree with them and give up, go back to the unit and take up my regular job in the Photo Section? Come on what would it matter? I wasn't going to try for the Special Forces Qualification Course. I was happy being a photographer. The other option was to stick with the class and put myself in the position of going through a lot more PT and very strenuous training. There were a lot of people who knew that I didn't like PT and were sure that I wouldn't make it through. A few people thought otherwise, they believed in me.
Without a lot of time to think it over, I took control of that icy feeling deep down in my gut and told the captain that he would have to throw me out, but I refused to quit. That momentary burst of bravado paid off, not only did I graduate I was acknowledged as the most improved student. Over the years since that choice it has become a touchstone. Something I bring back up when life gets tough, or a project has me stymied. Giving up is not an option until I have tried everything I can think of. Trying something new is not as scary because I know what I am capable of.
Everyone of us has those moments that can define their lives, it is up to us as individuals to decide, give in, or dig down deep and find the courage to try harder.