Editorials by Robert Kirwan

There Are Two Primary Choices In Life: To Accept Conditions As They Exist, or Accept Responsibility For Changing Them

There are certain things you stumble across in this life that hit you like a brick. A few weeks ago I saw the quotation above and it almost knocked me over. It was on one of those days when I was questioning whether or not I was making any difference at all in the things I was doing. Everyone has those days once in a while and they can really drag you down. As soon as I saw that quotation I felt much better and was absolutely certain that I was on the right track. For you see, there really are only two primary choices in life. Most people simply accept conditions as they exist, but there are others who get out there and "do" something to effect change. We all know people who have accepted responsibility for changing unacceptable conditions. They usually face many obstacles and resistence, but they continue to challenge the status quo and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

A community like Valley East needs strong, dedicated people who will accept responsibility for changing conditions. Thirty one years ago, when I first came to this town, we were a community of young adults with enormous amounts of energy. We took on many challenges and forged a spirit that turned us into the fastest growing town in the Regional Municipality of Sudbury. People simply did not accept undesirable conditions and stepped forward to make sure that they were changed for the better.

When I began working as the Marketing Manager of the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre for Val Mazzuca in the Spring of 2004, many people asked me how I was able to get along with him. Val is known as a hard-nosed, extremely demanding businessman who has a low tolerance for others who get in his way. When I read the above quotation the other day, it immediately became clear why the two of us get along so well. And the more I get to know about the history of this man, the more I realize that he is a man whose philosophy of life can be summed up by that very quotation. Val Mazzuca realized at a very young age that there are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or to accept responsibility for changing them. He has always accepted responsibility for changing them.

I also realized that this too, was a philosophy I adopted very early in my life. I guess I get along so well with Val Mazzuca because he and I both have a "vision" of the potential of the community of Valley East. There are some conditions that cannot be accepted and must be changed. There is also a great deal of resistence when you try to change things, but you must never let this resistence stop you from pursuing your goals.

Why else would a 74-year old man take on an expansion project at a mall like the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre? Why else would he spend seven days a week making sure that his shopping centre is one of the cleanest and most comfortable malls around? Why else would he spend money helping to promote community groups and displaying items like a centennial quilt?

Why? Itís because he will never accept conditions as they exist. He realizes that someone has to accept responsibility for changing these conditions. He knows that Valley East can be better than it is today and he is willing to do whatever he can to make it better.

We have different styles; we come from different backgrounds; but we have both a common vision and are both willing to face the challenges that come up along the journey. 

I guess that is why we get along so well.


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