You Can Choose!

I’ve grown increasingly interested in how many things we have a choice about. And while I agree that there are many things we can’t choose, there are a lot more things we can choose than we think. Let’s say, my house, for example. Let’s imagine I don’t like my house (hypothetical, because I actually love my house). If my finances are really tight, I may be inclined to think I don’t have the choice to move. But the fact is, I always have the choice to move. I could move into a smaller, cheaper place.

Well, yeah, you may think, but that doesn’t count! Oh? And why not? If I choose to find a new place to live, and continually work toward that decision, I’ll find a new place, and I’ll move there. If I simply want to move into a bigger home, and I choose to do it, I’ll begin adapting my behavior to match that decision. I may develop building skills, and learn over several years how to build a bigger home than I have for less cost.

This goes for behaviors, personal challenges, and attitudes, too. Some studies show that stress is bad for your health. More recent studies show that stress tends to be bad for you only if you think it’s bad for you. The same studies show that those who believe stress is good for them tend to develop powerful stress resilience and grow in the field of that stress. Here’s a powerful TED Talk about this idea:

My point in sharing it here is to say that you can choose your attitude, you can choose your reactions, and you can choose your decisions. If there’s something in your life that you don’t like, think hard about whether or not that thing is really outside of your ability to choose, and make a proactive choice of something to do about it.