By Hal Urban
Chapter 4 – We Live by Choice, Not by Chance; And we’re free to alter the course of our lives any time we want.
It wasn’t our choice to be born into the world. And its not our choice that someday we’re going to die. However, the period in between, the one we call life, presents us with countless choices. There are some obvious ones due to the nature of our society. We can choose our friends, careers, lifestyles, political affiliations, faith, where to live, what kind of car to drive, and what kind of music to listen to. But there are some other choices which, while less obvious, are far more important. We’re either unaware of them or just don’t give them much thought. Yet, they’re the choices that determine the quality of our lives. Based on what life has taught me, these are what I consider to be our most important choices:
We’re free to choose our character—the type of persons we become. We can allow ourselves to be molded by others and our environment, or we can commit ourselves to self-development. We can become less than we’re capable of, or we can become all that we’re capable of.
We’re free to choose our values. We can let the media tell us what’s important, or we can decide for ourselves. We can base our standards on what others are doing, or we can base them on what we know is right and good.
We’re free to choose how to treat other people. We can put them down, or we can lift them up. We can be self-centered and inconsiderate, or we can be respectful, kind, and helpful.
We’re free to choose how to handle adversity. We can allow ourselves to be crushed, to give up, and to feel sorry for ourselves. Or we can choose to look for a source of strength within us, to persevere, and to make the most out of what life deals us.
We’re free to choose how much we’ll learn. We can look upon learning as an unpleasant duty or as a great opportunity for bettering ourselves. We can be close-minded or open-minded; we can be stagnant, or we can grow.
We’re free to choose what we’ll accomplish in life. We can allow our circumstances or other people to determine what we make of ourselves, or we can choose our own direction and goals. We can be undisciplined and lazy, or we can be self-disciplined and hardworking.
We’re free to choose our own belief system. We can ignore our spiritual nature, or we can accept it as an important dimension of life. We can worship pleasure and the world’s material things, or we can look for something that’s ultimately more important.
We’re free to choose our own purpose. We can wander aimlessly, or we can search for a meaning in life, and then live according to it. We can live to please only ourselves, or we can find a cause that’s greater, one that helps us understand and appreciate life more fully.
We’re free to choose our attitude regardless of circumstances. This is the most important choice we’ll ever make because it affects everything we do in life.
We’re Always Choosing
Much of our potential goes to waste simply because it’s never used, just like the battery that corrodes or the muscle that atrophies after lying dormant for too long. Most of the time, we fail to exercise our choices because we’re not aware of having them. Yet, those choices are available to us every day of our lives. We can make changes in minor aspects of our life, or we can change our entire lifestyle just by making different choices. We can teach ourselves to deal more effectively with both circumstances and with people. In fact, we can change almost anything we do if we’re aware of our choices and if our desire is strong enough.