Tell me that the earth isn’t round and I won’t argue with you. Tell me that there are twenty-five hours in each day and I won’t argue with you. Tell me that money does, in fact, grow on trees and I, once again, won’t argue with you. But tell me that you “don’t have a choice” and I’ll go the mat with you.
I simply cannot bear it when I hear people willingly relegate themselves to this powerless position and out and out lie! And that’s because YOU ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE.
Yes you do.
Oh I understand that there are times when the circumstances of life seem to be offering you nothing but crappy choices. I’ve been right there for sure. But please don’t make the mistake of missing the one big truth in those circumstances – you still have the privilege of choosing the least crappy option – and IT IS YOUR CHOICE TO MAKE. Just because you don’t have a “good” choice, a choice that is “easy” or “clear,” doesn’t negate the fact that you do, in fact, have a choice.
You always have a choice.
Try telling the person who has a late-stage disease, who has lost their ability to walk and every hair on their head and yet shows up and spreads love and encouragement everywhere they go that they don’t have a choice. Go ahead and get yourself ready for that conversation with them. Or better yet, look them in the eye and tell them your story about how life has gotten the best of you and now has offered you no choice. If you do, my money is on them.
My money is on them not because you’ll be comparing your pain or struggle with theirs and yours is lesser. Not at all. In the pain and struggle world there really isn’t a score card, just a very real experience that is never exactly the same between two people. So this is not about comparing your circumstances. This is about taking responsibility for choosing your responses to your circumstances.
No matter your experience with crappy circumstances, pain and struggle, you always have a choice of how you will respond and what you will do next.
This bothers me so much because when you believe that you don’t have a choice, you believe that your life is not your own. You take on the role of spectator and bystander in your life and life happens to you.
From there, your story is that whatever happens to you is out of your control and from that place, you believe that it doesn’t matter what you do next. In short, you become a victim of your circumstances.
You become that because you choose that. Even if the choice is an unconscious one, it’s still a choice. That’s why saying you don’t have a choice is an out and out lie. You do and you are making it. Like it or not.
Tough words, right?
Well they might be tough but they are certainly true.
When you say you don’t have a choice, you are making yourself a victim and from there you are giving yourself permission to stop taking responsibility for what happens in your life. You are telling yourself that what you do next doesn’t matter and that’s the most dangerous of all places to be.
What you do next matters is a lot more than a tagline to me. It’s a way of showing up in your life believing that while you cannot control a lot of what happens in life, you can always, always choose how you will respond to what happens. That’s powerful.
You can always choose who you want to be in any circumstance. And it’s the particularly hard circumstances that show you who you really are.
Oh my goodness, what you do next matters, and it’s your choice to make.