The Buck Stops With You

Do you ever wonder why you’re where you are? How did you end up in your current position?

It’s easy to dismiss it as life passing us by and circumstances bringing us to where we are.

It’s easy but not true. The truth is you made choices that brought you to where you are.

That means the buck stops with you.

You Are Here sign

Image by Choko

This is a principle Andy Andrews talks about in his book The Traveler’s Gift.

The main protagonist asks:

Why Me?

He’s then given the answer. Every choice he’s made has led him to his current situation. His choice of:

  • schools to attend
  • companies to send resumes
  • company he worked for
  • where and what to eat
  • staying with the company when he could have retired early

Each choice led him closer and closer to this point in his life.

Much like the 20 mile march, each choice brought him closer and closer to his final destination. Each choice he had an active part in choosing.

The same is true with you. Every decision you make, whether or not you consider it a choice, brings you to your current reality.

When we begin to realize this, we discover that the buck stops with you and I. We’re the reason we’re where we are.

I am where I am today – mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially – because of the decisions I have made. My decisions have always been governed by my thinking. Therefore, I am where I am today – mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially – because of the of how I think. Today I will begin the process of changing where I am by changing the way I think.
-Andy Andrews in The Traveler’s Gift

Now, if we want to get out of where we’re at and move to a better life we need to change. We need to begin changing the way we think.

We need to see that the choices we’re making are part of our thought process. And focus our choices in the direction we think we want to go.

Want to get out of debt? Begin thinking about the choices you make in regards to what and where you will eat, paying for cable, or the fancy car you drive.

Want to get lose weight? Change your thinking about healthy living. Make choices to run, bike, or eat healthy foods.

Want to quit drinking? Decide to hang out with people who encourage you to stay sober or choose not to go to the bar.

Every choice has a thought behind it. That thought can change your life.

Are you tired of where you’re at?  Think differently and you’ll move in a new direction.

Remember: The buck stops with you!

Every choice you make has an end result.
— Zig Ziglar

Question: If you changed your thinking, how could it change your life? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Love this one Joe!! We share a love for Andy Andrews, this book “The Traveler’s Gift” is one that I could read over and over again. Something that goes along with this for me is indecision. I have to be very careful to not become indecisive when making choices.

    You may recall Decision #3 from Andy’s book, I am a person of action. I need that…

    • Glad you enjoyed it Chris! Great point about indecision. If we’re unwilling to decide, it’s harder to take responsibility for our actions. 

      I do recall decision #3. It’s one I need to work on as well. 

      Speaking of the 7 decisions, have you seen the followup/workbook for The Traveler’s Gift called Mastering The Seven Decisions? I’m currently working through it and think it’s been fantastic. 

      • I haven’t tried the Mastering follow up, good suggestion I will check it out!

        • Hope you enjoy it. Andy dives a bit deeper into each decision. If you check it out, please let me know what you think of it.

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  • I like this concept. The only way to make a change in our lives is if we own what happens as a result of our decisions. Life is about consequences. the better our decisions our the more likely we will like the consequences that come.

    • Exactly. And to look back, it’s amazing to see how our choices have shaped our lives. Little things that we thought had no bearing on life brought us in a new direction.

  • In the past few months God has been giving me insight into this topic. I am who I am because of my past. The good decisions as well as the bad. I don’t regret my bad decisions anymore, they helped shape me and if I allow them to, they can be used to God’s glory.
    I chose to use them for God’s glory and not my own self pity.

    Great thoughts.

    • That’s terrific that you’ve been learning the same thing. God makes old things new and all things to work together for His good. 

  • Hi, Joe.  Although I agree with the basic premise that we can somewhat control our own destiny based on our own choices, I have two thoughts:  

    1. Your post rings true, especially for those who are fortunate enough to be in the position to make their own choices.  However, there are millions of people that are afflicted with burdens that hold them back: poverty, addiction, disease, mental illness, etc.  It’s not quite as simple for some of these folks.  

    2. God is also in the equation.  We’ve all heard testimony from people who gave up something productive and profitable because they felt God wanted them to do something else.  I, like you, have been able to live as I choose and have made choices that led me to where I am today.  I believe in the do-it-yourself, pull-yourself-up-by-the bootstraps philosophy as much as the next guy.  However, I also know that some, are not as fortunate from the start.

    • Dan, thanks for your feedback. 

      You mention that there are those that cannot make their own choices due to the burdens that hold them back. Some you mentioned were poverty, drug addiction, etc.. 

      While it may not be simple to break the cycle of addiction or poverty, it started with a choice. Whether it be friends the person associated with, skipping school, or taking that first hit. Choices were made that led them on a new path.

      And I’m with you that God is in the equation. He is ready and able to make all things new again. To redirect paths back into His will.

      • I agree that for some it started with a choice, but I live and teach in a town with a lot of these social problems, and for some they’re born into a family, a community, a system that puts them at an extreme disadvatage form the very start.  I also have seen children of parents that have addictions, mental illnesses, etc. thrust into situations that they are not able to handle.  It is a cycle, but the child of a dire circumstance can’t always break that cycle without some kind of outside help and guidance. 

  • Jeff

    Here is what I would be if I changed my thinking:

    1. I would be physically fit, and this would be a good feeling.2. I would obtain and celebrate a sense of satisfaction from being diligent in my assignments and ordinary tasks.
    3. I would feel cherished and relationally appreciated from being connected with people.
    4. I would find an optimal sense of enjoyment from daily pleasures because of thinking about the all the things that can be enjoyed.

    •  So what’s holding you back from changing your thinking or your actions? Take it one small step at a time. Eventually it all adds up.

      • Jeff

        I’m busy deciding which ones are the two highest priorities. Maybe this confused indecisiveness is what’s getting in the way, and I can’t think of anyone I would want to ask for help.

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