You Always Have a Choice

It’s so often that we say, “Gosh, I didn’t have a choice’. How true is that line really? Have we ever given it a thought? What would you say to this situation – A man held a gun to an innocent mans head. And said, “give me everything you have or I’ll shoot you”. And so the man agrees to give everything he had to the gunman. And the gunman walks away, richer than what he was five minutes ago.

What’s the first thing that came to your mind? Let me guess. “Poor guy, what choice did he have, he had to give everything up to save his life”. Not entirely true. I learned this recently too. The man in this situation HAD a choice. Infact he MADE a choice. A choice to give up everything he had to save his life or a choice to have that trigger pulled and risk his life. It’s true. Most situations in our life always leave us with a choice. One that we make – consciously or subconsciously.

More often than not, we feel like a certain situation didn’t leave us with much choice or that we just had this one decision to take versus something/anything else. If you really scrutinize those moments, the ones that may have or could have been the turning points of your life, you will realise this harsh fact –  that you ALWAYS have a choice.

Every human being is wired differently. That’s my favourite line and I really believe in it. Childhood, memories good and bad, the scars they leave, the beliefs they build, the person they make us, the way in which they wire us and every little emotion we know, both rational and irrational. It’s all there. It’s in the story. Our story. Wired in a circuit and stubbornly stuck. The choices we decide to make, makes us the person we are.

It is also true that there are several situations that we face aren’t in our control. And they WILL affect our choices, whether they are made by willingness or reluctance. More often than not you’ll realise that the choices that made you think, cry, scream with anger, introspect are the ones that took most time and were perhaps the turning points in your life.

In an episode of Grey’s Anatomy the famous Dr. Derek Shepherd says “The human life is made up of choices. Yes or no. In or out. Up or down. And then there are the choices that matter. Love or hate. To be a hero or to be a coward. To fight or to give in. To live or die. Live or die, that’s the important choice. And it’s not always in our hands.” And how right he is. You’ll realise more often than not, the choices that matter the most are influenced to the fullest by external factors. And when I say most, these are like serious, close to the heart, my whole life will come to an end kinda choices.

So let’s pause and think for a moment. What really are the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choices? What defines ‘right’ and ‘wrong’? Ones that are made to benefit you or ones that are made for the benefit of others? And therefore, does that make you a hero or a coward? Does that mean you’re selfish or selfless? The most important fact of making a choice is that it’s a decision made for better or for worse.  And no matter what, once that choice that decision is made you live with the result of that decision for the rest of your life.

So let me now tweak the first situation a little and narrate the same story, only with a different outcome. A man held a gun to an innocent mans head. And said, “give me everything you have or I’ll shoot you”. And so the man agrees to give everything he had to the gunman. After taking everything this man had, the gunman pulls the trigger anyway. This man, at the cost of bargaining for his life – lost his life. So he basically lost everything. And the gunman walks away, richer than what he was five minutes ago. And now, what’s the first thing that came to your mind? “He was going to die anyway, atleast he wouldn’t have lost everything to this gunman” Right? Change of perspective, eh?

So if this man knew that he was going to die anyway, would he have really given the gunman everything he had? If you knew where and how you would be ten days from now, six months from now, a year from now – dead or alive? Happier or depressed? At peace or with a chaotic mind? Around your loved ones or all alone. Would you do things differently? What choice would you make and are you willing to live with the outcome of that decision? Think again. The only time that matters and the only time that really IS – is now. So make that choice. And don’t look back. Ever.

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