I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime. —Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, psychiatrist
You are at the point you are in life today because of a string of decisions you made yesterday. I call it the “waterfall effect” because every choice we make in life has consequences “downstream.” In his book Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins put it this way:
As you look back over the last ten years, were there times when a different decision would have made your life radically different from today, either for better or for worse? Maybe, for example, you made a career decision that changed your life. Or maybe you failed to make one. Maybe you decided during the last ten years to get married—or divorced. You might have purchased a tape, a book, or attended a seminar and, as a result, changed your beliefs and actions. Maybe you decided to start exercising, or to give it up. It could be that you decided to stop smoking. Maybe you decided to move to another part of the country, or to take a trip around the world. How have these decisions brought you to this point in your life?
It’s not our environment, the people around us, or the conditions of our lives that determine our futures, it’s the personal choices we make or don’t make. Certainly, people who have grown up in abusive families, been surrounded by negative people, or been the victims of crime, extreme poverty, or physical handicaps have challenges most of us know little about and can hardly understand. But even within the context of a horrible upbringing, physical handicap, or negative situation, it’s the choices we make in the context of those situations that make the real difference in our lives.
This is especially important today when so many try to blame their circumstances on everything else but their own personal choices.
The late actor Christopher Reeve could have easily given up after his freak horseback riding accident left him a quadriplegic, tethered to a breathing machine. Everyone would have understood if after a successful life as a movie star, he would have shrunk back and faced the rest of his life in resignation and defeat.
But Christopher Reeve chose a different path. He chose to be a fighter, an activist, and a role model to millions of people with and without physical limitations. He made a choice. In spite of his conditions, circumstances, and limitations, he made a positive decision to move forward.
Never forget that your ability to change your life is directly connected to your ability to make choices and to take responsibility for those choices.
So – what’s the next decision that could potentially change your life?