The Power of Choice

By: Ginger Hanson

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin. The following is an excerpt from his book Linchpin that is not a new thought, but one that comes up over and over again in many different forms and situations:

The power of choice is just that. Power. The only thing we have to do is remember that we control the harnessing of that power. We choose. Don’t let your circumstances or habits rule your choices today. Become a master of yourself and use your willpower to choose.

Spot on, right? When it comes down to it, we are the ones who choose how we are going to respond to any given situation. Obviously, no one is making the choice for us. Others can influence the choice, but ultimately, it’s our own brain that decides.

But can I just say, “easier said than done!” Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we have a choice; that we are a product of circumstance and luck. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I have the worst luck!

But – yes, there’s always a but – this is a good practice to implement and work on daily. There are challenges that arise daily that can offer us all sorts of practice! My most recent example was over the past weekend when my husband, Andy, and I had made plans to go out on the boat with the dogs and spend some time at the beach. Before we could head out, though, we had to fix the trailer lights by rewiring them. If everything went according to plan, it would have been a fairly quick and easy project. But, as I mentioned previously, sometimes I have the worst luck! Things starting going wrong right away. First, the easy solution failed – which was just attaching the new wires to the old wires and pulling them through. Then, our back-up solution failed after several attempts. When we finally got it working with yet another solution, the wiring we purchased with the lights was too short for the trailer! This all took over three hours when it should have been done in about one.

At this point, I had a few choices to make – I wanted to go to the beach with the dogs who kept giving me ‘the look.’ My husband wanted to finish the project – which I understand; leaving a project in a mess would just bother him all day. The first choice was whether to take the dogs on my own or not. If yes, the second choice I had to make was the attitude I was going to have about it because it would be on my own. I decided to go on my own so everyone could do what they wanted and I decided to just enjoy the time. Also, I really can't resist when BoBo looks at me with his big soulful eyes. I mean, who can?!

The weather was beautiful. The water was incredibly warm for Lake Superior. The dogs made some new friends who were kind enough to help me wear them out a little by playing frisbee with them. I got my fill of sand, water and sun and was able to return to the house with a feeling of contentment. Andy, my husband, was just finishing the project when I got back and he was happy to have it complete.

Looking back it’s easy to see the points in time where the choices I have to make are critical to the kind of day that I will have, but in the moment, it can feel like the day is happening to me rather than me deciding how the day is going to go. But I guess practice makes (almost) perfect. The more often I can visualize the results of a choice, the better I will get at recognizing those moments and owning them. Leez is no stranger to this idea. If you haven't already, be sure to read her latest post about going with the flow.

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