Developing Your Freedom to Choose

You may lead a rich, full life or a shallow, empty existence. But whatever you gain from life is largely a matter of choice – your choice. You are free to choose whatever you want to do or to be. Your greatest power is the power to choose your own destiny. That freedom of choice is your birthright and no one can steal it or deprive you of it. The reality of the power that comes from your freedom of choice becomes evident when you understand the unalterable principles under which this freedom works.

♦ Choice is a talent that must be developed. Like any other talent, the power of choice can be developed. If you are reluctant to make choices and decisions because you fear failure, you may choose to play it safe and miss experiences that could lead to making better choices. Good decisions are based on prior decisions.

♦ You must choose for yourself. Because no two people are exactly alike, no one can make a completely satisfactory choice for someone else. When you allow others to make your choices, you hand over to them your destiny and rob yourself of your birthright. You then bear the consequences of borrowed choices. Certainly it is wise to collect all the facts before you choose or make a decision, but the opinions you solicit should be considered for what they are – the opinions of others. The choice is yours.

You are eminently more qualified than anyone else to choose what is best for you, what course you should take and what destiny will be yours. The world stands aside for you when you know where you are going, but it gives little notice or attention to one whose choices are dictated by others.

♦ The choice determines the consequences. You may select any action you choose; but once you make a choice, the consequences follow the principle of cause and effect. A poor choice leads to undesirable results as surely as a wise choice produces a favorable consequence. Often a desirable result must be paid for in advance with work and effort while the resulting penalty of a poor choice is often deferred. Postponement of the date when we must “pay the piper” may lull us into the belief that we will somehow escape making the payment, but it doesn’t happen that way. You cannot have the pleasures of one choice and the rewards of another; nor can you blame fate or luck when you must subsequently pay the price of a carelessly-made choice or decision. To control the outcome of your ventures, guard your decisions and choices with meticulous care.

Once you accept responsibility for exercising your freedom of choice, you can use it to make whatever changes of habit or attitudes are necessary for developing personal leadership and self-motivation. Give your choices time to yield results; be patient. Today’s habits are the result of choices made long ago. Tomorrow’s habits will be the result of the choices you make today and the attitudes and habits you adopt.

Making Choices with Self-Confidence

Self-confidence comes from practical know-how; know how comes from knowledge and experience; and experience necessarily involves confrontation and engagement. When you know from first-hand experience that you can do something, you are incomparably more confident than if you have merely observed how someone else did it. You can always acquire knowledge; libraries are full of it. But experience is something else. Real experience – the kind that turns theoretical knowledge into practical, personal know-how, and results in self-confidence – comes only when you are willing to become involved in situations that others avoid. Conflict and involvement give you the assurance that you are truly in control of the situation. Once you recognize the significance of practical experience – what it is and what it can do for you – you usually welcome even those stressful experiences that stretch you to the limit of your abilities.

When you know where you stand and where you are going, your confidence knows no bounds because you are motivated by results, not by methods. But if you do not know where you are going or what path to follow, you have confidence in nothing and are fearful of everything.

Self-confidence allows you to be realistic instead of dependent on vague hopes. When you are realistic, you do not wait for time and circumstances to come along and transform your dreams into reality. You take the lead and work progressively toward achievement; and most important, you have confidence in your own ability to lead, to grow, and to make the internal changes necessary to reach your objectives. You believe in the concept of continual change. You know that you are indeed a creature of change. Your response to new experiences is that they are natural and to be expected. They pose no threat to you.



Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management® International, Inc.

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