Every single day that you are here on this planet you are making choices.
The vast majority of the things you choose are relatively mindless and mundane. When to get out of bed, what to wear, what to eat, where to go and when, and so on. Simple, frequent, daily choices you make that can, ultimately, impact your day quite a lot.
How? Because maybe what you ate made you sick. Perhaps what you are wearing someone else is wearing and you feel uncomfortable around them. Maybe you’d be more awake and better able to make decisions at work had you gotten out of bed earlier. Cause and effect.
Every action causes a reaction. If I start to scroll through posts on Facebook that means I am not doing something else. I am choosing to spend time on this thing.
When you do something subconsciously, with little or no thought, you still work from a choice you have made. The more frequently you do something the more readily it becomes a habit.
Both good and bad habits are made in this way. Scrolling across social media rather than reading something for inspiration or entertainment (even fiction is better for you than social media, frankly). Talking when you should be listening. Interrupting other people rather than letting them finish.
Every single day you make choices great and small. Yet it’s really easy to neglect this, ignore it, and even fail to recognize the importance of mindfulness in choice.
You are more empowered than you realize
A lot of things happen to me on any given day. They range from unimportant to semi-important to REALLY important. The same, I have no doubt, can be said for you, too.
These things can include getting stuck in traffic, yelled at by a boss or coworker at work, disappointing another person’s expectations, tripping over a crack in the sidewalk, cutting yourself on a knife, and all sorts of potential things that you have more-or-less ZERO control over.
I know how frustrated I can get when things happen to me. But that’s the thing about it. Happen to me. Not because of me. Not due to anything within my control.
In other words, any choice I make will not control these things. It can’t.
All the choices you make are only going to work on one person. You. Sure, some of your choices will have an impact or even influence on other people — but what that is you cannot predict or plan for.
If I choose not to do a job that I am to be paid for, I won’t be paid. If I don’t get paid that impacts both myself and my wife since it lessens our ability to cover bills and buy food and such. She can’t make me do a job no matter how much she asks, demands, cajoles, promises, threatens, or whatever.
So yes, my choice will have an impact on someone else. But what that will be I can’t predict.
That goes for things that happen to you along the way. They happen because other than yourself you control nothing. Plain and simple, you control nothing and nobody but yourself.
This is, however, an amazing and empowering thing. Why? Because the choices that you make when you take control of your life are everything.
Taking control over choice is control of your life
When all is said and done there is nobody who can control your life except you. This is done through the choices and decisions you make every day. Big or small, those choices will determine how you will feel, how you approach and handle the day and the things that occur, and where your mindset and headspace live.
This may seem to disempower, but the opposite is true. It’s far too easy to yield control of your mindset and headspace to your subconscious. When you do that you often become distraught, unhappy, depressed, hopeless, and otherwise negative.
Your subconscious mind does not clearly see anything because it is often the result of distorted notions. Those outside influences that happen directly or indirectly then dig into your psyche, plant seeds, and grow brain weasels, self-doubt, deep skepticism, cynicism, pessimism and the like. This can lead you to decide not to decide and/or avoiding certain choices along the way.
When you take control over the choices available to you that opens you up to practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness allows you to become conscious and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions in the here-and-now.
Ultimately, that awareness allows you to see the difference between what you can and cannot control or influence. This empowers you to make use of that control to choose and decide the best courses to take your life on.
You are going to be both right and wrong
I have made some really good choices along the way. But I have also made some totally crappy choices, too. This is why my past dating history is all kinds of funky, my weight fluctuates constantly, I have an amazing wife, wonderful friends, and numerous other things good and bad.
That’s life. It cannot be, nor should it be, completely awesome or completely terrible. It is a rollercoaster, ups and downs, highs and lows. When you choose you decide on the direction it is taking — which ride you intend to be on at the time. That can be really empowering.
Not making a choice is still a choice. The problem is that it allows you to travel on the current without a paddle, rudder, or sail. In short, you haven’t taken control.
There are times when this is not a bad thing. But if you frequently decide to make no choices you allow yourself to be at the mercy of the world at large. And frankly, the world at large tends to be merciless.
Sometimes your choice will be the wrong choice. I know how scary that can be — but it is still better than not choosing at all. Why? Because you are not at the mercy of whimsy, other people, and things totally outside of your control.
For the most part, even wrong choices can be remade. You can choose anew when you don’t like the results from a given choice.
This is your superpower. Choice. When you are discontent or otherwise displeased with the direction your life is going you can choose to take it on a new journey. The paths before you are only as limited as your imagination.
What new choices will you be making today?
You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, and that empowers us to choose virtually anything.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on March 4, 2020.