The Tao of Success, Part 4; Choose

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked.
‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the Cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Our lives are full of choices good and bad. To utter the phrase, “I had no choice” is to simply proclaim that you chose what you thought was best at that moment. It was not necessarily what you should have chosen, what was right to choose or what would have been better had you given it a little more thought.

I recall listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer on CD a couple of years ago proclaiming that most of what occurs in your life is the direct result of choices you have made. At the time I thought he was nuts. How could everything that happened to me be solely a result of my choices? In my logical mind that equated to making me one hundred percent responsible for everything. How can that be? Other people have free will and choices to make and when they make choices that affect me then how can what happens be my fault?

Then one day I had an epiphany; one of many to come although I did not know it at the time. The epiphany was this; there is no such thing as a car accident! It doesn’t sound related, does it? Yet it is. Think about this for a moment. If you drive down the road talking on your cell phone, texting, (my first grade teacher wants to know when that word became a verb), or looking at a video you made a choice to pay attention to that device and not your driving. If the squeaking front wheel on your car makes you nuts and yet you do nothing about it, that is a choice which may later cause you to slam into that stopped school bus. Choose to drive through a snowstorm to get to your girl/boyfriend’s house and slide off the road into a ditch. Was the snowstorm the problem or was the choice to drive in it? Choose to drive around with minimum, or worse, no insurance coverage and then hit a bicyclist on the road. Is it the bicyclist’s fault for being there or is the choice to not cover your driving that lands you a lawsuit for damages and injury? Choose to drive on a balding tire. Is it the tire that causes the ensuing crash or is it the choice not to replace it right now? Everything that happens in a car crash can be traced back to a choice, whether it is the person who leaves the bar drunk and chooses to drive, or the person who chooses to not maintain their vehicle and yes, the person who chooses distracted driving. Think about it carefully for a moment and you will readily see what I mean.

Here’s another perfect example. I know someone who got into a lot of legal trouble and was facing six years in prison, all over a choice he made. One day he chose to get into a verbal altercation with three women. They then thought it was funny to call the police and tell them he had viciously attacked them with a knife as retribution. He was in a heap of trouble and under arrest before the afternoon was out. For years afterward he would gladly tell anyone who would listen the story of his victimization by the women, the cops, the justice system and even the lawyer he initially hired to defend him. Yes, the women falsely accused him and filed false charges. Yes, the police helped them do it, lied about it, did everything possible to see him in jail and then developed unexplained memory lapses at trial. And yes, it cost this person over eight thousand dollars to defend himself, yet one day he had an epiphany. He suddenly realized that if he had made the simple choice to keep his window up and his mouth closed, none of this would ever have happened!

Choices are a powerful thing. They will, of a certainty, steer you down one path or another. What path are you on right now and what choice(s) did you make to get there? Are you making choices that will get to where you want to go in life or are you making choices that seem the easiest at the moment or that make you feel the most comfortable right now? Are you making excuses about poor choices to justify them in your head?

I chose, long ago, to be what I was supposed to be. I chose to pursue that which I love to do and to share it with those who would have some appreciate for it or some small impact on their lives. That choice never made me uncomfortable. It made a lot of people around me uncomfortable. My family and girlfriends had a favorite phrase. “Why don’t you get a real job?” When there were hard times and the bear was eating me instead of me eating the bear, people around me would invariably point out that it was because of my bad choices.

Choose! If you want to lose weight, don’t want, do, choose. If you want to be a better golfer, choose. If you wish to be a wealthy, famous writer, don’t wish, choose! You know what it takes. You know the path. Sometimes knowing the path, or thinking we know the path is the exact obstacle to the choice. Dr. Dyer says, “If you think the way will be difficult, it will be.” I agree wholeheartedly. You are choosing that. You are choosing and programming the journey. It will be difficult. It will take a long time. I will not have the time I need to do this.

Choose! Choose otherwise! We do not have time. We do not possess time. Time is time. What you choose to do with it is what matters. The choices you make will put you on a path, a path of your choosing. Know where you want to go and choose.

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About Ethan Holmes

Ethan Holmes currently resides in Northern Arizona and he is the author of seven published books; Earth's Blood, The Keystone, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes, Shorts and Other Laundry, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, Water. and his new novella, The Town of Perfect. When he is not writing Ethan is also a professional freelance nature photographer.
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