“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
“The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.”
I overslept, until 5:30, so I’m a little rushed this morning. That just means I have to work quickly and well. I’m always glad to be here. The early morning is my favorite time of the day. It’s the time when I can be alone with God and my writing before the world and all my responsibilities come rushing in.
Instead of the word “responsibilities” I almost wrote the word “demands.” But that would make it seem as if I had no choice, as if I were a slave or in prison. But there are no demands on me, only responsibilities. In fact, even “responsibilities” is not the best word. What I actually have facing me today and every day are choices. The life I have today, the good and bad, the things I like and don’t like, are not only the result of my choices, they are my actual choices.
For so many years I felt trapped in certain situations. I felt trapped by obligation or lack of money or fear or the approval of others or the fear of consequences. Finally, I realized that the real trap was the way I was thinking. Fear was the trap and it was an incredibly strong and powerful one until I realized it was only as strong and as powerful as I let it be.
I’ve often said that the only two choices we have in life are our actions and our attitudes. There’s some truth to this, especially in regard to choosing the attitude. Attitude really is everything.
For example, right now, some loud machine is humming right outside my widnow and I don’t know what it is and why it needs to be so loud or be on at this time of the morning. I want to shut it off because it’s really annoying, as are most loud noises to me. But the power of attitude allows me to accept that it’s there and put on some headphones. Choosing my attitude helps free me.
I forget that I choose my actions as well. I choose 90% of what happens to me on a daily basis. No, I can’t choose the weather or the traffic or what others do. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I choose so much of what happens in my life.
For better or worse, I have chosen the following:
· All, yes, all my relationships, the ones I like and the ones I don’t like.
· My financial situation.
· My health and physical shape.
· My job.
· My home, car and other material possessions.
· What I do or don’t do with my time.
I choose all these things and I can un-choose them as well. I’m not saying it would be easy or quick, or that there wouldn’t be consequences and rewards, but all choices are made in a moment. It may take minutes, days, weeks, months or even years to arrive at a decision, but the actual decision is made in a moment. The only decision that takes an interminable amount of time is the decision to make no decision at all. The decision to allow myself to be trapped by fear takes up all my time, sometimes for years, until I make an actual decision. William James said, “When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice.” I disagree. Making no choice is hell because it leaves us nowhere.
Really, that’s it. If I don’t like my life, or any part of it, if I don’t like the actions I am taking on a daily basis, then I need to choose something else. Until then, I find it pointless to complain about anything. I have the power to change all of it.
I also have the power to be grateful for all that is in my life as well, even the things I want to change. In this way, my mind is free to make new choices.
That’s it. I Get Started, I Keep Going and I make my choices…without complaint.