Our lives are the sum of our choices. Each choice that we make, whether it is big or small, shapes and determines our lives. The most obvious result of our choices is the impact it has on us. But our choices can also have an impact the lives of others, especially our loved ones.
When you drop a pebble into the water, it creates a ripple expansion that radiates outwards. Similarly, the impact from our choices also radiates outwards, affecting the world around us for better or for worse. Good choices bring joy and blessings into our lives. Poor choices on the other hand, haunt us internally as regrets and externally as problems. Hence, we must be careful of the choices we make and the impact they have.
The Delayed Impact of Personal Choices
If the impact of our choices were immediate, we would think twice before we act. For instance, we would not think of placing our hand in the fire because of the burn and pain. But many of our choices do not have an immediate or obvious impact. As a result, we make choices without thinking too much of the consequences. By the time the full impact of our choice hits us in the future, it is too late for regrets.
Take the striking example where Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with his housekeeper. Although he made a poor choice over a decade ago, it is only now that his deed has caught up with him. Due to his folly, everything in his life has grinded to a halt. Instead of working on new projects and enjoying the love of his family, he has to struggle to cope with a needless problem. And this is not the end, but only the beginning, as he will have to pay for the choice he made for years to come. But what is truly regrettable is how it has changed the life of his family forever. They too have to cope with the fallout from his choice. The most obvious change is the upheaval caused by his impending divorce from his wife. If Arnold had realized the true impact of his choice earlier, he would have acted differently.
The Delayed Impact of Collective Choices
But our choices may not just affect the people around us. There are also choices that we make as a collective whole that can have a greater impact than we imagine. The harm that the choices of many can cause is great. This is especially so when we are not aware of the full impact of our collective actions. It can set in motion a chain of events that may be too hard to stop by the time we choose to act. If the impact from a bad personal decision can cause great upheaval in our lives, the impact from a bad collective decision can threaten the very survival of the planet. Many lives could be at stake although not all of us will be aware of it.
Take the ecological damage that we are doing to the Earth. Individually, our actions and choices do not cause much harm. But as a collective whole, we can cause the extinction of many species that will upset the delicate balance of nature. For example, if the coral reefs become extinct, it will affect many of the coastal communities, which will lose a source of food and tourism. This could in turn set in motion a chain of events that will affect the rest of the world. Yet because the changes do not affect our daily lives in an obvious way, we do not give it much thought. By the time we become aware of the danger, it may be too late. Future generations might end up having to clean up the mess we leave behind. Worse still, they will suffer for it.
Even so, the choices of many can also be beneficial. We can all work together to change and choose wisely. This is important because we are essentially on the same planet. Each choice and action that we make can affect the lives of others as well. Therefore, it is important to give our choices some thought to ensure it is not only beneficial to us, but to others as well.
Making Choices with Awareness
What can we do to make better choices? We have to broaden our awareness of the impact of our choices. Doing so can make a big difference between a good and a bad choice. But how do we go about increasing our awareness? The answer is simple. Knowledge is power. We have to educate ourselves about the impact of our choices to increase our awareness. We have to consider the possible consequences that our choices and actions can cause. Being aware of the impact of our choices will lead to better decision making.
To access this awareness, we have to ask ourselves two questions before we make any important decision.
1. If I make this choice or continue along this path, how are events likely to develop?
2. What kind of impact will my choice have on my loved ones, the world and me now and in the future?
The answers to these questions should give us a greater awareness of the situation. It will remind us to think of the big picture before we act. It will also alert us to the signs of the times so that we know if a choice will lead to success or not. If the choice is beneficial and has no harm, we can proceed with peace of mind. But if there is the danger of harm to others or the world, then we must think again before we act. To do otherwise will lead to regrets in the future.
There is no fate but what we make. We have immense power to shape our lives and the world around us through our choices and actions. But such power is a double-edged sword that we must use wisely. If we abuse this power with poor choices, it will return to haunt us in the future. These problems will not only affect us, but our loved ones as well. While we may survive some problems, we might not survive the ones that matter the most and this could cost us dearly. So think before you act and choose wisely. This is the best way to live an inspired life in harmony with change.
What are your views on the impact of our choices? Can you think of any other ways to increase our awareness when it comes to making choices? How do you make choices? Do share your thoughts and comments below!