Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Power of Choice

“Every person has free choice. Free to obey or disobey the Natural Laws. Your choice determines the consequences. Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” (Alfred A. Montapert)

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:14)

The Power of Choice
(Part Two - On Being Mentally Strong)

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) Here it is, another bright, new day and it is complete with 24 hours of opportunities, choices, and attitudes. With this day, as with each new day is a perfectly matched set of 1440 minutes. This unique and unparalleled gift, this one day, cannot be exchanged, replaced or refunded. Handle with care. There is only one to a customer. Now the question is...what are you going to do with it? The choice is yours!

Mentally strong people avoid giving away their power. They choose to take control of their emotions and actions. Those who are mentally strong understand know their strength is in their ability to manage these emotions and then respond, not according to how they ‘feel’, but they choose to move with the right form action, which most of the time, is against how their emotions, or for that matter, how other people’s emotions have tried to persuade them to move.

Every day...every minute of the day, each and every one of us is confronted with a multitude of choices. What’s to eat? Should I eat this or should I eat that? Should we go here? Should we do this or should we do that? Should I even get out of bed today? It is said the average human being has approximately seventy thousand thoughts in one day! Since seventy thousand thoughts is the average, this means some people have more and some have less. But either way, somewhere along the way, with all these thoughts comes a decision. Which thought will we choose to act on? Which thought will we decide is more important than all the other thoughts and make it a priority for THIS moment of THIS day? Then we make the choice and with that choice comes consequences. Sometimes the consequences are good. We have a very productive and profitable day. Then, sometimes, the consequences are not so good. We stay in front of the computer on Facebook or Pinterest and have a very unproductive day. But here is the point! Don’t ever forget who made the choice to focus on that one thought out of the hundreds that were zooming through your brain. We made the choice. We were the one’s who gave THAT particular thought the power for that day in our lives.

There is a saying...”Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Notice, EVERYTHING began with a thought! William Jennings Bryan said, “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
Everything we are now, somewhere long ago in our past, was just a thought, and when the ‘thought’ came to us, we decided to give that thought residence in our mind. It wasn’t long that this thought began to be formulated in our words and then our actions took on the essence of the thought, which our actions began to direct us toward a certain place (which is where we are NOW), because character is the “inherent complex of attributes that determine a persons moral and ethical actions and reactions.” “Every choice you make has an end result.” (Zig Ziglar) So its safe to say, although in a very simplistic way (because the way we think is a habit), if we change how we think, then we will change our world.  Over the years I have witnessed many who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or any other substance, and who they are ‘now’, is rooted in some type of anger that occurred long ago in their past. And only when they decide to take responsibility for that anger are they able to reinvent themselves and move onto a better life. There are many people who believe that you are responsible for only what you do, but not what you think. But, truly, this is impossible, because how can what you do not be connected to what you think? It is only at this level, what and how we think, that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. There is a are not what you think you are, but what you are what you think! Therefore, all choices stem from our thoughts and what we think.

Stephen Covey said, “There are three constants in life... change, choice and principles.” There is no way around these constants. Like gravity, they are natural laws which affect you on a daily basis. You cannot get around change. All of us must be flexible enough to ‘roll with the punches’ that comes with every new day. Sure we can make a choice ‘not to change’ but then, in the end, we will lose our ability to adapt to the ebb of life’s flow and in turn become a stagnant pool of past thoughts and lost dreams. And don’t forget, not making a choice is a choice! As William James said, “When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice.”

“All men and women are born, live suffer and die; what distinguishes us one from another is our dreams, whether they be dreams about worldly or unworldly things, and what we do to make them come about... We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live.” (Joseph Epstein) So today, as like any other day, you have a choice. Sure, like Joseph Einstein said, there are handful of choices we did not have the power to make, and God didn’t ask us to accept this life, but we have it and the question is...what are we going to do with it? The power is in our hands in how we choose to live the life we have. “You always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself.” (W. Clement Stone)

You see, mentally strong people know they are in charge of their choices. They avoid and refuse giving others the power to make them feel bad, inferior, or deficient. A mentally strong person knows their strength lies within their ability to deal with their thoughts and emotions, and then choose to respond the correct way. “Choice of attention - to pay attention to this and ignore that - is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.” (W. H. Auden) I have always said, we have the power to do whatever we want, but we don’t have the power to decide on the consequences of the choice. Yet, a mentally strong person understands that every choice has it’s own connection which is rooted in the DNA of every thought. Bad thoughts (hate, anger, malice) lead to bad actions and bad actions usually lead to bad consequences. Therefore, mentally strong people work quickly to subdue the bad thoughts before they manifest themselves into action, hence destroying the power they may have in the future.

Denis Waitley said, “There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” The choice is OURS! No we can’t go back and change our past choices, but we can learn from the past and change the choices we make now, which in turn, begins to change the harvest of our future. “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice.” (Wayne Dyer) So today, wherever YOU are at in this journey called life, believe it or not, YOU have the power to change your destiny!

In his book, ‘The Greatest Miracle in the World’, Og Mandino writes about the fourth great law of happiness and success and it is the ‘power of choice’. I love what he says....

“Choose to love ... rather than hate.
Choose to laugh ... rather than cry.
Choose to create ... rather than destroy.
Choose to persevere ... rather than quit.
Choose to praise ... rather than gossip.
Choose to heal ... rather than wound.
Choose to give ... rather than steal.
Choose to act ... rather than procrastinate.
Choose to grow ... rather than rot.
Choose to pray ... rather than curse.
Choose to live ... rather than die.”

The choice is ours...and here is what you need to understand...the choice has ALWAYS been ours! Today, it’s time become ‘mentally strong’ and to tap into the power of our choices. As a man by the name of Mike Dooley said, “Life's not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it's about doing, being and becoming. It's about the choices you've just made, and the ones you're about to make, it's about the things you choose to say - today. It's about what you're gonna do after you finish reading this.”

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