Every choice you make has a direct consequence. The results you have in your life today are largely the result of every choice you have made up to this point. EVERY choice.
Now, yes, some circumstances may be clearly out of your control. I’m not talking about your circumstances. I’m talking about choices. We don’t always get to choose our circumstances (though we often add to or detract from them.) Yet even in the worst of circumstances, we still get to choose who we are and who we will be.
In this regard, I am inspired by Viktor Frankl. You may know that Frankl was a psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor who chose to say yes to life. Between 1942 and 1945, Frankl struggled to survive in the Nazi death camps, where his entire family died. In describing his experiences while a prisoner in four different camps, Frankl concluded that we cannot avoid suffering, but we can move forward if we choose a meaning for it and for our lives.
Now I suspect that many prisoners who wanted to live did, in fact, suffer and die. Frankl’s focus is more on the idea of how anyone actually survived the experience. He was convinced that people who chose meaning for their life, even in extreme suffering, were the people who endured.
Whenever I feel my own suffering, whether physical or emotional, I think of Frankl and all those who were subject to the terror of the Nazi camps. The thought does not at all negate my own concerns, but it does help me to keep everything in perspective. Thinking of Frankl helps me to be more aware of the causes of my misfortune. And as awareness grows, so does the ability to consider alternatives, to make a conscious choice, and to create different results.
There is amazing power in the act of choosing. In every moment we get to choose who we are and how we will act. We have the ability to predict the consequences of those actions. We have the chance in every moment to decide who we are and who we will become. We get to invent the future by creating the results we want.
When you make a choice, you act accordingly and create the result of that action/choice. Yet most of the choices we make are made out of habit, without even thinking about the choice itself or the related consequences. We move through our days living with the results of earlier choices and sometimes wonder how we got here.
Most of the choices we make throughout the day we make without really considering the consequences, because for many of those choices the consequences are minor. Some choices we make without being aware at all, while for most others we give little thought.
You probably didn’t think much about which side of the bed to get out of this morning. If every day you get up from the left side, that’s likely what you did this morning. You probably didn’t consciously think: “Hmmm… which side shall I get up from?” You just moved from habit.
You may have given some thought to which shoes you chose to wear today. Why did you make that selection? Were you looking for comfort, style, or preparing for a mile run? Clearly, the shoes you select each day impact how you will perform that day. So we give some, if little, thought to our shoe selection. Unless, of course, you’re in the fashion industry or some kind of shoe model. For shoe models, shoe selection is a very intentional decision-making process.
Become aware of the choices that you make. Consider how the actions you take based on those choices impact the results you have. If you want to change the results in your life, in your business, you must first practice awareness. You first must make a choice.