Every day you make choices. Every day I make choices. Everyone makes choices every day! Sometimes they seem to be small choices, but the consequences of choices may still have a big effect on our lives.
Consequences of Choices
I have searched the internet and I still don’t know who it was that said the following quote, but I genuinely believe it to be true; at least in my experience:
“Everything in life is a reflection of the choices you make in life. If you have chosen something, you will consequently get the results that will adhere to it. In case you want to achieve something else, you need to make choices otherwise! When you choose something, the results will follow accordingly.”
Am I saying that anything that happens to you in life is a consequence of the choices that you have made? Well, yes, I suppose I am. Had your choices been different, my thinking is that your results would have been different as well. Therefore, you need to understand the fact that everything in your life is a reflection of the choices you have made in the past or are making today!
Someone dear to me had their life made miserable because they chose to stay with a partner who they allowed to treat them badly. They knew that they would be better off if they left them. They just chose not to. Oh sure, they tried to convince themselves that they did not actually have a choice in the matter by using a lot of the defensive rationalisation that abused people seem to do, but it does not change the fact that they made a choice to stay and paid the price for doing so.
I believe that no matter what our circumstances are, we always have a choice about how to think, feel, and respond. Therefore if we want to change something and get a different outcome, we can actually make a different choice. Please note that I am not saying this is necessarily easy; just possible.
As my mentor Jim Rohn wrote:
“Each of us has two distinct choices to make about what we will do with our lives. The first choice we can make is to be less than we have the capacity to be; to earn less, to have less, to read less and think less, to try less and discipline ourselves less.
The second choice is to become all that we can possibly be, to read every book that we possibly can, to earn as much as we possibly can, to give and share as much as we possibly can and to strive and produce and accomplish as much as we possibly can”
My point here is that whichever choice you make to do is up to you. Sure, other folks may have an impact or influence on your decision but whichever choice you make will have consequences for you; maybe not today or tomorrow, but sometime in your life you will reap what you sowed back in the day.
In my youth, I made some choices that came back to haunt me in later life. I tried to blame other people – my parents, my friends, my managers, and even various governments – for my situation but in truth, it was the inevitable consequences of choices I had made; in some cases many years before.
We can choose to do more, become more, and have more. Now, I am not talking about some magic that just requires you to choose. No, along with your choice must surely come some action; some disciplined behaviour that closes the gap between your objective and its subsequent achievement.
Which leads me on to the two pains that you must choose between. Like any other human being with conscious awareness, you will experience varying degrees of pain and pleasure in your life.
Choosing between discipline and regret
I was listening to a Jim Rohn CD one day and heard him say that we must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons. That remark hit me like a hammer.
For many years I suffered from the pain of regret. In my case, it was caused by a lack of achievement. I was a good student. My teachers and lecturers told me that I was intelligent. If that was so, I wondered, why had I ended up where I had in my life?
The answer was because I had chosen to spend my time and resources in a way that had little value or benefit for me. I had spent money on drink, but not on a book. I had spent time watching rubbish TV and not exercising. I’m sure that you get the idea.
I have a great life now. No, I’m not a millionaire. Nor do I own a Porsche or similar type of sports car. But I am comfortable that I am well on the way to becoming what I can be; i.e. fulfilling my potential. And this process began the day I started to make different choices than I had made before.
So, you now have a choice; to do or not to do, to be or not to be, to be all or to be less, or to be nothing at all. Why not do all that you can, every moment you can, be the best that you can, for as long as you can?
Well, it’s like Jeff Olson says in his book The Slight Edge,
“It’s easy to eat well. And it’s easy not to. It’s not the one junk-food meal that is the problem; it’s the thousands you eat over time. Eating the burger is just a simple error of judgment. Eating it won’t kill you – today. But, compounded over time it can and will. Not eating it won’t save you – today. But compounded over time it can and it will.”
The choice always comes first. And the choice is yours to make.