Friday 27 April 2018

The power of choices

“It’s not the circumstances of life that shape your destiny, but the choices you make under these circumstances” – Batman: War on Crime

Make choices is one of the most powerful things that a human being can do, because as we make choices we characterize our life and we shape our destiny. Peter Drucker said “The best way to predict the future is to create it”, and to do that we need to make choices and take decisions. As examples, we can choose to live focused in problems or in opportunities. We can look back to our past finding failures and losses and project them in a dark and concerned future, or we can choose to face our past victories, failures and losses too, learn with them and then project our future goals. We can choose to drive our life or being driven by it. We can choose to be aware of the present moment or to allow our chatty and unsettled mind to fly unconsciously between the past and the future - and that creates anxiety and depression. Even all of us have the capability to choose our beliefs and thoughts, and the ability to choose between powerful or restrictive ones. Anthony Robbins said that, consciously or not, we’re always making choices about three fundamental things: what we’re focus on; the representation or meaning that we create about any event; and our behaviors. And if we can choose our beliefs, our thoughts, our events’ experiences and meanings, and our behaviors… do you believe that consciously we have the power to shape our personality? Think about that... Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) shows that we can consciously change our Meta Programs (a NLP concept that describe the mental pattern processes that run our lives at an unconscious level of awareness, and determine how information is processed to direct our decisions, behaviors, actions and interactions with others). And this is a choice too… a very powerful one!

Choose between alternatives and feel responsible

Responsibility is always related with choosing between alternative courses of action.  When you need to make a choice, on any kind of situation, you must:
  1. Have a clear understanding of the present situation, i.e., the actual circumstances that asks you for some kind of change – what do you see, what you don’t want to see, what you feel, what you say that you don´t feel, etc.; deepest awareness promotes easier change;
  2. Have a set of alternatives to analyze, choose one of them and make a trade-off of all the other ones (it’s so difficult to climb a mountain with unnecessary gear inside the backpack);
  3. Choose always the best for you, not the easier path.
If you follow these tree steps then you are taking the best decision for you under the actual circumstances and, very important, you are responsible for your decision and its consequences.

Let’s look at a common situation

Mark never made any choice between alternatives in his life… As time goes by he was driven by his life from, let’s say, situation A to situation B. Then I ask Mark: “Why are you here, at “B situation”? He answers: “Because yes… ”. Then the second question: “And do you like to be at this “B situation”? And he says: “Hummmm… I don’t know… that’s life… what else?...”.  Another question: “But would you like to have another life situation?” And Mark says: “Oh yes!!! A life situations where I have a wonderful house, a sustained job, a lovely wife, a powerful car, lots of money, etc. etc. etc.”.  And finally the critical question: “And why aren’t you there now?” And Mark says something like: “Because I never had luck in my life… When I was 20 I went to the army and I didn’t finished school; after that I had a job but my boss was horrible and fired me; then a felt in love with a beautiful girl and we were married; but I found out two years later that she was a foreigner girl who only wanted a local visa, not my love; Then I saw myself alone with our child in my arms...” (Ok, ok… did you saw this movie lots of time, didn’t you?). The fact is that Mark never took any choice between alternatives, he just followed the “natural path of life circumstances”, he was driven by his life… and now he blames everyone and everything about his situation! He doesn’t feel responsible for anything… he feels that he just had bad luck every time.

Then I met Susan who always made choices between alternatives in her life. As a consequence she drove her life from, let’s say, situation C to situation D. Then I ask Susan: “Why are you here, at “D situation”? She answers: “Because I wanted to”. Then the second question: “And do you like to be at this “D situation”? And she says: “Of course, it was my choice”.  Another question: “But would you like to have another life situation?” And Susan says “No, I don’t think so… I chose this one”. And finally I ask her: “And who is responsible for you to be here?” And Susan says smiling: “I am!... Who else?” Note that Susan doesn’t blame anyone or anything about her life situation, because she always made choices facing her live circumstances… And she fells responsible (and the only responsible) for her life path and results.

Now make things happen as you decide

Finally don’t forget that to achieve success, while you’re shaping your destiny, you need to take choices between alternatives, you need to make a strong commitment with yourself and you need to put action to make things happen! Otherwise you’ll fill your closet with lots of choices “ready to action”… but you’ll never drive your life, you’ll never shape your destiny, you´ll never feel responsible for your life path and circumstances... And then you’ll blame everything, you’ll blame everyone, and worst… you’ll blame yourself! Like a boat without helm you’ll sail through your life according the wind moves. So make choices between alternatives, take decisions, put actions, take risks, embrace uncertainties, face fears and make things happen while you feel responsible for that!

“Even when everything seems to collapse, it is up to me to decide between laughing or crying, going or staying, giving up or fighting; because I discovered, in the uncertain path of life, that the most important thing is to decide” – Cora Coralina