Whose choice is it anyway?
Have you ever heard the song, “Blame it on the Rain”? Besides yourself, that just about sums up your options, when it comes to who takes responsibility for your choices. Think about it...you are the captain of your own ship. No matter what your upbringing or your environment, you are the ONLY one that the buck stops with. There is no pinch runner to relieve you from the consequences of the choices YOU make. Neither your parents, your friends, your crazy Aunt Martha, your age, your strengths, your weaknesses, the color of your hair, or the size of your shoes will be to blame, if you fall short. They will also not be to credit, if you are a success. Now that we have established that you and ONLY YOU are responsible for your own destiny, here are some tips for making good choices and living a deliberate life:
- If you CHOOSE to roll with the pigs, you’re gonna smell like a pig. Surround yourself with people that reflect who you would like to be. It’s a kindness to be tolerant of the life choices of others, but it certainly does not mean that you have to do the same. Be your own beautiful. It gives people permission to act the way they know they should, so be that catalyst for others.
- If you CHOOSE to take the road less traveled, expect some potholes. There is much truth to the adage “older and wiser” and even if your mentors are not much older, if at all, learn from their mistakes. There is wisdom in observing before acting and not repeating a wrong. It is not always necessary to learn from your own mistakes, when you can just as easily learn from someone else’s.
- If you don’t CHOOSE your words carefully, being held accountable comes with the territory. You have freedom of speech and with that comes the consequences of that speech. You cannot always say what you wish to say, in the moment you wish to say it, without the harsh reality of the effects of your words. Words are the one thing you can never take back once you have given them. In a moment of throwing caution (and vocabulary) to the wind, you would do well to consider how much more respect you command when you speak calmly, rationally, and tactfully.
- CHOOSE to make social media your slave, not your master. By using technology to suit your needs and not the other way around, you can move mountains! Be careful about what you post on social media. It will follow you FOREVER and will be hunted down by future employers and your future mother-in-law. Don’t shame yourself and don’t let others have that power either. By allowing your self esteem to be determined by virtual critics and comparing your weaknesses to another person’s perceived strengths, you are burying yourself under a mountain of lies and illusions. Today’s technology can be a curse and a blessing. There is an increasing problem with college graduates finding employment in the corporate world because of the lack of ability to communicate face to face. Put the phone down once in a while and use the mouth the good Lord gave you. Texting and Instagram won’t pay the bills!
- CHOOSE to build your muscles, both physically and emotionally. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was character. Being the best physical you will yield the best emotional you, so get after it! You will be surprised how much happier you are when you are healthy and when wellness is a priority. It doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t be impatient. Flex your emotional muscle while you’re pumping iron and be determined and disciplined. Despite the message blaring these days, success takes work and pride in oneself is a thing.
- CHOOSING to put your focus on something beyond the here and now will help you deal with the here and now. There’s a saying: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Guess what? It’s all small stuff! When you are overwhelmed, underwhelmed, or somewhere in between...rest assured that this is not all there is. If you can look to the light at the end of the tunnel, it WILL come and you will be better for the journey, so buck up buttercup! Whether it’s passing an exam to be accepted into a program, training for an athletic event, creating a masterpiece for an upcoming contest, or believing in a higher power when everything seems upside down, the future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades!
Shelly Burton - IMAGINE COLLEGE COACHING