The Consequences of our Choices

One of the privileges we have living in America is that we have the freedom to make choices about how we live our lives. We are free to marry the person we want to marry. We are free to do with our money what we want (after taxes of course). We can choose  the types of careers we want, where we want to live, and how we relate to other people. What we cannot do is avoid the consequences of those choices, and every choice does have consequences.

During my seven decades I have observed a lot of successful people. I realize there are many ways to define success, but I am talking about people who are genuinely happy, enjoy good relationships with other people, are financially secure, have an enjoyable career and seem to enjoy life. They may not have the biggest house in the city or drive the fanciest car or have the perfect body or wealth beyond compare, but I don’t consider these things to be true measures of success anyway.

I have also observed a lot of people who are very frustrated with life. They are always broke, their marriages are struggling as are their children. They hate their jobs, where they live and pretty much everything about their lives.

The difference between the two groups of people is often very easy to spot. Those who are successful have taken responsibility for their lives. Many successful people I know have had to overcome difficult odds. They may not have been raised in the best of circumstances or received the best education. They often worked minimum wage jobs to support themselves and their families, but they found ways to advance their careers. They would do whatever it took to overcome the challenges the past may have held for them because they were determined that they would not let the past determine their future.

Those who are not very happy with their lives also made choices. Many of them chose to be “perpetual victims.” They always have someone or something else to blame for their problems. They complain they never had a chance; the deck is stacked against them; the little man never gets ahead. Nothing is ever their fault. They refuse to ever accept responsibility for their current circumstances.

Both groups of people made a choice. One group chose to take responsibility for their lives; the other group chose to blame others for their problems. Consequences followed each choice.

No matter where you are today in your life, it can get better. If your life is good, it can become great. If your life isn’t what you wish it was, it can improve. You just have to make the changes necessary for it to get better. The choice is yours.

The next several days I want to continue this theme so I hope you’ll join me each day.

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