Copyright 2006 David Steele
“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.” — Khalil Gibran
Our life works and can be full of joy when we make effective choices. Our life can be full of sorrow if we make ineffective choices. Chooser vs. Victim
As a child, choices were made for me and I had little power over what happened to me. This is normal for children, but when we take this attitude as adults I call it being a “victim.”
The opposite of being a victim is to be “The Chooser.”
The concept of choice is remarkable, and that we have choices I consider to be a fact. Though in my life, I’ve forgotten this fact many times when I was impulsive or reactive. I find it challenging to take responsibility for my failures and pain as being the result of my own choices. I want to blame my boss, my ex-wife, the other driver, my parents; and for awhile I did.
I’ve had many wake-up calls that acting out of ignorance or impulse doesn’t absolve me of responsibility for making a bad choice.
When I was sixteen, a new driver, and got a ticket for making a U-turn across a double-yellow line I told the cop honestly that I didn’t know it was against the law, and felt it grossly unfair that he ticketed me anyway.
I fought the ticket in traffic court and lost. My only defense was “I didn’t know! I didn’t mean to break the law!” The judge told me ignorance was not an excuse for breaking the law. That was one of my first wake-up calls that as an adult, I would be held accountable for my choices even if they were unconscious. Scary thought.
We live in a victim culture. It’s usually the other guy’s fault that we go to war, get into a car accident, lose our money in stocks, get a divorce. While victim-hood might make us feel better and in the right, it also makes us helpless and perpetuates our problems.
The Law of Attraction
What do you want? A fulfilling life and relationship? A loving family? Success in your work? Peace in the world? I’ve learned that to get what you want you must BE THE CHOOSER.
Being the chooser means taking the initiative to create what you want, taking full responsibility for your outcomes, and making your choices mindful of their long-term consequences.
There is a law of the universe as powerful as the law of gravity that helps choosers and brings suffering on victims. It’s called the “Law of Attraction.” Just like “what goes up must come down;” “what is inside shows up on the outside,” “energy follows attention,” and “what you believe you can achieve.”
If you believe you don’t have a choice, you won’t.
If you shove responsibility for your choices and outcomes outside of yourself, the law of attraction will try to teach you to take responsibility by repeating the lesson over and over until you get it.
This is the origin of crime, war, and most other sources of human suffering.
I want to be happy and fulfilled. I want you to be happy and fulfilled. I’ve learned that happiness comes from within, by taking responsibility as an adult for my choices and outcomes. I’ve learned that I need to be “The Chooser” in my life and my heartfelt desire is that I can inspire you to be The Chooser as well.
Be The Chooser
We have the knowledge and technology to create a wonderful life for ourselves and society for our children. Most of our social problems, such as crime, war, poverty, violence, disease, divorce, homelessness, and more, is the result of ineffective choices. Unfortunately, these social problems will continue as long as people believe they don’t have a choice about them.
Choosers know what they want and how to get it. In charge of their lives, Choosers take responsibility for what happens. Being a Chooser takes a certain amount of confidence and effort, but anyone can be one! Being The Chooser means taking initiative for your outcomes: you are in charge of creating what you want in life. You do not restrict yourself to what or who chooses you.
Very often, we are not aware of the range of choices available to us. We are often unaware of our power to choose, and of the true power of our choices. We might make choices unconsciously, reactively or impulsively. We might be unaware of the long-term consequences of our choices.
A.I.M. To Be The Chooser
Step 1: Be AWARE that you have choices
You are never stuck! You always have choices, even if you don’t know what your choices are. Don’t allow impulse or lack of information to result in a poor choice.
Step 2: IDENTIFY your choices
Always assume there are more choices than you are aware of. Seek to identify a variety of the choices available to you, mindful that you don’t know what you don’t know. Identify productive choices and don’t settle for unproductive choices.
Step 3: MAKE productive choices
Use all the information available to you to make the best choice possible to achieve the outcome you desire. Evaluate a choice based upon the likely long-term consequences of that choice.
If you want to be the Chooser, here are some things you have control over and can DO (remember- CRAPGAP):
* BE CREATIVE: Seek new ideas and opportunities beyond the immediate past and present
* BE A RISK TAKER: Accept rejection and failure as part of life, and don’t take it personally
* BE ASSERTIVE: Ask for what you want, and say “no” to what you don’t want
* BE PROACTIVE: Don’t merely react to events, or habitually wait for things to happen
* BE GOAL-ORIENTED: Clearly define and vigorously pursue your goals
* ASSUME ABUNDANCE: Believe there will always be plenty of opportunities and resources
* BE POSITIVE: Always anticipate success
Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously.
If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life.
You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself. — Senator Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah)