Realizing the Importance of the Choices You Make

Here Is a Very Important Question

What is the most important factor in determining the outcome of your life?

Is it your family background or parental influence that is shaping your life, molding your conduct and ultimately determining who you are turning out to be? Or is it your educational and academic experiences that are determining this result? Is it how “street smart” you are that is defining your success in life? Could it be the genes you were born with or your physical characteristics? Maybe it’s simply a matter of luck that is framing the person you are becoming and what you are accomplishing with your life.

Certainly, many of these factors have had an influence on your life. Without question, they can be important as far as your life’s ultimate destination is concerned. However, there is one thing that is playing the primary role in determining the outcome of your life. 

What is it?

In spite of the importance of this question, many of us don’t give much serious thought to the answer. We just go with the flow and let our lives work out in their own way. Granted, it’s much easier to just let life happen and not be personally responsible for the actual results.

However, life doesn’t just happen. Instead,our lives are defined by the choices we make. Some of these choices are ours, and some choices are made by other people, and we just accept those decisions and follow along. 

Stop and think about it…

You, or someone around you, chooses what the next thought, the next comment or activity will be. Whether you elect to let someone make these choices for you – or you make the choices yourself – you develop as an individual according to the choices that guide or influence your life.

Other Factors Become Less Important Over Time

But, you say…don’t our general circumstances have a lot to do with it?

Granted, we came into this world with pre-existing conditions: where we were born, the color of our skin, our basic physical characteristics and the guidance we received in early childhood. These are all factors that helped to form us in some way.

However, at a very early age, our choices start to override these factors. The 3-year-old little girl makes her choice concerning which doll she will take to bed at night. Boys and girls, 7 and 8-years old, choose what they will do after school and who their friends will be. The 12-year-old decides how long he will study, which sports he will play and what he will do in his spare time. By the time we are 15 or 16-years old, each of us has almost total control over what we think, what we say and what we do. Beyond our very early years, it is our personal choices that determine how we treat other people, the level of education we attain, who we marry, what we do in our career and what we ultimately achieve with our lives.

Dr. Bobbie Stevens, in an article titled The Importance of Choices on the website, says this about how our choices impact our lives:

"It is so important to understand that we are all making choices all the time, even when we chose not to choose we have still made a choice. It is our choices that determine our experiences.  The choices we are making today will show up in our experiences in the future.

Unless we are willing to take full responsibility for ourselves and the choices we make, we have no control over our lives.  We have been given all the power to create our experiences through our choices, but if we believe that outside forces are responsible for our choices we give away all the power we have.

Sometimes making the right choice or even knowing how to choose is very difficult, but it is vitally important to understand that you are in charge of your own life if you chose to think for yourself.  If you chose not to take charge, you will experience the consequences of that choice, and simply be blown about by life like a leaf in the wind."

An Important Fact of Life

So, one fact of life that we all need to acknowledge is this: regardless of our initial circumstances, we define our lives through the choices we make. Some of these choices we make on our own and others by simply going along with the choices of others. In either event, you are the one who decides.  

You can choose to be polite or be indifferent. You can choose to study or go play with your friends. You can choose to work hard or just get by. You can choose what you want to do with your life or just accept whatever comes your way. These, and hundreds of other choices, define you as an individual and determine the life experience you will have.

Without question, you are a unique, one-of-a-kind combination of physical characteristics, personal interests and emotional feelings that collectively define you as an individual.  However, it’s not this unique package that determines the enjoyment and effectiveness of your life, but how you choose to use it. Therefore, understanding the role that choices play in defining your life is the most important thing to learn if you want to fully develop the life you have been given.

“Every man builds his world in his own image.
He has the power to choose,
but no power to escape the necessity of choice.”
Ayn Rand

Written by Michael Nelson

Copyright 2014 Good Choices Good Life, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write on story, but often writes another. His humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he intended it to be. James M. Barrie