What is the Meaning of Choices in Life?
When you are flying in an airplane, many times you must have noticed that the takeoff and landing are so smooth that you don’t even realize it. But at times, take off and especially the landing is so rough that you can scream in fear. In between the takeoff and landing, you have a choice of what to do. Some people sleep, eat, do networking, listen to songs, watch movies, read the newspaper, watch outside the window, click photos, crib the inflight services and much over. Although we do not have control over takeoff and landing we do our choice in-between what we do.
Something similar happens in our lives too. We do not have any choice where we are born (country, religion, culture, language) and when we will die (although some people do pray to God to take us away in one instant without any pain, hospitalization, medicine etc.). But we do have a choice in what we do in-between our lifetime. Our life experience (health, happiness, peace, weight, education, career, success, etc.) is determined by choices. Even indecision is a decision.
In our lifetime too, certain things are not in our control. Like Covid, the recent earthquake in Turkey/Syria or the war between Russia and Ukraine (USA and Europe!). Nobody had imagined anything like that to happen in their lifetime but it has happened. But now the choice is with the people of these countries what they are going to do in this situation.
To take a simple case of our life, when everyone is speaking falsely in front of me and getting successful, I have a choice, whether to become like them and start speaking false things or I can still speak the truth. When I am choosing to become like others, I am being part of the majority or I can choose to be myself, I may be becoming a part of the minority & willing to face the consequences but, it is my decision. Whatever will be my decision, it will become my destiny.
Similarly, when I am driving my car and it hits another car (anyone’s mistake), the other person may start fighting with me and scream many abusive words. At that moment, I have a choice, whether to become like the other person and respond with abusive words or I have a choice to use another option and tackle the situation with a smile and appropriate words.
Even in the simplest things of our lives like buying a shirt or jeans, sometimes we do not use our choice and we want someone else (parents, spouse, friend, relative, colleague) to choose on our behalf.
An employee approached his boss, ‘Sir, my wife said I should ask you for a raise.’ The boss replied, ‘Oh, I will ask my wife tonight whether or not I should give you a raise!’
Why it is Important to have Choices in Life
As a parent or colleagues, we should always give choices to our children/colleagues to take their decision. Otherwise, if the results are not favourable, they will not take ownership of the results. Example: If the parents force their children to marry someone whom they do not wish to and if the relationship gets bad, the married couple will not own the responsibility that they are responsible for the problems and the entire responsibility will be on the parents. But if the children had themselves decided to go ahead with the relationship and marriage, they would have done everything possible to make their relationship work.
A man was invited by a scientist for lunch at his home. The man was sitting at the lunch table when he saw a horseshoe hanging on the wall. A horseshoe is believed to bring good luck. The man was surprised and asked the scientist, ‘Sir, I can’t believe you are a scientist and you also believe in this superstition that a horseshoe brings you luck!’
The scientist replied, ‘No, no! I don’t believe in such stupidity. But the person who gave it to me said whether I believed it or not, it would bring me luck all the same!’
Once we choose the option and own the responsibility, things become very easy in our lives. We start taking ownership of everything that is happening around us. Example: If you have decided to not eat non-vegetarian food under family pressure, you will always find it difficult to control your urge and will expect others not to pamper you to eat non-vegetarian food or go to any place where non-vegetarian food is served. On the other hand, if you have made the choice yourself that I will not eat non-vegetarian food, it will not make any difference to you, wherever you are sitting and how much anyone is forcing you.
Everything that we choose in our lives has its consequences.
Choice: Cutting trees, drying seawater to make buildings, draining chemicals into the river
Consequences: Polluted air, flood, uneven weather, global warming
Choice: Waking up early, doing yoga, doing meditation, healthy food, timely sleeping
Consequence: Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, peaceful sleep
Everything is interdependent. Whatever we choose has a consequence like Thoughts leading to Decisions, leads to Action and it results in our Sanskars.
How to Create Choices in Life
Life is nothing but a totality of conscious choices that you continuously make. Whether you want it or not, directly or indirectly, you are choosing everything. Someone else does not choose for you in your life. It is you who makes the choice.
There is only ONE person who can hear you and that is your mind. Since for a long time, we have not heard it and remained dependent on others, we may find it difficult in the beginning to connect internally. But if we continue to trust ourselves, very soon, we can connect internally and the magic will start.
When I say my mind is mine, it will obey us every second of our life. Once we choose our response, we will be willing to take ownership of the consequences.
To do that spirituality can play a very important role in making us stronger and wiser to make our choices. The first step is to slow down a bit so that we know what choices we are making and what they will be its consequence. Slowdown, positive self-talk and meditation can play a vital role in achieving it.
Being a male is a matter of birth
Being a man is a matter of age
Being a gentleman is a matter of CHOICE