Sunday, February 14, 2010

Accepting Choice

I've been fairly negligent in keeping up with this blog. I think a large part of my hesitance to post is that I feel like it will take an hour to type what I want to say. So I'm going to try just posting small bits, rather than entire essays. I'm going to imagine that most of those small bits will turn into much longer pieces, but we'll see. So short and sweet.

Today's topic: Accepting Choice

I watch Suze Orman every Saturday night. She's a financial advisor on CNBC. I won't get into why I enjoy her show so much, but one of her guiding principles is that a person must first take responsibility for their choices before they will be able to overcome their current situation. She forces people to understand that their current financial situation is a result of choices that they made for themselves. Suze doesn't allow people to hide behind the curtain of victimization. She preaches that to overcome your problems you must accept responsibility for the problem. It's a simple message, but really presents a paradigm shift for a lot of her callers.

My belief is that Suze's principle carries over into every aspect of life. Until we accept responsibility for our daily choices we cannot understand or change, or understand how to change, our existence. And once we've accepted responsibility for our choices we become pushed to either change our behavior or be content with the outcome.

I usually ride my bicycle to work. In an average week I ride the 12 miles round trip 4 times. I usually drive once a week. I clearly understand, on that day I choose to drive, that driving is a choice that I have made, and the consequences are much less frustrating. I find that being stuck in traffic is not nearly as irritating as it used to be. After all, I knew that traffic was a probability, and I chose to participate. I may get annoyed at the lack of parking when I get to work, but then I remind myself that I chose to drive, and am getting some benefits from the decision, so I need to stop worrying about having to walk a block or two to the office.

The point is that when I view driving as a choice, the annoying things are a lot less annoying, and the bad things are trade offs I'm willing to accept. I take full responsibility for the emissions I expel on that day. I sit in traffic and enjoy the chance to listen to the radio. But mostly I regret having chosen to drive and wish I was on my bicycle.

If we all viewed our day-to-day as a series of choices, and we choose to be responsible for or content with the outcome of those decisions, imagine how our lives could change! Diet, finances, transportation, health, exercise, education, etc. We make choices every day that define our priorities and yet constantly try to push the blame off on some other entity (fast food industry, politicians, infrastructure, work, etc).

If you CHOOSE to drive your car, and it IS a choice, then don't complain about traffic, lack of parking, gas prices, etc. After all, your choices, and the choices of all your fellow Americans, are the cause.

See, that's the problem: I sit down to write a paragraph and I type 500 words.

2 comments:

Beany said...

Much of what you wrote can be applied to a lot of people living the affluent life (looking at it from a world wide point of view). I get annoyed when people don't acknowledge that a lot of their circumstances is due to choices made by them.

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I love your writing. A paragraph, a sentence or even a book - I'll read it all. Whenever you wish to dole out messages, I'll be happy to read it.

I usually don't have much to say by way of comments, but do appreciate the writing.

遊樂園 said...
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