The Power of Choice | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The Power of Choice

Once you view decision-making as a positive force, you will see the effect in your life.

Once you view decision-making as a positive force, you will see the effect in your life. Photo by Courtesy of Boetter, through Flickr

Spend your last bit of cash, or save it for a rainy day? Eat healthier to stay away from the doctor's office, or splurge on a decadent dessert? Vote for the 2012 election, or remain uninvolved? Every day, we face the big three Cs in life: challenges, choices and, most of all, consequences.

Because I am a clinical psychology trainee, a lot of people ask me, "What do you do?" or "What does your title mean?" I tell them I am being trained to one day assist individuals with issues such as grief, depression, anxiety, adjusting to life circumstances and so on. I believe that this is the purpose my creator bestowed upon me: to become a clinical psychologist to help others.

Helping individuals make a difference, find their purpose and make changes in their personal life is my vital goal. So now I want you to ask yourselves the same thing. Ask yourself, "What is my purpose here on this earth, and how will I make a difference to others around me?"

Now, what about the three Cs in life and how they relate to this article? In life we are going to have challenges. Because of these, we make choices, good or bad, and must deal with the consequences of our decisions.

Let's consider a quick example when thinking about the three vital Cs. Let's say Joe, who is 28, has just been promoted as the CEO of his firm, something he has been working toward since age 21. However, some challenges have come into his life the same week he received his promotion. He proposed to his long-term girlfriend and now has a wedding to plan, learned that his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and just found out he owes the IRS $10,000. What does Joe do? In Joe's situation he has to analyze the challenges that have arisen, what choices he will make in response and the consequences that follow his actions.

Anyone can be faced with adversity, but by making well-thought-out choices, taking responsibility for the consequences, and learning from your mistakes, you can overcome. You have the power of choice in your own life. But it is important to remember that you do and should not have that power in others' lives—you can only make decisions for yourself and must allow others the same. We can try to influence, educate and inform someone else's decision, but we have no control over their end choice.

Choice can be a very powerful tool to have when you know and embrace that power.

Caught up in a challenging situation?

Consider these tips:

1. The Power of Choice: Our Power, Your Power

Knowing and embracing personal power is an invaluable opportunity. To do this, avoid complaining and nursing stress or depression. Instead, try to better your own life as well as those around you. Research shows that when you are happy and in an upbeat mood, those around you, including friends and loved ones, will be as well. You have the ultimate power to choose what you do, how and when you do it.

2. Look for the Good in Consequences

Although consequences can be good, we most often associate the word "consequence" with something bad, such as getting punished by something or someone. However, a consequence is a means to learn and grow. You can redeem past bad choices in the future by looking forward and making better decisions.

3. Be Responsible for the Choices You Have Made

Yes, we all must admit that taking responsibility for something that has gone wrong is hard. When something goes wrong from a choice, the best action is to say, yes, I made that choice and the outcome was not as I expected. Say to yourself, "I will learn from that mistake and make better choices for myself and others that surround me in the future." If you have made great choices, go ahead and toot your horn, you deserve it!

4. Make Choices for a Better Tomorrow

Everything you do and say, and even to some degree, feel, is a choice. Even what you feel is a choice. If you do not like your daily routine, change it! Making yourself stressed and anxious over something that you do not like is a waste of time. Take responsibility for that choice, and start to making plans to change your past pattern of decision-making. Cultivate your passions, plan to go back to school or actively pursue other, more fulfilling job opportunities.

Remember, you have the power of choice in your life! Take advantage of it and remember, "There's a reason why the windshield is bigger than the review mirror, because where you are going in life is much more important than where you've been."

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