Vanilla ~ Chocolate ~ Choose!
“A great maturity opens in the human psyche
when we accept that we can control
our impulses by conditioning our thoughts,
and that we alone are responsible
for our emotions and reactions in life.”
Brendon Burchard ~ The Motivation Manifesto
A light bulb moment happened for me early 2013 when I came to the realization that I was 100% responsible for how my life. Past. Present and Future Wow! The impact of that thought sent me into a dizzy spin as I recollected years of upset, suffering, heartaches and disappointments I had experienced.
Accepting responsibility for my way of being during those times of chaos and upset was not an easy task and at the same time was very enlightening for me. In fact I would say liberating too! I realized that being responsible for my way of being also meant that I was in a position to choose how I wanted to experience life from that moment on.
I had the pleasure of getting this realization through a funny exercise called “Vanilla ~ Chocolate ~ Choose. I observed the course leader (I was in a self-discovery course) working with a volunteer from the crowd on the subject of choosing vs. decision and it went something like this:
Course Leader: “I want you to choose an ice cream flavour, either vanilla or chocolate and tell me why you chose it”.
Volunteer: “I choose vanilla because I love vanilla”.
Course Leader: “Got it, and that was a decision you made based on a reason therefore it was not a choice but a decision”. “Let’s try that again”. “Vanilla or Chocolate, choose”
Volunteer: “I choose vanilla because I don’t like chocolate”
Course Leader: “Got it, and that too was a decision you made based on a reason is not a choice but a decision”. “Let’s try that again.” Vanilla or Chocolate, choose.”
Volunteer: “I choose vanilla.”
Course Leader: “Why did you choose vanilla?”
Volunteer: “Because I just want vanilla!”
The volunteer was getting quite upset with this conversation, in her mind she WAS choosing vanilla but apparently she was making decisions not choices according to the Course Leader. She was thinking she was never going to get it right. The Course Leader assured her that she was so close to choosing and encouraged her to try again.
Course Leader: “Vanilla ~ Chocolate ~ Choose”
Volunteer: “I choose Vanilla.”
Course Leader: “Why did you choose Vanilla?”
The exasperated volunteer said: “Because I choose vanilla!!!”
Course Leader: “Yes! Now that is a choice! You chose without having a reason and because of this you made a choice rather than a decision.”
What difference does this make in our lives? As I understand it, the decisions we make in our lives are based on reason and as we all know reasons change and that change has a way of making us question if the decisions we made were right or wrong. When it comes to choices they are driven by a commitment to something that means a lot to us. For example, the athlete that trains tirelessly for hours, days, months and years does so because they are committed to mastering a skill and achieving a level of excellence important to them. If it was a decision to exercise they would likely quit after the first experience of body fatigue. As a choice they push through the difficulties no matter what.
One does not decide to be a performing artist, one chooses to be one.
One does not decide to be a parent, one chooses to be one.
One does not decide to be happy, one chooses to be.
That is the significant difference between choice and decision. What is the relevancy of this to being responsible for your life experiences? Choosing to be responsible for your life is a commitment and gives you the opportunity to be the best you, no matter what comes your way. Deciding to be responsible will have you dropping the ball every time it uncomfortable or hard. Sound familiar?
Can you identify in your life where you have chosen rather than decided? It’s can be challenging to see the difference between the two and I invite you to join me in this conversation on FaceBook. I have started a private group page to allow conversations like this to happen within a safe environment. If you would like to join us please use the contact form below to send me your request.
Imagine what your life would look like if you lived it by choice? Think about it.