Voice Your Choice

voice your choice

Voice your Choice

What are the choices you have made in your life?

What are the choices that you have made in your life? While the choices are too numerous to count or recall, it is easy to view the result of those choices – look in the mirror. You are the living testimony to the choices that you have made. We are each full and active participants in our lives. We happen to life, life does not happen to us. Life is all about choices and taking responsibility to make those choices.

We are responsible for so much of our lives that it is a daunting responsibility. We are responsible for our thoughts, our feelings, our attitudes, our words, our actions and our reactions. We are fortunately, not responsible for the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, words, actions or reactions of anyone else – that is their responsibility.
If you do not take responsibility for what is under your control that is your choice. Even choosing not to decide is your choice. The belief that your life is about chance rather than choice, results in a feeling of victimization and the belief that what befalls us is not under our control. Relinquishing control (in other words pretending that you don’t have control) provides us with the freedom to blame someone or something for anything in which we are not happy. It is a journey which does not lend itself to internal searches for meaning or answers. It is living a life of “Why me?” “You did this to me.” “Why does this always happen to me.” “This was beyond my control.” “He made me do this.” “I said that because she…”

Acknowledgment of your ability to choose is empowering. It is also challenging as we must come to grips with how we have chosen to act or react. This acknowledgment of choice – “using your choice voice” – is also your journey to grow and learn, develop and experience. It is what Barbara Fredrickson has said about Positive Emotions, what allows us to “Broaden and Build”. It will give you freedom to open your heart and mind to a bigger world of possibilities.

Of course I am not the first person or even the one hundred thousandth person to suggest that life is about choices. Below are a few other examples:

Victor E. Frankl who lived through the holocaust and the most horrendous circumstances that a person could conceivably endure would certainly be justified in having a negative attitude towards life. Yet, he wrote, “The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a novelist, dramatist, and historian. He was raised by his widowed mother in humble surroundings. In 1945, while serving in East Prussia, he was arrested for writing derogatory comments and anti-Soviet propaganda in letters to a friend about the war. He was imprisoned, interrogated, beaten and then sentenced to an 8-year term in a labor camp where this well-educated mathematician, philosopher and historian worked as a miner and bricklayer. While he developed cancer in the camps, he continued to write stories and poems. During this time Solzhenitsyn repented about some of his own actions in the Red Army and how his choices resulted in where he was. While this could have reasonably been the cause of severe depression, he wrote “A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy.”

William Jennings Bryan was an American politician in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a dominant leader in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and stood three times as its candidate for US President. He served in the congress and as the US Secretary of State. He is also well known as a vocal opponent of Darwinism and evolution; appearing in the Scopes Trial in 1925. Bryan wrote “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

Jim Rohn was an author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He was an Idaho farm boy and college drop-out who worked as a Sears stock clerk for $57 per week. He began a process of personal development and became a millionaire by age 31. He became the mentor for some amazing life coaches such as Tony Robbins, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield and Brian Tracy. Rohn, the author of 17 different books, audio and video programs, wrote “Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.”

John F. Kennedy, the beloved 35th president of the United States, wrote “Things do not happen, things are made to happen.”

Kahlil Gibran was an artist, poet and writer. He grew up in Lebanon under conditions of extreme poverty, and was not being able to afford an education. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time and wrote “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.”

Jean Nidetch was an overweight housewife with a self-confessed obsession for eating cookies. Nidetch experimented with fad diets and then followed a diet clinic regimen before initiating a support group that developed into weekly classes and eventually a large organization called Weight Watchers. Nidetch understood the importance of personal responsibility when she wrote, “It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny.”

I have just listed a few choice quotes. There are thousands. If these quotes don’t speak to you, then find some that do. These were my choices – you can choose others. Let these quotes be your mantra to set you on your personal responsibility journey.

Tonight the sun will set and the day will end. Tomorrow you will wake up and start a new day. Every day that happens there is an unanswered question which needs to be addressed. “How do I want to feel today?” Not only does the answer depend on you, but whether it happens or not only depends on you.