“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 in 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 truly liberating as well! 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 flavor, either vanilla or chocolate and tell me why you chose it”.
Volunteer: “I choose vanilla because it’s my favorite flavor”.
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 vanilla tastes better!”
The volunteer was getting quite upset with this conversation, in her mind, she WAS choosing vanilla but apparently, she was making decisions, not a choice 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 getting it 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!
It’s subtle and significant at the same time, the difference is, a decision is made based on and because of your reasons and a choice is made after considerating your reasons. Can you see the difference? If not keep looking, this will make sense I promise!
What difference does this make in our lives? When we use reasons to justify our actions we are not committed to our decisions because those reasons can change (it happens a lot), we are left questioning our decisions and feeling lost. When we take our reasons into consideration then we are free to make our choice and be committed to something that becomes everything. 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 is a performing artist.
One does not decide to be happy ~ one is happy.
Choice ~ Choose
There is a significant difference between decision and choice. What is the relevance of this to being responsible for your life experiences? Choosing to acknowledge and being responsible for what you have in life is your freedom to choose how you deal with things no matter what comes your way. Acknowledging is not the same as being resigned to and this is where most people get stuck. Do you choose to have cancer? No, you choose to acknowledge that you have cancer and live your life dealing with it powerfully and purposefully. What that looks like for you is your choice.
Can you identify in your life where you have decided rather than chosen? 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 or go on Facebook ask to join C3Now and choose to be in the conversation!
Imagine what your life would look like if you lived it by choice? Think about it.