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A Life Of Choice

A Life of Choice by Ann Pink

I’d like to share with you what I have discovered about thought and choice and how that affects the quality of the life we live.

As a coach I have had the privilege to work with lots of interesting and talented people, one to one and in groups. Many of these people are in what may be described as high flying jobs including running their own business or CEO of large corporate and certainly, too all intents and purposes, are in charge of their lives. However there is one theme which has cropped up continuously and that is how often they believe that external circumstances control their day.

I would like to offer a potentially controversial ‘view point’

‘Whether we have a great day or a bad day is largely a matter of choice’.

“No it isn’t” I hear people shout. (Including myself some days) but I suggest that, with the exception of natural disaster, illness and bereavement, having a great day is largely in our own hands, it’s not a matter of the thoughts we have , thoughts come and go randomly, its not about what happens either, it is about the thoughts and actions we choose to ‘dwell on’ and to act on..

For example; if when we look out of the window on a rainy morning and our thought is ‘It’s a terrible day’ then why be surprised if that is indeed the start of a terrible day.

The sort of person who says “I’m not a morning person” thereby giving themselves permission to be grumpy with everyone around them shouldn’t be surprised that they will continue to not like mornings.

If we indulge ourselves by saying to people “I’m just in one of those moods today’ thereby  apparently giving ourselves permission to have a miserable face all day and  inflict it upon everyone else then I guess we will have  had a few miserable days!

What about if we realised that mostly how we feel is entirely a matter of the thoughts we choose, second by second, minute by minute hour by hour day by day. It’s true that we may not always be able to choose what happens to us in life but we can always choose how we react to what happens!

If you listen carefully you will hear the following complaints on almost a daily basis;

“My husband/wife/boss/child/parent/friend/neighbour/sister/brother/inlaws/….and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all ‘has upset me’, ‘put me in a bad mood’ ‘annoyed me’………….you get the drift!

Well what if we were to accept that no one can do anything to us that we don’t give them permission to do? They may indeed say hurtful things, be inconsiderate, be forgetful, disappoint us and commit any number of unkind things that can happen in relationships but what they can’t do is spoil your whole day as a result, only you can choose to make that happen!

Sulking, anger, and angst however ‘justified’ we feel it is’ may’ of course upset person you feel has ‘upset us’ but the only thing certain about this behaviour is that we have definitely chosen to spoil our own day.

Next time you feel this happening ask yourself “why am I choosing to let (‘what’s happened’) get in the way of me having a great day?”

Feeling good about ourselves and the life we lead is the very core of our well being and we can take responsibility for how we are feeling.

If  you choose to embrace this concept  you can start to make amazing changes to your life. You stop looking for other people to put life right for you and start to make it right for yourself.

Of course other people can  add an extra layer of warmth to a cold day, love and friendship are two of the greatest gifts in life  just as long as we remember that other people can only ‘add’ to our sense of well being they can’t create it for us.

Of course it’s up to you whether you choose to agree with this philosophy, giving up the luxury of blaming others and accepting 100% responsibility for our own life isn’t initially an easy choice to make (and even those of us who have chosen this route still fall off the wagon) but once you realise the benefits of living this way you wouldn’t choose to have it any other way. Warmest wishes and Keep flying high