Sunday, March 26, 2006

Choices

Ever asked why? Why you do something? Why things turn out the way they do? Why you’re overweight, afraid to try that new idea, constantly holding yourself back from achieving everything you were ever meant to achieve? Could the answer to “why” be simply your choice?

Perhaps it is the change of seasons as we move once again to Spring with the promise of Summer nearby but I’ve been thinking much lately of how everything really does boil down to the choices that we each make. Nearly every waking moment we are making choices and the power that goes with the act of choosing often goes unnoticed. The simple fact that each of us always has a choice to make in our personal sphere, our relationships with others, and even in our career aspirations is a source of power that is far too often ignored or bemoaned as if it didn’t exist.

For instance, I know I’m overweight. No matter how you read the charts, I’m overweight by more than a few pounds [optimistically, I could say that I’m not overweight just too short for my size but that’s a choice of words I won’t use]. Of course, I know it would be convenient to blame my family genes and chalk my overweight state up to so and so’s thunder thighs or that other person’s big beer belly. It would also be convenient to blame the hurried schedules and pressures of modern society as the reason for my being overweight. However, I know that my personal battle of the bulge really comes down to a personal choice. I choose to be overweight even though such a choice seems illogical. I know this is a choice because no one ever forced a single bite of food into my mouth when I didn’t choose to accept it. And no one ever held me down in bed to keep me from exercising. Thus, it is by my choices of intake (food) and burn rate (lack of exercise) that I end up being overweight by choice.

Relationships; as the Jimmy buffet songs says, “we all have them, we all want them” but the real question is whether or not we make the choices necessary to develop them in the manner we desire. Late for dinner again? Did you choose properly? Wonder why none of those friends you haven’t talked to in years and years aren’t calling you all the time? Have you chosen that result even if it's by default? We all know that relationships must be cultivated and fed and we understand what happens when relationships are neglected. Do we recognize however that it is the choices we make leading up to the point of neglect that delivers the results we may or may not desire. Traffic is always heavy on those roadways. There is always more work to do. How we choose to respond determines the results we receive.

And what about the work-a-day world. Do we bemoan that curmudgeon of a boss and loathe the day-to-day tasks we get paid to perform? Isn’t it a choice we make when we stay put instead of seeking a new environment better suited to our nature? Do we really want to do something different but decide to stay because of a million different reasons? Do we recognize that such a decision even if the reasons are perfectly valid is still a choice we make? If so, can we recognize the power in our choice?

Yes, everything we do boils down to the choices we make. It may be easier to point to other circumstances that gave us “no choice” but to do so is to err as there is always a choice. Granted sometimes the choices in front of us are not ones we would wish to choose among. They are choices though and therefore we have some form of control over the situation even if our first instinct is to throw up our hands and grumble that there is no choice. Believing in choice and recognizing the inherent power in exercising your choice is an important path we should all be walking.

After all, maybe it isn’t the change of season but rather a choice I’ve actually been making to think about the power of choice and to remind myself to investigate those areas of my life that are not where I wish them to be and then to ponder what choices I’m making or not making that keep me from achieving those goals. And by the way, remember that there is no need to figure things out in advance. There is only the need to choose and then choose again. To paraphrase an old saying, choose to go as far as you can see and then you’ll see further choices for you to consider.

Happy choices!