Jun 232011
Ripples by Robin_24

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.

Coral Reefs by See Monterey

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.

Children at Play by Strocchi

Taking Action

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! :)

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  12 Responses to “The Devastating Impact of Choices”

  1. Changes… I am surrounded by changes, choices, that I need to make. I am finding it hard to ask myself the right questions. So I am looking for as much knowledge as I can.

    I worry for my children and their children, when I see what is happening to this beautiful planet on which we live. As you said, people are not aware of the result of their actions. The only immediate result I know of now, is that of a carelessly thrown cigarette out the car window… otherwise it takes years for results of actions taken today to show. Here in Florida, that is a big No-No. The state is covered with fires.

    A medicine is often touted as a cure, a miracle drug, but down the road it is learned that more harm comes from it than that original ‘good.’ I could go on and on…

    My forever signature with my email is: Peace begins with each of us, as individuals. This can apply to all we do… in our effort to preserve our planet.
    Barbara recently posted..A Sort of Farewell to PhotographyMy Profile

    • Hi Barbara,

      It is sad that only when the results of our choices and actions are fully apparent like the fires in Florida, that people become more aware of what they do. Even so, it is a start to hopefully turn things around with better choices.

      I think that is a beautiful signature you have. Each of us individuals contribute to world events with the choices and actions we make. This is even more so today in our interconnected world. Since we are all on the same planet, the only way we can preserve it and live better lives is to be aware of our choices and actions.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  2. You know this post resonated for me. In my life, this is the year of consequences of choices! One of the main points I made to my kids about their choices was that their choices not only changed their own lives but also the lives of those around them. Two of my kids’ lives are changed forever because of a choice they each made without considering the consequences.

    Your article also focuses on our collective choices. Again, you are right on target. As we start to gear up for another election year next year in the US, political choices are on many minds. National healthcare choices are affecting many lives, certainly in my own family. Corporate choices affect the economy.

    We make choices individually and collectively every day. What would our lives and the world be like if we made these choices carefully and thoughfully?
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Thank You, Alfredo!My Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      I believe we could all make better choices in life, although some choices have a greater impact than others. But the need for responsibility for our choices remains nevertheless. I can imagine how the choices your kids made changed life for your family. When life hands us situations we could not prevent, all that is left to do is to cope with it as best as we can.

      Collective choices are always more troubling given the widespread impact it has. The collective choices made in the USA, given its unique status, impacts the rest of the world as well. In the end, we can only hope that we consider our choices carefully, learn from our mistakes and make the best ones for the sake of all.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  3. As I reflect upon the choices I have made and the person I am now…I can say I have a new appreciation for life as well as for myself. I chose not to wallow…but think of my life experiences as a movie, in which there is ALWAYS a wonderful ending. Doing this has attracted so many new people and experiences. I am so glad I learned this in this lifetime. Thank you for this article :)
    Kenya recently posted..Have You Asked Your Angels About ThatMy Profile

    • Hi Kenya,

      There is so much we can learn from personal reflection, especially when we see where the choices we have made has taken us. But as you rightly point out, whether we made good or bad choices, there is no point thinking too much about what could have been. The important thing is to learn and to make better choices in the future.

      In many ways movies are a reflection of life and vice versa. But it is always up to us to choose and create a wonderful ending as you say. I am glad you are aware of the power of choices. It will take you far. :)

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  4. Very profound, Irving. No doubt about it; the quality of our lives equals the quality of our commitment to make fabulous life choices. Life changed for me when I realized I was the Making Power and Moving Cause of my life. Before realizing this I was making all the right and perfect WRONG choices that led to a life of downwardly spiraling misery… all the while wailing out “woe is me.” My choice now is “WOW is me” – my acronym and personal credo for Wonderfully Obsession Winning at the game of life.
    rob white recently posted..Learn to Listen Without ListeningMy Profile

    • Hi Rob,

      This is a truly deep comment! When people realize that they are responsible for everything that goes on in their lives, it really makes a difference about how their lives turns out.

      I love your “WOW is me” credo! If we all adopted such a view of life or something close to it, we would be living richer and fuller lives.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. The day I became aware that I had choices, my life changed. I would like to know that most of my choices these days are made with the higher intent of love. I don’t succeed every time but I stay mindful about the options I have.

    It’s great that your post went beyond just a discussion on personal choices. Collectively, our choices can make a difference. I won’t want coral reefs to become extinct or wear the fur of some endangered animal. I hope to do more in playing my part as a responsible member of the human race. Thank you for such an important reminder!
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..How to Overcome Self-PityMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Making choices with the higher intent of love in mind is something worth striving for. Even if you don’t succeed every time, there is no shame in that. Because this is your goal, it is easy to bounce back even if there are occasional slips and that makes all the difference.

      If everyone were aware of collective choices like you and made a conscious effort to make better ones, the world would be a better place. We all need this important reminder.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. Irving,

    The power of choice is so instrumental in our lives and is so often not given the appropriate respect. We make decisions without thought and then are shocked by the consequences of those said actions. Imagine a man who smoked his entire life and then has the nerve to think the universe is against him when he gets lung cancer. His health was a matter of choice. He chose to smoke all of his life and his choices lead to the consequences. We have got to make sure the choices that we make move us in the direction we want to go and not bite us in the rear when the truth comes to the light. Great job again Irving.
    Frank recently posted..The Rollercoaster of LifeMy Profile

    • Hi Frank,

      Yes that is a striking example you have given about the power of choice. The challenge is to be able to foresee the consequences of each choice we make. But often we take a very short-sighted view of things and as a result, we end up facing needless problems. If only we had known earlier and made better choices…

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

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