COMMENTARY: Control Your Choices and Control Your Life

Our choices reveal our character, but more importantly they shape our character. Thus, the more aware we become of the choices we make every single day — choices about our attitudes, words, actions and reactions — the more power we have over our own destiny.

Senator Bob Bennett of Utah said, “Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make . . . . If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.”

It’s true. When we accept moral responsibility for our choices, we take charge of our lives. Yet one of the most common rationalizations for moral compromise is the claim that “I had no choice.” Executives or school administrators who cheat to protect their jobs, athletes who take illegal performance-enhancing drugs to stay competitive, and employees who resort to lying to get what they want frequently convince themselves that they were forced to do whatever they did.

This self-delusion of powerlessness is particularly strong in teenagers who struggle to deal with hormone-intensified impulses and emotions that can create moods and urges that seem beyond control.

Despite the power of intense desire, fear and fury, we always have the power to choose what we think, say and do — even when we’re under tremendous pressure, and even when we don’t like our options.

Like a ship without a captain to steer it, when we hide behind a self-justifying illusion of helplessness, our lives move in aimless and random directions and sometimes run aground. If we take control, we have control.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 3

  1. Beyond our choices to refrain from cheating, are the constant choices we make about what we see (particularly in media) and read. It is a truism that what goes in determines what comes out. If we choose to go into a dicey website or read a filthy book, we are condoning and/or accepting the behaviors that created such sites. Repeated desensitizing choices allow us to accept further poor behaviors on the parts of ourselves as well as others. But the reverse is true also. Feeding intellectually and emotionally good stimulating material into the brain allows our minds to think on higher planes, and makes the good choices progressively easier.

  2. Pingback: COMMENTARY 796.4: Control Your Choices and Control Your Life - Occupied Wall Street

  3. Michael,
    I think your point is exactly right which brings me to the question of why when someone has committed a horrible crime like murder; why is it the defense attorney always tries to show I bad their life was growing up, so many people have had terrible childhoods and broken homes yet they grow up and become very good hard working people. We are indeed responsible for our actions no matter what!!! That in my opinion also applies to working for a living our government and for sure hard working tax payers should not be responsible for those who are physically able to work just chose not to and demand that someone has to take care of them; regardless of how disadvantaged they claim to be.

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