The Power to Choose
The greatest power of human beings is not their ability to think, speak, to plan or to build. No. It is their capacity to choose. The power of choice is the greatest power we possess. Our day-to-day choices make us or break us.
Every day we make zillions of choices. We choose what to eat, what we say or don’t say, when to sleep, and where we work. We choose our friends, associates and spouses, clothing, hairstyles, and the furnishings in our homes. We choose our interests, level of commitment, our exercise routine, and what we do for fun.
Most importantly, we choose what goes on inside our minds, as our mental process is the foundation of all we do in life. We choose our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, as well as how we see ourselves and the world around us. Here is where choice is paramount. To sustain a life that is full of wonderful things, a life worth living, we must maintain positive thoughts, beliefs that are true and life-supporting and a strongly optimistic attitude. Seems daunting? Not really. It’s just a matter of choice.
Given that so much power lies within the choices we make, it’s very important to reflect on whether the choices we make are bringing the results we want. If not, we have the power to change them! Life will be most optimal when we learn to make “healthy” choices. Healthy choices are choices that support our well-being and the well-being of others. Making healthy choices means selecting what nourishes us and what will bring forth positive experiences, expansion, ease and joy. It means choosing thoughts, words, actions and relationships that work, that make our lives better.
Healthy choices are not always easy. Sometimes it’s difficult to eat healthy while everyone around us eats junk food. Sometimes it’s difficult to take time out for ourself when our family members have so many needs. Sometimes it’s even difficult to choose having a healthy relationship with our “self” over continuing an unhealthy relationship with someone who brings us down.
Choosing what’s healthy is not always easy, but in the long run, it can transform our lives from a pain-filled existence to a delightful day-to-day dance, from a nightmare to a joy-filled reality. Recognizing and exercising our power to choose is the foundation of personal empowerment and to Walking Tall through life.
An Important Distinction
“If only tomorrow morning, I could wake up like Tom Hanks in the movie Big, sprouted overnight to five and a half feet tall! Then my life would be good. Then I could be happy.” Several years ago, I listened as these words tumbled out of my mouth. It was not easy to admit, but it was true for me. This was a belief, and I had chosen it. That day, sitting with a teacher of mine, he gently pointed out that my frustration level might be a lot lower, and my success level a lot higher if I made a distinction between the things I actually can change and the things I cannot change. He assured me my life would improve significantly if I choose to focus on the things I actually can change. He helped me wake up to the fantasy I was believing– that I would one-day be like the guy in the movie Big and poof! — all my problems would be gone. “You cannot choose your height”, he stated. “But what you can choose, what you can change, are your beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, connection to spirit, and so much more.”
This clarification was a true turning point in my life, where I saw the importance of distinguishing between the things that I honestly cannot change, and the power of focusing on changing the things I can change. Since then I’ve come to understand that I had to work diligently to accept the things I cannot change, like my height. And also worked diligently to change the things I can change, things like my appearance, skills and education.
It’s true that we cannot change who our family members are, but we can change who our friends and associates are. We may not be able to change that we have an illness, but we can change our daily health practices. In most cases, we can’t change our disability, but we can increase our skills, talents, and education. We can choose to turn our focus off what we cannot do and on to what we can do; off what we don’t have and on to what we do have. Many times we can’t change the pain our loved ones endure, but we can sit and be with them, extend compassion, and remind them they are loved. We can’t control how people respond to us, but we can choose how we respond to them.
Some people think certain situations cannot be altered, like our innate intelligence. True or not, you can always choose to learn more, work and study harder, apply yourself with more focus and commitment. You can choose to persist. If you experience oppression and prejudice, you can go where less exists– change your locality. If you don’t like the way you look—change what you can change! Get a new hairstyle. Get new clothes that flatter you. Lose some weight. Learn how to apply makeup so it enhances your beauty. Choose to take time every day to close your eyes, look inside your heart and recognize your innate magnificence. Then let your beauty shine from the inside out. These are all things we have access to through the power of choice.
No matter what our situation in life, there are always more things that we can change than things we cannot change. We have the power of choice available to us in innumerable areas of life. We all can choose a healthy attitude, life-supporting thoughts, words and actions and then watch our lives lighten-up and even shimmer. You have the capacity to achieve a life beyond your wildest dreams simply through exercising your greatest power: the power of choice. Yes, the choices we make certainly allow us the opportunity of WALKING TALL!