Life is full of choices. From something as important as which field to make a career in to something as mundane as to what to wear to office every morning; every decision involves a choice. And, you make decisions every minute or rather every second of everyday. Sometimes, the decision is easy; made subconsciously as a matter of routine so much so that you don’t even realize that you have made a choice. At other times, the decisions are so agonizing that you wish you didn’t have to make a choice or that someone else would choose for you instead. Take for instance the simple fact that most of us take the elevator to our workplace. We rarely give the fact that we choose the lift over the stairs a second thought. On the contrary, ever had to pick a mobile, a digital camera or even a laptop amongst several options available with a limited budget? Yes. Life is, indeed, full of options. And, it is when you are faced with difficult choices that you wish there weren’t so many alternatives. Most often, it is the consequences of our decisions that frighten us more than the choice itself.
Ever considered the lives of people who don’t have a choice? I still remember my mother’s words when I would bother her about what to wear on special occasions way back in school. She’d say, “You wouldn’t have to worry about making a choice if you had just one good dress, would you? Your confusion arises because you have so many.” She couldn’t have put it better. While deciding on something may be excruciating at times, we are fortunate to have a choice in the first place. This freedom that we have – to choose what we want – is a gift that most of us take for granted. Imagine being born in a country where the government decides where you will live, what occupation you will undertake and even how many children you will have. Would that have been better? For those of us who have tasted the freedom that democracy offers, this seems unthinkable. So, the next time you worry about picking something, think of those who have no choice or those who do not have the means to have a choice.
The liberty to choose is a very powerful gift. Ironically, most of the decisions we spend sleepless nights over are rather insignificant in the larger scheme of things. The choices you make determine the person you are, what you make of your life and how those around you see you. And, the beauty of life is that you always have a choice. The freedom to choose, however, is meaningless unless you make the right choice. Not making a choice is a choice in itself. Let me not reiterate what we already know – that doing the right thing is always more difficult. But, the fact remains that what sets extraordinary individuals apart from the rest are their choices.
Robert Frost, the celebrated American poet, describes this beautifully in his poem “The Road Not Taken” with the following words,
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
All actions have consequences. But, a wise choice made after careful deliberation will never give cause to regret. No one said life was going to be easy. But, no one can make you do what you don’t want to. Making a choice and learning to gracefully accept responsibility for our actions and its repercussions shows true character. The following quote sums it all up:
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
– J. K. Rowling
We all have abilities – some inherited, others developed. But what we choose to do with these abilities will shape our character and our destiny. So, the next time you choose – think twice.