When was the last time you heard somebody (maybe even yourself) say, “I have to. I don’t have a choice.”
I know I have said it…. felt it.
Sometimes life can make us feel as though we’re trapped by our circumstances. But the truth is we always have a choice.
Victor Frankel, holocaust survivor, spoke of the terrible conditions at the concentration camp where he was tortured. But he recognized that while they could take away every humane choice, they could not take away from him the freedom to choose his thoughts.
We make choices every single day… Practically every moment of every day. We choose what time to get up in the morning, what time we have to leave to get to work on time, we even chose what job to take. Granted, sometimes we make a choice based on the consequences of its outcome. For example, we could choose to sleep in and ignore the alarm clock, but the consequence might mean being fired from the job. We could choose to leave the house a little bit later, or take a different route, or not go at all to work. But the consequence of each of those choices could, again mean losing the job completely.
Realizing that we’ve made her choices and are responsible for our current circumstances because of those choices along the way is actually quite empowering. If you take responsibility for your past choices, then you certainly can take responsibility for future choices.
And that could mean creating a whole new wonderful life for yourself.
Of course, Life may have dealt some of us a crappy hand.
You can’t control the cards you were dealt in this life. But you can control how you play them.
It’s about your perspective. The paradigm through which you view the world and its challenges. When we feel like we’re up against a brick wall, remember that the brick walls are not there to prevent you from achieving your dreams. Walls are there to teach you something and to offer this test:
How bad Do you want it? How hard are you willing to work? How much energy are you willing to expand to bust through that wall? Or to climb over it? Or to find a way around it?
In the academic world there’s a tradition called The Last Lecture in which a professor will address his students as though it were the last lecture he ever gives.
As you will hear in this video, Dr Randy Pausch gave his last lecture to students at the University where he taught. But it was more than an exercise in academic tradition. It was to be his last lecture and he knew it.
Take a listen to the much-abbreviated version of that lecture as he shared on the Oprah Show……