on choice

August, 2014

“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.”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

I came across the above twenty years ago. I copied it onto the black board in my bedroom. It was the first thing I saw each morning. It gave me hope. I forgave Viktor for ‘not including’ women and chose to edit it to say ‘person’ – I’m sure Viktor would’ve approved.…

I’ve been thinking about choice recently. I watch young people in my life making choices, I watch our adult responses to their choices. I watch my clients choosing to make changes in their environments and lives. I observe myself leaping to assumptions about how to behave and try to remember to ask myself why.

I used to think it was only special people, brave people who choose the ‘right’ response to their circumstances. I’d read Pollyanna, I am suspicious of spin. How can we make the right choices? Where on earth do we start?

Over the years if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that he’s right, Viktor. We can choose our own way. It’s hard to unlearn habits and ways of being that don’t do us good. It’s even harder to challenge ourselves about those ‘automatic’ attitudes. But what I’ve learned myself, and my clients constantly reinforce, is that – truthfully – it’s easier, less exhausting, more fun and oh so much more rewarding to challenge those automatic responses and to make way for change. Here are some useful questions:

  • Am I doing this because I want to or because I think I should?
  • When I look back on this moment in a week, a month, a year what advice would I give myself?

Regrettably I recall the time management trainer’s name who gifted me the following three. Her questions have helped me and my clients put things into perspective and consider our choices. You need to really listen to your answers.

  1. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
  2. Is that true?
  3. Does it matter?

None of this means I don’t think my clients are brave or special. Without exception, they are. We all are. And we all have the freedom and the right to chose our attitude to any given circumstance.

About Me

I've been helping others to create order from chaos all my life. Room to Think was born in 2013 when I asked myself ‘that’ question: “if I could choose to do anything, how would I want to spend my time when I wasn’t with my friends or family?”

on marie Kondo

It’s some time since I, together with a number of APDO buddies, had the privilege of being members of an audience hosted by a women’s magazine I’d never buy. This was an audience with the world-renowned Japanese declutterer, Marie Kondo. I still talk about that evening. It makes me smile, so I thought I’d share...

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