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.