No one ever wastes time. Time is a human concept. Time cannot be managed, it will pass regardless of what you are doing whilst it is doing what it does. What gets wasted is ‘opportunity’. However, no one has been able to tell you what the opportunities are or where to find them. And what we do from day to day will define how we spend our future. If you are thinking about what you are going to do, you are still not doing it. If you get started with something, and you don’t see it through to completion, you have wasted an opportunity, NOT your time.
I’ve been thinking a lot, over the past couple of years, about The Power of Choice.
What is the power of choice?
It is the knowledge, and acceptance, that my present circumstances, whatever they may be, are the direct accumulation of every single decision I ever made. It is also the knowledge and understanding that if I don’t make different choices; decide to do things even just a little differently, I will continue to experience more of the same. Most importantly, The Power of Choice is taking control, even hijacking, your thought processes in order to break the cycle of repeated behaviours that keep us stuck.
Our behaviours and habits cannot be changed just by making a one-time decision. Neither can they be changed just by observing them, noting them as undesirable and waiting for the magic to happen.
Change happens somewhere in between these two – and goes far beyond both. Let me explain:
One day you realise that your, hmm, let’s say, fizzy drinks intake is far higher than you are comfortable with. This is where you notice that something might need to change, and you tell yourself, “I need to stop drinking so much of that stuff!” Still, nothing changes. And, in fact, you might even be pouring yourself a drink of fizzy stuff as this is going on. Right there, your subconscious mind will kick into gear and start looking for solutions to the ‘too much fizzy drink problem’. Moreover, the following day, you could be pouring yourself another fizzy one and your subconscious will remind you that you’d made the ‘too much’ observation. This is where the guilt feelings come from – and where the so-called ‘battle’ begins.
So, eventually, the ‘problem’ becomes too much for your conscious mind and you make a decision, in that moment, “As of NOW, I will stop drinking fizzy drinks.” Yet, two or three days later, or maybe just a few hours later, you find yourself with another fizzy drink in your hand. So you shrug it off and you tell yourself that you’ll do better next time; you’ll deal with it later. And ten years down the line, you’re still drinking fizzy drinks, your teeth are beginning to rot and you’re 20 pounds heavier than when you first noticed that your fizzy drink intake was too high for your own liking.
What is the problem here?
Firstly, let me say that the fizzy drink problem in this example can be replaced by almost anything. Whether it’s cream cakes, staying up late at night or anything else that is or can be habitually problematic.
What’s happening is your inability to utilise the power of choice. The so-called ‘inner battle’ will rage on until you realise that there is no ‘battle’, there is only choice. And that choice, the decision that has to be made, has to be made several, maybe even hundreds of times, every single day. You see, the human brain is designed to ensure our survival. When the brain perceives ‘the unknown’ which, by definition, is uncertainty, it will always try to make you choose the familiar – the habitual response, or “bad habit” or addiction.
To hijack the thought process you have about 4 or 5 seconds. If in that few seconds, you do not decide on some alternative, you will continually choose the learned behaviours. You will eat steak and cake, instead of fruit and root. You will choose not to go to bed early because sticking with the familiar feels more comfortable, even whilst feeling uneasy about the decision. You will continue to drink fizzy beverage because you have been unable to identify a ‘suitable’ alternative, because water is flavourless and boring, maybe.
The trick to utilising the power of choice is to know deeply that you always have a choice. Always. Every single moment of every single day, in all that you do, you can choose to do things differently. Couple that deep knowledge with a razor-sharp awareness that opportunity rests in that 4-second window mentioned above.
The knowledge that you always have a choice, coupled with that razor-sharp awareness that opportunity exists in any given moment is the beginning of self-discipline. When you are able to make a split-second decision, based on the
knowledge conviction that one way leads back to too much fizzy drink, steak and cake and the other way leads to healthier teeth, a slimmer waistline and a healthy circadian cycle, then, provided that you continually decide on the healthier options, you can be said to be self-disciplined.
I hasten to add here that I have not got this down to rights. My sleep pattern is all over the place, I have a missing tooth and I am overweight, (slightly). 🙂
Knowledge is not enough. You have to ACT on your knowledge and begin the change. Now, if I don’t choose to follow through with the information that I am putting down here, and I continue to make the same choices that I have always made, then that makes me wrong on so many levels. I, therefore, invite you to join me on a journey of transformation through the Power of Choice.
Comment on this post and let me know what you like, what you would change about what I’ve written here and what you disagree with.
What about you; what habits do you have that cause you, or have the potential to cause you, problems?
P.S. The first half, (roughly), of the song entitled “Time” by Pink Floyd which was the fourth track on the 1973 album “The Dark Side of the Moon” warns quite well of the dangers of 10 years of “later”.
Ticking away the moments
That make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours
In an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground
In your home town
Waiting for someone or something
To show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine
Staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long
And there is time to kill today
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun
~ Part of the lyrics from Pink Floyd’s Time