You Have a Choice

When we’re in a dire situation, it’s easy to forget the barrage of choices we used to acknowledge — finding a better job, running to our families, asking help from our most trusted friends. The list goes on and on.

Complains and blames, then, become our new mantras: 

  • I hate doing this, but I have no choice. My parents are poor…”
  • “I can’t do it. I don’t have the talent…”
  • “If only I could…” 

Ugh! It feels shitty. (Oh please, don’t get me started. I don’t want to remember my shitty days.)

Truth is: Just like most people, I’m still practicing not to complain and blame. And to only choose the things I love doing.

But I have to admit. It’s hard.

The question is, do we have a choice? How do we know if it’s the right choice? What are the risks involved if we follow our intuition?

I don’t have the answer to these questions. But in times like this, I ruminate and review one of my favorite life philosophies to see a new perspective. Here it is:

If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing and you’ve been doing it for a very long time, stop it.

Easier said than done, yes. And for others who are in a challenging situation like being in a job they hate, it’s hard to quit because their families rely on them, or because the company needs their expertise, or because their relatives or society expect them to act that way.

We have different situations, different stories. And there’s no one-size-fits-all life template for everyone. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a choice.

Truth is, choices never run out especially in the age of information. It’s just that, we’re afraid to choose a new or an unconventional option because we fear that it may not work.

It is fear, most of the time, controls us.

(Yes it’s just a goddamn cliché. But really, clichés are mostly true.)

Fear of being jobless because we think we’re incapable to do other things and we lack the skills or the experience to apply for a new job, or maybe start our own business.

Fear of losing the privilege provided by our employers so we stick to the company even though our job isn’t aligned with our passions and purpose. We hate it.

Fear of being condemned by our family, or relatives, or the community we belong because of doing extraordinary things, which they think weird or impossible.

I’ve learned it the hard way. And at times, I fail to discern fear from facts. But I know for sure that I have the freedom to think and choose, and also, make decisions that favor my overall well-being such as health, happiness, and freedom, which are top priorities.

And this has served as my metric in every decision I make. If I do this, would it lead to my growth as a person? Would it risk my health? Would it jeopardize my freedom to spend time with my loved ones, pursue my passions, create, and explore?

Although sometimes, it’s okay to do things you hate and sacrifice your happiness for the sake of others — especially if it’s love.

Sooner or later, however, you’ll realize that your time is limited and the only thing you want is to live life the way you want it to be.

And when that day comes, only two choices left: (1) Continue living in a situation you hate; (2) Live the life you want to live.

Remember, the moment you wake up in the morning, your time diminishes. You will die sooner or later. The choices you — or other people — make for yourself will impact your life today and in the future.

What kind of life you really want for yourself?

“If you are not making the choices in your life, someone else is — and the results won’t be good.” — Jame Altucher

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Jade Panugan

Some interesting questions about life and human behavior: What if there's no money? Why we often feel the urge to prove that we're right and others are wrong? Why we react to things beyond our control? Why we hate? Why it's hard to be content? I don't have all the answers, do you? Let's chat.