When life presents us with unfavorable circumstances it is very easy for people to think they are left with no choice. This can apply to anything — from small household chores, daily errands, office deliverables, to big life decisions like your career path, new job, or even in romantic relationships.
I used to believe that. But after some time, I realized that while people may think they have “no choice”, the reality is, we will always have choices. Even when there is a glass of water on the table, you can choose whether you want to drink it or not, regardless if you’re thirsty or not. Sometimes, it’s just easier to say the magic phrase “I have no choice”, compared to “I will make my choice, and I will be responsible for it”.
Let me get this clear. I’m not saying you would still have a choice for the results of whatever is already done in the past as they may have been a result of other’s choices, but for the things yet to come, you will always have and you are in charge.
You Make Choices All the Time
From the time you wake up, you make small choices and these small choices could lead to bigger ones. You choose if you want to open your eyes already or not, if you want to wear that bedroom slipper as you walk to the toilet, make your bed before preparing for work, or to eat breakfast first or skip it. You choose what to wear, from your top to the shoes that complements it.
Everything you do or the way you do them is actually a choice that you make. As a professional,choices you make include whether you want to report early for work or be late and just attend the next meeting, how you want to be perceived by your boss, or your approach in hitting your targets for the month, quarter, and year.If you feel that your work is stressful, you might think that you have no choice but to stay, because you have bills to pay, though you can always choose to leave and find another one that suits your personality and interest more.
Can you see it? You make choices all the time. Sometimes, you may not recognize that you have a choice because of the way the circumstance presents it. They might be overwhelming at times, to the point where they look like a series of constraints and you don’t feel that you have the influence or control to impact the results.
You are Responsible for the Choices You Make
It’s a matter of owning it. Being responsible for the choices you make means to be in charge, and exercise power over your circumstances to influence the outcomes. That whether the outcomes are favorable or not, you stand by the choices you’ve made and just take the next step to turn it around.
What’s the opposite? It’s when we blame the circumstances or the people involved in the circumstances for the discomfort these choices are causing us. And in that instance, you still have a choice — to believe that it’s someone else’s fault and you are the victim, or to accept it and move on (and make better choices next time).
Recognize that you may not be able to control everything, but there is a small thing you can control that could influence how things would turn out eventually.
Your Choices Matter
No matter how things may seem, you always have a choice and they matter! Only by accepting responsibility for it, can you finally move towards what you want. Stay away from the victim mentality that tells you that you have no power over your situation and recognize that these choices you make impact your life and even the life of others.
In a world where many things seem uncertain, the only thing you can control right-away are the small choices you make day by day. You definitely have goals, a vision for yourself, or even a desire for the life you want to live in the future. Make sure that the small choices you make today lead to these and that you own them. I like how the song in Frozen 2 puts this together…
“I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath
This next step
This next choice is one that I can make
So I’ll walk through this night
Stumbling blindly toward the light
And do the next right thing
And with the dawn, what comes then
When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again?
Then I’ll make the choice
To hear that voice
And do the next right thing”
Lyrics from The Next Right Thing by Kristen Bell for Frozen II