To Be Or Not To Be

TO BE
OR NOT TO BE

THAT IS THE CHOICE

THE MASTERY OF MAKING CHOICES EVERY DAY

Our choices make or break us. Full stop. Have a good one and catch you again soon.

OK… l’ll expand, as otherwise this would be the shortest blog post ever. And even though that statement seems so simple and perhaps obvious to you all, it’s in fact the most complex obstacle we all face every day of our lives. I gotta tell you, had I known when I was 15 what I know now about the power we have over our choices and how significantly they impact our lives, I would be much more advanced on my journey than I currently am. But then again, in a way, I’m glad I didn’t – as a journey is just that, a journey through life which we navigate as best we can with the tools we have at the time, over which we (hopefully) learn from our mistakes and adapt to change. In the best of circumstances, throughout our journey, we create the change we want, and in my humble opinion, we do this through our choices.

It doesn’t truly matter what the circumstances are that we find ourselves in, although we’ve become so good at letting them empower us and how we live our lives. Circumstances our entirely out of our control most of the time. Events happen and will continue to take place, the weather is unpredictable (in the UK at least), people will come and go, hurt us, elevate us, love us, lie to us, disappoint us… Traffic will continue to slow us down, the advance of AI and technology will eventually replace us humans (kidding, not kidding), natural disasters will keep surprising and devastating us, someone (maybe you) will win the lottery weekly… You get the point. Not much out there is truly in our control, no matter how hard we try, or how much we feel we are. ‘I just like to go with the flow’ might come to mind. I’ve done this, sometimes still do and perhaps you do too. This is the most subtle and comforting line that helps us to surrender to what the world throws our way. It’s the line that keeps us safe from the risk that comes with change or going against the flow. Realistically, sometimes the flow is perfectly suitable and makes total sense to us if the flow is aligned with our values and wants. Why fix something that isn’t broken? But what happens to us when we ‘go with the flow’ when in fact, we want something else entirely. Perhaps we don’t agree with the flow, maybe we have a different idea. Maybe we could create a better flow, stand up to it, change the course of something… This reminds me of the privileged right we have to vote in democracies around the world, and when we are confronted with the option to vote for who we truly want to lead us but realise they likely ‘won’t win anyway because they’re too unpopular’, and we end up voting for the next best person that kind of ticks some of our boxes (but not all of them), even though there are some things about this person we really dislike. It’s the safer bet and perhaps a good tactic to avoid a tyrant from being voted in and dissolving the democracy in question. This is a version of ‘going with the flow’. We surrender to the circumstances and let them dictate how we live our lives. I’ve heard often that living this way removes stress and avoids confrontation – we all love to please others and just be ‘easy-going’. Almost like there’s an unspoken value in ‘going with the flow’ so as to avoid being a pain in the ass and staying out of the spotlight. I get it, I sometimes go with the flow too – but I can’t help to wonder what I’m leaving on the table: What if I had voted for the candidate that I truly believed in? What if everyone had? What kind of a life would I be leading then?

I make a point to do my best to make choices that serve me. It’s not easy, so much comes into play – our emotions mostly. But also our emotions about our emotions, our goals, our needs, our attitudes, our habits, our beliefs and much more. Truthfully the crux of it all is our choices however. Again, regardless of circumstances, we make choices and those are what write our stories in the stars. The game changer is that we have the choice (ha!) to make better choices. It’s a mindset: What do I want to bring into my life and based on that, how do I go about this specific element of it? And tapping into that mindset is a habit; getting into the habit of questioning our choices more regularly in order to ensure that they serve us as much as possible in that moment, and in the future. We get hung up on previous failures so often, protecting ourselves from making similar mistakes again, so we play it safe and make the easiest choice: to go with the flow. This is a tragedy, to live life based on a fear of exposing ourselves to too much risk that eventually compounds and holds us back from living on purpose and to our full potential. If we understand that, then we’re golden. Only then can we be conscious about the repercussions of our choices and make some powerful decisions that will elevate us. And yes, we are going to make countless further mistakes, but that’s more than okay… mkay? Don’t confuse an ‘informed choice’ with a ‘safe choice’, especially if it’s not aligned with what you want deep down. We make our choices and we live by them (sadly we sometimes regret them), but what if we gave ourselves permission to make the boldest choices and not let them define us, but instead chose to make them part of our journey – which, let’s face it, is often a chaotic, unpredictable, pothole riddled, unforgiving and relentless path anyway. That’s ok – life isn’t easy for anyone (regardless of what you might think, it’s all relative) – as long as we stop and admire the views the journey offer us from time to time, take a rest on the highest peaks, celebrate our efforts, relish in the joys of it, feel gratitude for it and just plain enjoy our time on this planet while we’re here… Yes, I hear ya – it’s not that simple, right? I agree that this is a complex subject matter, but it deserves all of our mindedness and reflection, because it is by addressing our choice-making process that we can identify where we might be letting ourselves down and suggest change within ourselves so that we can live more purposefully and abundantly.

