On Career Development: Mastering Choice

I remember when I did something foolish as a child and realized I would get in trouble for it I would say pointing to my partner in mischief, “he made me do it!”  I also recall blaming others for my anger or hurt feelings with such words as “she made me so angry!”  I still hear that reasoning from my own children as justification for their actions.

I have since learned the powerful axiom that we have the power to act, not to be acted upon.  No one makes you do or feel anything.  What you do or feel is your own choice usually in response to something you saw or heard.  If you feel angry or inferior in response, it is because you chose to feel that way.

A powerful example of learning to master choice is Viktor Frankyl who survived life in a concentration camp in World War II by understanding that the SS guards could take things away from him physically, but could not take over his mind or his emotions.  Here are a few quotes from his book Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said it well, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Don’t consent to feeling inferior.  Choose your attitude.  Choose your response.  Choose greatness.

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