If life was a person, it will be a beautiful, wealthy and controlling Queen, very much aware of her high demand and incapable of loyalty to anyone. Almost everything about life is uncertain. And where life does present certainties, she withholds the power to control it except for one. Life gave us the certainty of choice and with it the power to control it. Quite generous, isn’t she?
From the time we wake up and the time we go to sleep, from the second we were born to the second we take our last breath, life presents us with moments where we have to make a choice. Each choice with its own unique outcome, each outcome capable of birthing another moment for a choice to be made.
Choice after Choice, one decision to the next, our life begin to unfold.
Like each stroke from a painter brush on a canvas, how our life turns out is an aggregate of the choices we made. Some of these choices are made for us, and some we make subconsciously. Like the choice to be born, the choice to live after we were born, and the choice to grow. There are other choices we make more consciously, like the choice not to go late to work, or the choice to get that qualification or the choice to pursue that dream or the choice to start a relationship with that person.
Every moment in our lives, no matter how good or exciting, bad or ugly will present us with a choice. The extent to which we are consciously involved in making that choice will determine the extent of control we have over our lives and by extension determine whether or not we get the life we deeply desire.
Don’t underestimate the small stuff.
The seemingly small decisions happen so often that the ripple effect it causes can eventually create the moment for the big ones. So when next you are faced with a choice to snooze the alarm and sleep in for an extra 10 mins, be more consciously involved in making that choice. This is not to take the fun out of life, but to confront us with the need to take a more deliberate approach to the choices we make.
Being deliberate is not a guarantee that the outcome of our choices will be favorable. In fact, we may be just as susceptible to making mistakes as when were are not so deliberate. But the impact of the outcomes runs deeper when we have been consciously involved in the decision making.
With an unfavorable outcome, we are faced with another moment to choose. Should we wallow in self-pity or identify the lessons to be learnt? Should we seize the opportunity for self-discovery that the outcome presents? Should we search for a better approach and try again? A favorable outcome presents another moment to make a choice. Should we celebrate. If so, how? What lessons did the experience teach us? Should we explore other ways to do it in order to achieve better results? How would we use the proceeds from our success? Should we delay gratification? And so on.
We can only ask ourselves these questions when we know that we are fully responsible for our choices. In cases where there are consequences, they are easier to bear when we are consciously involved in the process. Life will occasionally serve us moments when we have to make seemingly tough choices – there is nothing like ‘sitting on the fence’. Choosing not to make a decision is a choice in itself.
The certainty of choice is a gift, one we have been generously given to control and wield. To understand and accept this is what it takes to master life itself.