The word I have chosen for Week 2 is Choice
Choice is an amazing word. We all are faced with choices in our lives every single day.
Just the fact as to what to eat or not eat. It is a choice. What to wear or not wear. Choice is what we face almost every moment of our lives.
Now what shapes our lives is our choices. One could have amazing natural abilities but the choices they make is what determines their future. Success or failure, Good or bad, these choices on a day-to-day basis shape us.
Dr. Deepak Chopra states, “When you make a choice, you change the future”.
Let us say someone is overweight and has been for years, it is the choices they have been making about what to eat and what not to eat, to exercise or not. These small choices may have shaped the person’s life. However, in this moment if they decide to change their choice and move towards a healthy living their future will change.
As Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
What do you choose? Do you choose the road less traveled by or you follow the masses.
“I don’t have a choice”. Really!
I hear many a times where people say, “I don’t have a choice”. Really! If you start to delve deeper you will find in almost every cases you do have a choice or you will find an alternative. It may be a tougher choice, but it will be there. If you say to yourself I don’t have a choice, you shut yourself from all other possibilities or choices.
To me happiness is also a choice. There could be one person who supposedly have everything that money can buy but is still miserable because he chooses to, another person is happy to be alive and see another day. It is all a matter of choice.
Choices have shaped my life. My choice of going to become a John Maxwell certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker in past few years has changed my life. When I wanted to start, I had to make a choice. I was already super-busy with a job as a CFO and running an internet based company selling fragrances and beauty products. However, that was not fulfilling me, as I wanted to impact people and make a difference. Even after a lot of opposition from my well-wishers that I am going to burn myself out and that this was against my career path, I chose to act and got certified. It did not come without pain and effort, as I had to extend myself and work evenings, nights and weekends to read, study, understand and then start my mastermind groups.
The results of my choice has catapulted me to a new direction. New friends, new circle of like-minded people started coming in my life. When I look back now, this choice coupled with hard work has put me on the road where I can fulfill my passion.
Learning choose well is an Art, and if you are open to learn, life teaches you.
Now in my life I have made some poor choices that have adversely affected my life. Let me share my story where I made a poor choice/decision, which shaped my life in a certain way and then how a good choice/decision shaped my life.
In 1989, I received my MBA degree and had a dream. A dream to be successful, own a Mercedes Benz, have a lot of money, wear nice clothes, eat at nice places. By 1992, 3 years after getting my degree I had nothing to show for and was leading a life of quiet desperation. What I had was a low paying accounting job working in a Non Profit.
But I had the dream, the dream to be successful, at this time Mike, my brother met and me Harry who wealthy and successful. As we got to know him better we were very impressed by his Half Million dollar mansion in Long Island, his Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Cadillac and so much more. He was living my dream. I thought we were so lucky that he came in to our lives like a divine intervention. He said he saw potential in us and asked us to invest $10,000 with him to open up a business partnership where we could make over $100,000 a year and be rich like him. Without much thought, I borrowed $10,000 on Credit Cards and handed over the cash for a partnership in a Ladies Dress business. We named it Quality Dresses for Less. The concept was to buy over-runs of expensive dresses for cheap and sell it at store for a profit margin.
We opened our first store in NYC, worked hard, but within 6 months found it was not doing much business. I was starting to wonder if we had made the right decision.
We had gone far and deep to back out of it and had to put more money as Harry as very convincing saying that it takes time to make business successful. We closed the store in NY, and then moved to Queens, then to Long Island, from stores to Flea Markets. Nothing worked.
Mike left his promising corporate job to work 100% in the business, as we were suspicious of Harry. I was working at my job and then managing the business until late night and weekends. Life became a nightmare. We poured more money into business, all from credit cards but the business kept on failing.
By chance, we found that Harry had for filed bankruptcy before he met his house and cars and we were being possessed by the bank now. It was a clear case of misrepresentation and we went through a huge shock and a reality check.
By the time we wrapped the business, I was under $50,000 in debt. My brother out of a job. Things were looking bleak and I felt all my education, my honesty, my trust in others had failed me.
I went to my accountant who advised me to file for bankruptcy as he saw no other choice.
Dejected and afraid, on my way back from his office, I stopped at Borders bookstore and found a book “The Richest Man in Babylon”. A small book about the Laws of money. I read this book in one sitting and then went over it multiple times. I realized where had gone wrong. I knew I needed to take full responsibility for my actions. This was the defining moment in my life.
I chose not to file bankruptcy and pay off all the debt.
By following the concepts in The Richest Man in Babylon, successfully applying the principles, with hard work, multiple jobs, laser like focus, discipline and dedication, in about 3 years’ time I were able to pay off all the debt.
This was the turning point in my life, due to the choice I made.
The moral of the story is that I learned the hard way that there are no shortcuts in life. Hard and smart work is the key to success. Currently I am working as CFO in a Non-Profit Organization, if I had declared bankruptcy at that time, as that was the easy road to take, I could not be a CFO managing millions of dollars from Federal, State and local fund.
You do not have to be lucky but need to create your own luck and I learned that the hard way.
See how a poor choice led me to almost bankruptcy but choosing to say No to Bankruptcy shaped and changed my life over twenty five years ago.
Many people choose to keep a grudge for life, I say forgive and forget. Who is being hurt by this choice. Only you……..
As one of my teachers in High School wrote in my diary
“Be such a man, live such a life that if every man were such as you and every life yours, this earth would become A PARADISE. “ – The choice of these words has influenced my life deeply.
Make it a choice to complement others instead of complaining.
Remember learning is a choice.
Now you need to decide on a regular basis what you are going to choose.
Healthy food vs. Junk Food
Exercise vs. Lethargy
Reading vs. Watching TV
Having fun with family Vs. Constant working
Living life to the fullest or having a mediocre life
Be all you can be or live a life of wishing
Actual trips vs vicarious trips
Calling some and forgiving them or keeping a grudge for life.
Complement vs. complaining.
So choose your actions very carefully. Think where they would lead you. Keep your goals in view before you make a choice. All successful people weigh their choices very carefully but when they choose they are adamant to follow through on their choice.
Consistently good choices lead to a good life.
From now onwards when you have to choose, pause, think and choose. You never know where your choice may lead you.
Choose to live your life intentionally!
CHOICE AS PER DICTIONARY
An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.
Origin and Etymology of choice
Middle English chois, from Anglo-French, from choisir to choose, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German kiosan to choose — more at choose
First Known Use: 13th century