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Have Your Choices Created the Life You Desire?

September 14, 2010

Have Your Choices Created the Life You Desire?

I was thinking recently about the choices I have made in my life, which led me to consider the choices we all make. Some are big and life-changing, such as the educational paths and careers we chose. Other big ones include the opportunities we choose to pursue, as well as those we pass on. Our relationships are also big choices – whom we select as life partners and as close friends or mentors. The consequences of our choices, both short and long term, may not turn out as we expect when we make them, which in turn leads to another set of choices.

Albert Camus wrote, “Life is a sum of all your choices.” Now that’s something to think about! In considering all the big choices that have proven pivotal in my life, and the small ones I make every day, I realized that I just need to look at myself to see how they all add up.

Like most people, I imagine, there are many choices I am proud of and some that I regret. I’d like to say that I have learned from the poor choices and have made the most of the good ones. Sometimes I have; sometimes not. Those were also choices. One choice I made many years ago, when I chose to be self-employed, was to devote 25 to 30 percent of my time to various community causes and nonprofit endeavors. I realized that I had a skill and knowledge set that could benefit others and I wanted to put it to work. This work has been satisfying and rewarding, beyond measure.

Albert Camus also led me to think about the daily and moment-to-moment choices I make, and often don’t even think much about. These include everything from what I do with my time, to how I present myself and respond to others, to the values I demonstrate. These small choices accumulate and shape who we are.

I was on a conference call the other day with a client who had some issues with a program I developed. I could have chosen to debate the root cause of those problems, but opted not to. It was much more constructive, and far more energizing, to focus on the positive – how to improve the program and resolve the matter. I was excited about the possibilities, even though the changes would entail extra work for me. I felt good about the conversation and how it ended, and I believe others on the call did, as well. A few years ago, I might have handled that same call quite differently. My life experience led me to a new choice.

Stephen R. Covey wrote, “Until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’”

I encourage you to reflect on Camus and Covey’s observations. For me, they are food for thought. Have my choices made me all I desire? I think not, as I still have a ways to go. Where have your choices led you?

Steve Weitzenkorn

Steve Weitzenkorn, Ph.D., is a learning innovator, organizational advisor, experienced facilitator, and lead author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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