In our previous Wisdom Note, we provided some practical advice for a younger generation. This week we will explore the subject of choice. If you miss any of our Wisdom Notes, please go to the blog to catch previous installments.
Have you ever said, “I have to do this,” or “I need to do that,” or “I have no other option,” or “I have no choice.” This can apply to anything in life, from your reactions to being in a predicament or even looking for solutions to small problems. The most common context I hear this phrase being used in is when people are doing work they dislike. As an example, they remain in the job because they need a stable income to support their expenditures and their family.
While you may think you have “no choice,” I think we would be wise to rethink this phrase when we are prone to use it. All of us always have choices, and we are making them every day, every minute, and every second.
You Always Have A Choice
I agree that you no longer have any choice or influence over what has already happened in the past. Those choices have already been made. However, you always have a choice in how you think, what you say, and what you do from this point forward. To use a gaming analogy, you can’t change the cards you are dealt, but you can change how you play them. Some of the cards that we currently have in our hands may also be the result of how we played them in the past.
Let’s look at an example. Say, you are in an accounting job you dislike. You want to pursue your passion of starting your own business. However, you have financial needs and responsibilities to fulfill to your family, which makes your source of income from your accounting job very important. You are in your current situation, based on your previous choices, so in order to pursue your passion, you must make the choices that will set you on the path that will eventually allow you to achieve that passion.
You may think, “How can there even be a choice? I have to remain in the company. If I don’t continue working here, I wouldn’t have the finances to support my family and pay my bills. Any other options are just not practical.”
Of course, you have a choice, but all choices have consequences. You could quit your job today and pursue your passion. That choice may be irresponsible if your family is dependent on that income. You could choose to stay on for now because you feel the benefits of staying on the job outweigh the benefits of quitting. The choice that you could make in this situation is to downsize your lifestyle for a period of time so you can live on less. You can also choose to start putting money aside now and prepare for a time when you can make the change while still being responsible. This choice may have to be a long-term plan. If it is truly your passion, then it will be worth the wait.
You Make Choices All the Time
We make many choices every day of our life that will impact us. Some choices have become routines or habits, and we do not give them much thought. To change your life, it starts with the small choices that we make each day. Since I know my morning routine better than I know yours, let’s break down the various choices I make on a regular workday. I am nearly 64, so don’t make excuses for yourself. It actually starts the night before.
Choice #1 – Before bed, I always lay out my exercise clothes so I am not stumbling around in the dark the next morning trying to find them. This sets the stage for me to keep my commitment.
Choice # 2 – I wake up at 4:45 am. I usually feel really tired but choose to get up. The snooze button is not an option for me.
Choice # 3 – I go to the bathroom and get dressed for exercise.
Choice # 4 – I exercise for about 90 minutes, which includes 15 minutes of various types of muscle-building exercises and 75 minutes of cardio running on a HIIT training machine.
Choice #5 – I listen to scripture reading, devotional materials, and inspirational podcasts while on the treadmill. (Smartphones are great.)
Choice # 6 – I shower and get dressed for the day.
Choice # 7 – I record my podcast for the next day.
Choice # 8 – I eat a healthy breakfast, which usually consists of a nutritional protein drink or eggs and a handful of baby carrots.
Choice # 9 – I am at my standing desk at 8am ready for the day’s activities.
Although it has become my morning routine and habit, do you see that everything I do each morning is actually a choice? Actions, whether they are benign or life-changing in nature, are all choices we make. When you undertake a certain path in life, it is a choice you make.
Next we will look at the impact and potential consequences of a scenario if I make a different choice #2 and do not get up at 4:45 am. Through this, you will see that there really are no small choices because the accumulation of small choices adds up to very big consequences, both good and bad.
As Proverbs 2:11 tells us, “Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”
Ecclesiastes 10:2 says, “A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one.”
We are continually making choices every moment of every day. Some choices may seem small and insignificant, but the accumulation of those choices may have a great impact on our life and legacy.
As we ponder how you always have a choice, we realize that it really is up to ourselves. Next week we will continue on our trail of choices as we investigate how the impact of one small choice change in my morning routine could have a major impact on my entire life. So, encourage your friends and family to join us, and then come along tomorrow for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.