Creative LeadershipCreativity

Why Our Choices Matter

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.

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.

Your ability to change your life is directly connected to your ability to make choices and to take responsibility for those choices.

I’d love to hear your take on the power of your choice….

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2 Comments

  1. We made a big purchase recently along with some other spending, mostly because family was coming into town and we wanted to accommodate them. After our family members left, we are now enduring a couple of thousand dollar bill, which is now OUR priority to resolve, which means NO EXTRA spending for some time. Was it worth it? Sure. But we weren’t thinking about how long we were going to be affected.

  2. On March 19th, ‘94 at 2 am, in the middle of the desert just outside Phoenix, AZ my life took a complete turn in an instant. I accepted an invite to a movie set by a friend. I was asked to be an “extra” in the film. I knew nothing about acting or film but went for fun. During one scene they were getting ready to shoot, the Director asked me to do a walk on scene with the co-star, gave me specific instructions and set me loose. In those moments of filming, I went completely by intuition and lived in the moment. I heard “cut” and in the pitch dark, “It’s a print”. When the lights came up on the set, I realized I had found what I had searched for my whole life but never would have looked there! I divinely, accidently tripped over it.  I was on an adrenaline high for weeks. I had found my path of destiny when that acting bug bit me. I also found myself drawn to the film production as a whole. I was extremely bored with two industries I was working in at the time, so this turn of the tide was just in time. I studied and worked in the industry until we moved from Phx to Atlanta. Based on that ONE day, ONE decision, and progression through experience, my steps have been strategically planned by God to my current profession. Every so often go back to that one moment in my mind, and that one decision my husband and I made to move across the country. I don’t know where we’d be today if I/we had not made those one-time decisions. All has been completely altered from our former life on many levels, with no regrets.  

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