Life is a
continuous series of choices, and with each choice we make, we
feed either our positive or negative tendencies. At one time,
almost without our awareness, we might choose to be insensitive
and strike out at a store clerk or loved one; and at another time,
despite our own personal challenges, we find the strength within
to comfort a struggling co-worker with a cheerful smile and a
much appreciated word of encouragement. Not one of us is perfect,
and the best we can do is to make wise choices a conscious and
regular part of our lives.
When you frequently
think a particular thought, you feed that thought with your time
and energy, and it will grow in strength and express itself in
your life. For example, have you known someone who constantly
worried about being sick? Because they repeatedly feed thoughts
of sickness, such people experience more than their share of illness.
Our thoughts are like mental magnets; for better or worse, whatever
we choose to dwell on, we tend to draw to us.
In each of
your daily decision points, one choice is usually the best for
you. It's called the "growth choice" because it promotes your
vitality, growth, and happiness. As each of us increases the number
of growth choices we make, our loved ones, our communities, and
our world family all benefit.
Many of us
spend large amounts of time on "automatic pilot," behaving habitually,
almost mechanically. When we're on automatic pilot, we react to
the events of life instead of creatively taking charge. However,
when we begin to pay close attention to all our choices and their
impact, and take responsibility for our actions, we awaken to
a new sense of freedom, power, and possibility.
You and I
are always "at choice," and nearly all of our choices can be understood
as yes-no, either-or decisions. Of course, some decisions, such
as which job to take or where to live, are more complex and involve
a greater variety of factors than deciding whether to have another
slice of chocolate ice cream cake. But to a large degree, it is
the hundreds of mostly small decisions we make each day that shape
our character and our lives.
choice you make simultaneously promotes your growth and happiness
and also the well-being of all those around you. As we become
more aware of our decisions and more skilled in making growth
choices, a bright new world of opportunity opens up.
in the most oppressing circumstances, we can stay in charge of
our own dignity, feel good about our choices, and be a blessing
to others. Psychiatrist, author, and Holocaust survivor Victor
Frankl said it well: "We who lived in the concentration camps
can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others,
giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few
in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can
be taken from us but one thing: the last of our freedoms-the freedom
to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to
choose one's own way."
It can't be
emphasized enough: In every circumstance, you have been given
free will-the amazing freedom to choose your thoughts, attitudes,
of choice is your ticket to optimal success in a world filled
with problems and almost limitless possibilities. When you awaken
fully to your precious gift of choice, new achievements become
possible; you grow in happiness; and you have far more to give
to loved ones and to our troubled world, which so desperately
needs an influx of positive energy.
philosopher Martin Buber wisely noted, "You should carefully observe
the way toward which your heart draws you, then choose this way
with all your strength."
by Sam Quick, Ph.D., Human Development and Family Relations Specialist,
and Alex Lesueur, Jr., M.S.L.S, Staff Support Associate.