We design our lives through the power of choice
The power of choice is a power that can never be taken away from us regardless of circumstances. But sometimes life doesn’t feel that way. We feel as though we are victims or bystanders watching our life happen to us instead of stepping up and taking the wheel of our own ship.
It’s in these moments that the power of choice can save us. When the craziness volume of the world gets turned up to rock-star levels, remind yourself that you can choose to turn it down. When you understand that spending more time with your family and less time stressing about what someone you don’t know is posting on their Instagram feed, remind yourself that you can always put the smartphone down and tune in to your significant other or child. When something tragic happens in the world and you find yourself glued to the news for hours, remind yourself you can turn that news off, not to avoid, deny or escape what is happening, but to instead allow yourself to deeply experience the hurt and then maybe try to comfort someone you know, in real life.
In a world where we are told that we are more connected than ever,
we often feel more disconnected and isolated than ever before.
It’s time to change that and here’s how.
Step 1 – Get Persnickety About Influences
Remember how I said you could choose to turn down the volume, put down your phone, or turn away from the news to sit with your own feelings? Those are all choices of influence. When you start to pay attention to what you allow into your mind, you may be shocked, or embarrassed, or exasperated. This are good things. Because even though they don’t feel good, they serve as a wakeup call.
Influence = power and no one has more power over your mind than you do
When you start to be the leading influence in what you allow into your mind, through conscious choices each and every day, you’ll not only be more powerful, you’ll feel more powerful. It may not happen at first because you’ll constantly be catching yourself wandering off into distractions, but over time, your power of influence will grow, just like a muscle. So grow that persnickety muscle like a champ and stay vigilant.
Step 2 – Stop Running
Exercising the power of choice by choosing what you allow to influence your mind may force you to look in the mirror and get real about squirmy things you’d rather not face. These are the things we’d rather keep hidden from others. Maybe we don’t agree with popular opinion on certain things like politics, lifestyle, or religion. Maybe we have a cool new idea we want to share that would solve a problem, but we’re too afraid to share it for fear of being shunned by our current peers. Here’s the problem with running
To connect and collaborate with others, you must stop running, take a deep breath,
and then speak your truth with kindness and compassion.
It’s called being vulnerable, and it makes you just like everyone else: human.
There is a time and place to reveal your truth, and it is up to you to gauge when and where you should be vulnerable. But remember this; the number one way to connect and collaborate with others is to let them see your humanity. It doesn’t mean that everyone you meet will become a connection but to find people you can trust and collaborate with, at some point you have to start being yourself. And not just the sometimes one-sided self-portrayed on social media, but the real you, the one with challenges, and heartbreak, sorrow, and flaws.
Step 3 – Live by Gandalf’s Wise Words
Because the power of choice cannot be taken away from us, it invites us to make the leap and that is – to take personal responsibility for the one thing that is most precious of all. Time. No one has more influence over your mind than you do. You can choose what influences it. You can choose to stop worrying about “saving time.” Saving time is impossible, it simply means finding ways to spend time differently or more efficiently because time cannot be saved, it can only pass moment to moment never to be returned to you. Instead, start heeding Gandalf’s words:
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
This is the great mission of life. Deciding. Deciding to connect and collaborate more. Deciding to balance connecting and collaborating in person with connecting and collaborating online. Deciding to turn down the volume, turn up the inner quiet and listen. Deciding what to do with the time that is given to you each and every day instead of letting the day or circumstances or others decide for you.
Deciding to take personal responsibility for your time will not be easy. It will require you to be ruthless and yet communicate that ruthlessness to others with kindness and compassion, even when you know they won’t be happy. It will require you to make hard decisions, face changes you’d rather avoid, and have conversations you’d rather not have. But it will be worth it. Connecting and collaborating with the right people always is.
Remembering that the power of choice is always within us is the first step in actively connecting and collaborating with others. By focusing on what we allow into our thoughts (and hearts), we free up valuable time and energy to be and do the things that are most meaningful to us. By being vulnerable and taking responsibility for our time, we become the masters of our ship instead of being aimlessly tossed about by the winds of change. This moment is a new opportunity; how will you choose to seize it?