The Gift of Choice

This post is the first in a series of posts on choices, how and why we make them. The later posts are on the 3Cs of Choice and what motivates our choices.

All human beings are given a fantastic gift: Choice. Having the ability to choose allows us to change and manipulate our environment in order to survive.

Animals live out of instinct - innate and usually fixed patterns of behaviour that are activated in response to certain stimuli. They live in and around nature, becoming part of it. Human beings, on the other hand, can make choices about how to adapt their environment, which means that we can live in a wider range of conditions than any other species on earth, from Antarctica to the Sahara. We've even been to the moon!

From the moment we begin to reason as small children until the day we die, we live our lives from one choice to another. No matter what hand we were dealt with as children, as adults, we have the freedom to make our own choices about how to live and who we want to be. The big problem is that many people blame others for the hand they were dealt, rather than taking control and choosing a better way for themselves.

When you blame or take things personally, you inadvertently give your power away, allowing the words, deeds or actions of others to hurt you. When you choose to ignore or allow harmful words to slide past you like water off a duck's back, then you are claiming your own power to choose.

Focusing on a bad thing that is happening now, or that happened in the pas, means that you relive it over and over in your mind, creating a downward spiral that doesn't help anyone.

Looking for solutions instead means that we are able to overcome most problems and move on. This is not to minimise the effects of the sometimes brutal backgrounds people have lived through. Rather, the place to focus on is "where to from here? Given who I am and where I have come from, who do I want to be? How do I become that person?"

There are two catches to having choice:

  1. We need to accept the consequences of our choices; and
  2. We have to acknowledge that other people also have free choice.

Others' choices may go against ours, to the point where they may choose behaviours that hurt us. This does not mean that you have to accept the behaviours that come out of others' bad choice. However, how we deal with those actions and react to them though, is our own choice. Learning how to make better choices is a life long journey.

There are 5 ways in which we make choices:

  1. Suddenly and in reaction to something;
  2. Putting of the choice until something or someone chooses for you;
  3. Not choosing at all;
  4. Letting other make the choice for you; and
  5. Looking through fully at the range of options and then deciding which one gives you the best outcome.

It's pretty clear which one is going to grow the best life for you!

Developing the skill of making decisions using the most effective approach (usually) leads to good choices with good outcomes.

The criteria for making choices should be - do no harm to yourself, other people or property. The best outcome of our choices comes from a place of love, not selfishness.

The Gift of Choice is one of Metanao's five Personal Pillars of Personal Power - which can help you to develop a strong sense of self and develop the skills you need to build a positive life for yourself. If you want to take the first step towards your ideal future, call Sue Geelan on 0439 94 532.

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