The Power of Choice

The power of choice

The power of choice

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the power of choice.

First a quick update:

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Now, let’s talk about the power of choice.

It’s one of my favorite teachings and mantras:

Would you prefer to be right or would you prefer to be happy?  Find out more

That simple question is a reminder that in every moment we have the opportunity to choose – to choose the way we will respond.

And the way we will respond will determine our outcome.

Most of us do not realize that we have the power to choose and that we are actually making choices every moment of our lives – choices which, in turn, create a chain reaction.

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it. ” – Kevin Aucoin

It’s quite easy to respond by playing the victim.

The victim believes he has no choices; the victim believes that life simply happens to him and he fails to see how he also makes life happen.

“We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them. ” – Kahlil Gibran

Children are victims because they are powerless and have very few choices or options. As adults, we have many choices, many ways to respond to whatever happens. We are vastly more resourceful and strong than we actually think we are.

“Life is the sum of all your choices.” – Albert Camus

Stephen C. Richards PhD, is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. How did he attain this position? Was his life, a typical straight line from college student to college professor? Find out more.

As with everyone, he made choices, and choices that created results.

Richards served a 9 year sentence in US federal prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana.

He could have continued in criminal activities, but, instead, he made new choices to turn his life around and to complete college.

Richards completed a BS Degree in Sociology from UW-Madison (1986) while in prison. Upon release from prison he finished an MA in Sociology at UW-Milwaukee (1989), and then a PhD in Sociology at Iowa State University (1992).

“If someone throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it. ” – Richard Carlson

We often confuse ‘response’ with ‘reaction.’

When we react to things that happen in life, we are doing so from raw emotion, unfiltered by conscious thought or analysis of options and consequences.

When we respond to things that happen in life, we are doing so with a conscious evaluation and appraisal of all the possibilities and their consequences based on our next action and decision.

“We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda

The only way to move from ‘reaction’ to ‘response’ – from impulse to appraised action – is to observe your own behavior, consider the potential choices and consider the potential outcomes.

When we make subconscious choices (programmed reactions separate to neurological impulses) we actually become victims – victims to our own programming i.e. we react harshly to something that someone says or does because it triggers an old memory, an old emotion or pain.

Again, when we take time to observe and become aware of the ways we react to people and events in life, we become powerful; we create a planned response based on a potentially positive outcome.

“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. ” – Victor E. Frankl

John Walsh, the host and creator of “America’s Most Wanted” and now CNN’s “The Hunt” is a human rights advocate. In 1981, tragedy struck when his six-year-old son, Adam, was abducted. Sixteen days later, his severed head was found in a drainage canal more than 120 miles away from home. His other remains were never recovered, and no one was ever charged in the case.

The title of John Walsh’s 1997 book sums up the emotions he faced and experienced, and the choices he made: “Tears of Rage: From Grieving Father to Crusader For Justice: The Untold Story of the Adam Walsh Case.”

He had no choice over what happened to his son; John Walsh only had a choice about what he would do next, and whether he would react with anger and then eventually give up on life or, whether he would respond by making a conscious decision to make the best of what he has been given.

There are tough times in life, painful times in life. How one responds determines the quality of life and the outcomes.

“Heaven on earth is a choice you must make, not a place we must find.” – Wayne Dyer

We can create a new life, a life that we choose to live and enjoy.

It begins and continues with decisions, with the conscious realization that we always have options, we always have alternatives and we always have new possibilities.


Look at the choices you can make. You can choose to:

  • Seek beauty
  • Keep going
  • Take a new path
  • Forgive
  • Love
  • Persist
  • Express yourself
  • Speak your truth
  • Say no
  • Say yes
  • Lead
  • Be responsible & accountable
  • Control only what you can control
  • Change yourself
  • Say thanks
  • Be grateful
  • Enjoy the present moment
  • Dream about tomorrow
  • Let go of the past
  • Be adventurous
  • Let go of other people’s opinions
  • Approve of yourself
  • Recognize you have free will
  • Make new choices that empower and benefit you

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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