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To Be or Not to Be? Is That the Question?

September 9, 2010

Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet asks the existential question, “To be or not to be?” as he agonizes over whether to fight and probably die confronting a far more powerful foe, or to acquiesce and suffer humiliation and torment at the hands of his adversaries.

Few of us face such dramatic dilemmas. We do, however, face risks, choices, and opportunities — and the decisions we make shape our future. There may be a safe path, a risky path, and perhaps a middle course.

Our choices often have to do with which path to pursue, or whether to act or not to act.

Opportunities present themselves all the time; sometimes, however, we may not see them. When we do notice them, we must decide whether to pursue them – and take a risk, knowing that we may succeed or experience setbacks.  What we do and how we do it reflects who we are and what we value.

When we add “values” to the equation, perhaps another question to ask is, “How to be or how not to be?”

Some people are paralyzed by indecision. Others are reckless, and take big, unnecessary risks. (Many teenagers, for instance, are very decisive but have poor judgment.) Judgment and willingness to take reasonable risks are perhaps the keys to finding and pursuing a route that has challenges but also requires skill, energy, and persistence to produce desired results.  Of course, luck and timing may also affect outcomes for good or ill. Some things are beyond our control and influence. How we pursue our course, responding to good fortune and bad, reflects on our character.

I hope this pondering is food for thought. Perhaps my musings will lead you to ask yourself, “What are the best questions for me?”

Steve Weitzenkorn


Steve Weitzenkorn, Ph.D., is a learning innovator, organizational advisor, experienced facilitator, and lead author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 9, 2010 5:08 am

    I have noticed it’s when I’m most awake and aware that the most opportunities seem to arise. No small coincidence. You are right, Steve – they were there all along. But if we’re not prepared to see them, they become transparent, and we walk right past them. Nice thought for the day!

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