We all hold power within us to effect change. That power is birthed from the choices we make. James Esdras Faust, an American religious leader, lawyer, and politician once said, “Tomorrow’s blessings and opportunities depend on the choices we make today.” We hold within our choices the power to change our lives, change the lives of those around us, and the power to choose our destiny. 

In an article titled, The Power of Choice, Sam Silverstein discusses the power of our choices. He states, “Our choices not only affect us today, but affect our abilities and our choices in the future. For instance, if you feel out of control in a given situation, you may choose to withdraw or avoid the problems at hand. This choice leads you to escape from a challenge instead of confronting and possibly overcoming it. The degree to which you avoid or escape from problems today impairs your ability to face, deal with, and grow from various challenges in the future. As the complexity of life evolves, one choice will build on another, enabling you to handle increasingly difficult situations.” As he states; when we avoid the choices we are faced with we inhibit ourselves and cause ourselves to become overwhelmingly incapable of handling life. 

It is essential for us to make good choices and recognize the power of those choices. Silverstein also mentions an important aspect of choices that we must remember. That is that our choices not only affect our lives and our future, but our choices can also have an impact on others’ lives. He states, “Making choices also means accepting the idea that we are part of a bigger picture. We are not alone in our choices. Our choices affect not only ourselves, but the people around us. Our choices shape our actions. Our actions are received and interpreted by those around us. These actions shape the opinions and feelings of those individuals and, ultimately, the actions they take for or against our behalf.” Silverstein makes the pertinent point that we not only affect our lives when we make choices, but we can also influence others around us and change their lives in the process. 

He goes on to give a few examples of how our choices can affect our lives and futures. He states, “Some choices we make, like our financial well being, will ultimately affect the members of our immediate family. As we grow financially, we are in a position to provide on a different level for those we love. We make choices regarding our values and how we balance our lives. These choices will certainly impact our family and friends. How you treat others professionally will impact the results your business team achieves. As you can see, the choices we make can affect a wide array of people in our lives.” In Silverstein’s example, we can see that our choices can affect the lives of those around us. Sometimes it’s pretty simple to see the influence our choices have. Or sometimes it’s more obscure. However, our choices can have an impact on our future and the lives of others. 

Psychiatrist William Glasser developed a theory in 1996 called Choice Theory. He argued that we have direct control over how we act and think. Which in turn, how we think and act can influence how we feel and our physiology. These four elements of choice, work together to make up who we are and how our lives evolve. If one of these components changes, the rest will follow. How we think influences how we act and how we act influences how we feel which will then influence our physiological well-being. Emily Holland, in an article titled The Psychology Behind Choice-Making, and How it Can Help You Reach Your Goals, discusses Glasser’s Choice Theory and gives an example of how the theory actually works. She states, “For example, say one of your goals is to get into shape–more specifically, you want to run a mile without stopping. If you are feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, according to Choice Theory, actually doing something about it is the most effective course of action.” She suggests that, according to Glasser’s theory, if you just take the first steps to reach your goal it will lead to more positive thinking about it, feeling better emotionally about it and improving your physical health. By taking the first step and even just walking one-mile, it will influence your thinking, acting, feeling, and physiological well-being. 

steps to success

She goes on, “In short, you choose what you think and do, resulting in how you feel. Taking proper action produces your thoughts and in turn influences how you feel. When you make choices that bring you one step closer to meeting your goals, it leads to more positive thinking and enhanced emotional and physical well-being.” This is a theory that many people believe and act on but don’t necessarily attribute to Glasser. But if you were to take a gander into the world of physical health, you’d see this theory in play constantly. For instance, some have said that to convince yourself to workout, all you need to do is to break down the steps into smaller steps. Start by just doing one thing, like putting on workout clothes, and then another and another. Pretty soon, you’ll change your life just by taking small steps in that direction. 

Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” If you want to change your life and make better choices, start with a small step. Start today. We can influence our destiny by the choices we make. How you think about it, can change how you act on it, and how you act on it can change how you feel. And when you change how you feel, think, and act, you can change your physiological well-being for the better. Therefore, make better choices today for a better you tomorrow. The power of your destiny is within you. 

Homework: As a task or assignment for this week, I would suggest taking some time to make note of your choices. A good trick to use is to write down some of the choices you make in a day. Maybe start by just writing some of the larger choices you make so as not to be overburdened by having to constantly be writing. But this is a good way to start the habit of being aware of what choices you’re making. Maybe even make note of how you feel and think about the choices you’re making. That, in turn, can help you to see how your choices impact your life as well as the lives of others. 

Author:  Briana Pugh

Sources: 

Silverstein: http://samsilverstein.com/02/04/2007/articles/the-power-of-choice/ Holland: https://chopra.com/articles/the-psychology-behind-choice-making-and-how-it-can-help-you-reach-your-goals

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