Yesterday evening we had a wonderful session on “Living Life at Choice”. I know the title seems to have obvious grammar mistakes, but when we get the meaning of “choice” it all makes sense.
After yesterday’s session I realized that for all my life I have been only making decisions. To decide is to select an option based on a bunch of considerations or reasons. The problem with decision is that the power and authority of selection rests with the consideration or reason, not with me (the person who made that selection).
To choose is to select freely after consideration (of the reasons, facts etc). The catch here is the ‘after’ part. What does it mean to select after consideration. It means that once the selection is made, the considerations dont matter. What matters is that ‘I’ made the selection. The power and authority of the selection rests with me, not the reasons that helped make the selection.
Choosing becomes easy when we have options to consider, but it becomes difficult when we have only one option to consider. The session leader went on to tell that the key to living a powerful and happy life is to choose everything we currently have. Choose my past, choose my present, choose my father, choose my mother and so on. Because there are several aspects of life where we don’t have options to consider, but we still have to select the only option available. The best way to deal with such situations is to “choose” the only option available. Because “If I choose what I have, I will have what I choose and I am left empowered and happy. On the other hand if I don’t choose what I have, I will still have it and that leads to resentment, frustration, stress and unhappiness.“
Once I ‘got’ the choice distinction, what I realized was that – choice not only gives us the power and authority over the selection; but also the responsibility of having made the selection. Once I make a choice, I can no longer run away from the effects of the choice and not give reasons for dealing with the highs and lows of the choice.
I have not chosen so many things about myself, my past, my work, my life to the point that I blame the reasons and considerations for their ill-effects on me. By blaming I am only becoming a victim of those reasons and considerations and I dont take the responsibility.
For example – over the years I have recruited quite a few people to my organization (some of whom have left the organization and went to other jobs), but never really created breakthrough results with them. Why? Because I “decided” their recruitment into the company; but never really “choose” them once they were in. I know that I decided, because I conducted a written test, programming test and everything. But then the written/programming test became the reasons and considerations for their existence in the team. Choice is about selecting after the consideration. Had I said – “I choose to recruit xyz because I choose to recruit xyz” instead of saying “I choose to recruit xyz because xyz cleared the written/programming test”, I would have felt more empowered in my choice. Whenever xyz was not performing well I started telling myself – “well he cleared the test. That’s why I took him in. Now he is not performing. Is deliberately under performing? Why are they not delivering results? Why does this happen to me? When will I be able to recruit the right people? Where are the right people? You just dont get good people these days. Is there something wrong with the tests? Maybe he has just become incompetent. Maybe he just doesnt have what it takes….” These dis-empowering thoughts come because the responsibility of the selection was with the “written/programming test” not with me (the person who actually made the selection). So I never took any action to actually figure out what went wrong and how do I go about dealing with the situation. Maybe he needed some coaching, maybe he has some personal issues at that time. Maybe he is not feeling any growth in the company.
The main shift that is happening in me, now that I started choosing, is that I now accept responsibility for my selections. I now fully acknowledge that the reasons/considerations did not make the selection – but I did.
That’s exactly what my Orkut/GTalk tag line says – “You can have anything you want in life, provided you want everything you have”.
Like Neo says in “The Matrix Reloaded” – THE PROBLEM IS CHOICE.