When is the last time you were confronted with a tricky situation – one that the consequences of which bore enough importance to you that it could change your life even in the smallest way – and made a choice that might have been a hard one, but knew deep down that it was the right one to make because it elevated you? This takes massive cojones, and so if you can recall such a moment in the recent past, I suggest you take a second to celebrate yourself (yes, again if you have already) and take stock in this moment about how impactful your choice-making was in that moment. Did it change your life for the better? At the very least, did you learn something valuable that you can take with you on the rest of your journey? I bet you did, amigo.

So, in case it’s not clear – our choices make or break us, in every way, all the time. We can get away with small poor choices (there are no bad choices by the way, just poor ones – they may have been a great choice for someone else), but we have to put up with the big poor choices forever.

You have a choice every time you get up in the morning. You have one every time you have a fight with a loved one. You have one every day at work, in your business, or talking to your boss. You have one when you put food in your mouth. When you raise a child. When you pass a stranger in the street. When you sit down for an interview. When you reflect on your day. In your self-talk and how you treat yourself. In your relationships, in your goals, in your reactions, in your beliefs, in your preferences, in your free time, in how you treat others, in how you let others treat you, in setting boundaries, in standing up for something or someone, in what you say and don’t say, in your actions and in your values… You have a choice EVERYWHERE, ALL OF THE TIME.

When my Dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given 3 months to live in 2008, he made a choice – he lived 15 more years.

When my Mom lost the love of her life last winter, she made a choice about how to live on and keep showing up for herself.

When my alarm rings at 5.05am every morning of the week, I make a choice about what matters to me.

When my brother stands up for the people he loves and shows loyalty no matter what, he does that purposefully out of choice.

When my sister overcomes her fears time and time again or when she makes times for her family, she faces a choice to make those things happen.  

When my wife shows up for my kids and I with a smile on her face like the superhero she is and rarely complains about her struggles, she makes that very conscious choice.

Whenever someone trains and completes a marathon or a triathlon, they succeed because of the choices they make on that journey.

When someone flips the script and begins to believe in themselves and shuts down the noise that was holding them back for so long, they make choices to get there.

Choices are what become us and we become our choices. It is within our power (and we have very little power over anything else in this world) to live the life we deserve, but it will seldom be easy or obvious… it is through the choices we make on our journey that we keep moving forward or not. Therefore, our choices are ultimately our responsibilities. It is not good enough to shrug our shoulders and declare that we prefer to go with the flow. It is not good enough to throw away the impact of our choices and relinquish the power we have to make a difference in our very own lives, and by extension in the lives of those closest to us. It is not good enough to settle for safety and poor choices. Not if you want to live abundantly and leave behind a legacy you‘ll be proud of. If you’ve read this far, something tells me you want abundance and consistent purpose. Something tells me you’re curious about how to show up better for yourself and others in your life. Something tells me you’re thinking about your choices on your journey. Something tells me you’re about to make some beautiful and bountiful ones. Am I right?

It’s up to you. You can be the master of your choices and therefore your life… so what will it be?

I’m on the fence about whether or not I should include more in this blog here, but I choose not to 😉

So, on that note, I’m out. Until next time, champ!

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