Life is a reflection of Choices

I use to think life was predetermined or that we all had a fate. I had the thought process of what’s meant to be will be what’s not won’t. And although I still believe this to be true, I don’t believe it is completely true. My thought’s on life are shaped and reshaped daily. I am forever growing, changing, and evolving. This, to me, is what leads to wisdom, enlightenment, and peace. I recently had a growth spurt, and my view on life shifted. I have come to believe that life is simply several choices being played out in reality. Each choice that I make leads to another set of choices, that ultimately leads to my reality. Think of it as a movie, choices is the script, life is the movie, and you are the director, The director writes the script and the script determines the movie. You make the choices and the choices determine your life.

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I recently read the book The Other Wes Moore. It was a well written and fascinating story about two young men who share the same name, similar backgrounds, grew up in similar neighborhoods, yet one is serving a life sentence in prison while the other one was a Rhodes Scholar. While reading this book, it was interesting to see how each one of their choices lead them to their current realities. They were each faced with several life changing choices and their decisions shaped their fate. You often hear people say, “I was dealt a bad hand” this saying holds truth. There are many people who are simply dealt a bad hand in life, however how they play that hand can determine how the game ends. We don’t always get to choose our cards, but we get to choose how we play those cards.  What I took away from this book is that my current situation is an outcome of the choices I have made both good and bad. My life is a reflection of my choices. There are some choices I regret making and some that bring me joy, however, every single one of those choices lead me to this exact moment. To remove or change any of those choices would certainly change the movie. While this idea may explain why many people suffer from depression and have regrets do to their past choices, it also gives us hope in understanding that with every new day comes an opportunity to change our future. Understanding the power choices have on our lives makes me take pause. The good news is, if you don’t like where your life is going, you don’t like the script you can change it! With one little choice your entire life can be set on a new path.

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When I look at my children, especially my babies, the joy, thrill, and new expectations they have for every single day, it becomes clear to me on what I could experience with every new day. Waking up every day with no regrets from yesterday, because today will bring new opportunities, new choices, new direction, and a chance to course correct can be liberating and freeing! There is freedom in knowing that life offers us new chances every single day to get it right. In order to fully enjoy this gift you must be mindful in your present moments. Taking each and every choice seriously and using great thought. To take a choice for granted can be detrimental, because that choice may ultimately be your last choice. Here is another analogy (for those that love analogies). It’s like a game of chess, you have many choices in the beginning of the game, but with each choice comes either more choices or fewer choices. As you continue to play, if you continue to make bad choices, one of those moves are going to be your last moves because you will have nowhere else to go. That one move became your fatal move your last choice. Knowing and understanding this, you must be direct in your choices. One more analogy! Life is a journey. We are going along for the ride and on the road we will come to lights, stop signs, crossroads, and many other traffic situations that require us to make a choice. How we choose, and what we decide to do will ultimately determine our destination. If you can make conscious choices while enjoying the journey, life will certainly be good.

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Compromising Yourself

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Have you ever been faced with a major life decision? I am sure you have if you are over the age of 10!  Making tough decisions is a hard thing to do, however, it is even more difficult when we begin to consider other people and how they will view our decision. When we start to take other people into consideration when facing a difficult or major life decision  we begin to compromise ourselves. Let me explain. I am not speaking of the will affect others in your life. When faced with these types of decisions, it is important to discuss them with those that they will affected. I am speaking of the decisions that will only affect your well being and your future. What I have found, and have even found myself do, is that we will think about how others will view our decision before we begin to decide how the decision will affect us.

Let’s use the example of starting a business vs going to college. Many times, people will look at the latter and say well if I don’t go to college then people will look down on me, they will think I am uneducated, my parents may get upset with me, my friends may not want to be my friends anymore. These are the things they begin to weigh in their head. Often times, all the things you have taken into consideration are about other people, and not about you. Everything in your heart could be saying start that business, however, because it is against the grain ‘outside the box’ it couldn’t possibly be the right thing to do. After weighing all the pros and cons or what I like to call the selves and norms, you realize the pros or selves outweigh the cons or norms. It was very difficult to come to this decision, and now you are pondering with the idea of delivering this message to the world. What most people do is they begin to formulate ‘explanations’ in their head on why they went with the latter. This way when you deliver the message you can have a valid reason on why you are making this particular decision. This is a lot of WORK, and more so unnecessary WORK. Why must you compromise yourself in order to make others feel comfortable? Imagine what would happen if you stopped compromising yourself. What would that look like, feel like, be like? Here is a hint AMAZING!

You’re probably thinking, how do I do that? Simple stay true to you! You are the person that has to live with the decisions you make, therefore, the first step is to way the selves and the selves. What the heck does that mean Tanyell? That means when you are faced with a major decision ask yourself how will this effect me negatively and how will this effect me positively. You are taking everybody else out. This isn’t about what will my mother think. Who cares!? Your mother is living her life and has lived her life, now you have to live yours. And let’s be honest unless this decision involves you hurting yourself or someone else, your mother or anyone else for that matter should love you regardless. They may not agree and they aren’t obligated to agree, but they should still love, respect, and support you. So, step one weigh the selves and selves. 

The second step is ask yourself is this something I will be ok with if I never ever get the chance to do it and is this a once in a lifetime opportunity? What are you talking about Tanyell? Well, let’s use our example of college. If you choose to start a business and skip going to college, will you be 100% ok with the idea of never going to college. The second part to that question is, is this your only opportunity to go to college? You would apply this same question to starting a business. Take an athlete for example. You have some athletes that draft out of college, their thought process is playing professionally is a once in a lifetime chance, I will regret it if I don’t, and I can always go back to college. So, step two can you live without it, is this a once in a lifetime thing. 

The third step to stop compromising yourself is release explanations. Don’t I owe people an explanation Tanyell? Negative! You do not owe anyone an explanation on how you are living your life (unless that person is your lifeline). This only applies to those who are self sufficient and self sustained. Now that we have that little side note out of the way let us move on. When you are paying your own bills and taking care of yourself independently, you do not need to explain to anyone the reason behind your decision making. You know what is best for you and how something will affect your life. Outsiders are simply looking in from where, the outside. Sure, it’s nice to have another perspective but ultimately the decision is yours. When you begin to come up with rationalizations on your decisions, you are compromising your truth. The explanation is simple because I want to, it makes me happy, this is who I am, this is my belief, and so on. 

Step three release explanations.

     This only applies to people who are self sufficient and self sustained!

The most important thing to remember is in the end we have to live with us and all of our decisions. If you make a decision based on someone else, they may go on with their lives happily while you are left miserable. Remember society doesn’t have to live with your decision, you do. In the end no one is responsible for your happiness or success except you, therefore it is your job to provide yourself with the tools to do that and unless the tools/resources you are deciding to use are hurting yourself or someone else, you do not owe anyone an explanation on your decision making. No one said life outside the box was easy, but there is certainly more room to be free to be you.