Forrest Gump said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” Many of us float through life with that voice in our head and blame our current conditions on this simple cute line from a Tom Hanks movie. And as much as I love Tom Hanks, today I would like to suggest this statement isn’t entirely true. While a standard box of chocolates does offer an array and assortment of delicious options, one does not have to blindly bite and hope for the best. The lid, on most, contains a diagram and a description to help you pick! So, there blows THAT theory! All it takes is a moment to read, think and consider and your culinary outcome is determined by CHOICE and not CHANCE! As should be our lives.
Now I understand there are many things we have no control over. But I do believe there are times and situations where we can make conscious and informed decisions instead of drifting through life with no rudder or helm. Let’s explore this a minute.
You Can Choose Your Friends – That sounds silly, right? Of course, you chose your friends. Or did you? Often the group of people we run with just happens. We meet someone, decide to hang out, other people join in and soon you find yourself with a small posse, but are they true friends and do they align with who you are? People also change and evolve over time, and someone you invested time in years ago, may not fit with who are you today. I am not saying you should ditch your friends or publicly expel them from your life, but you should evaluate the company you keep. Choose people who uplift you, share your values, make you laugh and accept you the way you are. If someone falls out of that circle, maybe you should choose to spend less time around them.
You Can Choose Your Job – How many of you enjoy going to work? Stupid question, I know. Most of us probably don’t, but we should all strive to. Seriously, we spend a huge chunk of time at our jobs, it should be work we choose to do! Please, don’t walk off your job today, but do consider what would make you more fulfilled and satisfied. If that means going back to school, do it! If that means taking a pay cut, learn creative budgeting and see what it’s like to really love what you do for a living. Do not be reckless, but I’m all for fearless!
You Can Choose Your Relationship – Again, you are scratching your head and wondering what I’m talking about. No one forced you into your relationship (at least I hope no one is in an arranged marriage), but some of us do make this critical life decision with more roll of the dice attitude and less careful consideration. No one wants to be alone and when someone comes along to fill that void, we often sign them up without reading their terms and conditions and the fine print. It is very important to know who you are, what you want in a relationship and what you have to contribute. Be careful who you allow to fill this very important slot in your life. Too much time is wasted on bad, dead-end relationships that just cause us to re-group and start over again and again. Or, worse, stay in and expect things to change only to watch the years fly by. On the flip side, even if your partner/relationship is solid, every day we must choose to make it work. We cannot take our partner for granted or expect love to flourish without conscious, positive effort.
You Can Choose Your Dreams – Is there anyone out there with a hobby, career or pursuit that was pushed on you by a parent, teacher or partner? Did you succumb to pressure and in an effort to please held onto to it even though it doesn’t excite you? What better time then now to do something for YOU? What is your passion? What do you dream about doing? Explore that! You might not be a success overnight (or ever), but we all feel more alive when we are in OUR zone.
If you find yourself today living a life where you have ‘fallen’ into situations, relied on chance or maybe took the path of least resistance, I encourage you to take a second look. We only get one shot at this life and we need to live it ON PURPOSE. Don’t float. Don’t just exist. Don’t concede. CHOOSE to be awesome. Examine the lid to that chocolate box and make informed and precise decisions on what YOU want. Save the other pieces for someone else. Nothing has to be wasted, as we are all as individual as those tasty nuggets!
Live your life BRILLANTLY and…
Hope With Abandon!