You Always Have A Choice

You Always Have A Choice

You are very proud of your progress so far; you’ve been working step by step towards your goal. You prepped for that competition, the audition you spent a month trying to get, or the job interview for your dream job, when all of a sudden your dreams are shattered because they said “no.”

Who wouldn’t be bummed? After all, it’s easy to feel victimized, to fall into that soul-crushing shaming, personal shaming, (“I’m not good enough,”) or blaming folks around you, (“How could they do this to me?”). Hard feelings—even anger—is natural, but getting caught up in shame or blame sabotages your efforts to move forward, letting you see yourself as a victim. In my experience, personal shaming behaviors lead to studied helplessness, and blaming others ends up giving control to others, both of which weaken you, undermining your momentum and keeping you from attaining your goals. Heck, in many cases it and can even lead to depression.

You simply must try and remember that no matter what happens, you always have a choice. As Viktor Frankl discovered, despite enduring the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, the Nazis weren’t ever able to take away his choice of how to respond. With a sufficient “why,” a man can survive any what or how. He survived; he wrote his now famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and developed a completely new school of psychotherapy—Logotherapy—to help people realize the importance of choice in their lives. To help them discover their meaning.

You simply must try and

remember that no matter

what happens,

you always have a choice.

Shakespeare’s plays regularly and dramatically demonstrate the importance of choice. Faced with adversity, Shakespeare’s tragic heroes frequently surrender to shame, blaming themselves as did Hamlet, or blaming outside influences. They willingly surrender to fate as did Romeo, or too hastily blame others—usually the wrong people—as did Othello. These choices unsurprisingly lead to catastrophe. Yet at the same time, Shakespeare’s comic heroes demonstrate a greater presence of mind than their tragic brethren. Rosalind in “As You Like It” and Viola in “Twelfth Night” are amazingly imaginative and quick-witted, always finding fresh opportunities to bring greater degree of peace to their worlds. They display what the psychologist Albert Bandura called “self-efficacy,” which is the certainty that our selections can make a difference.

So give this some thought; the next time you face disillusionment, don’t get bound up in shaming and blaming. Ask yourself this simple question: “What do I want?” then look for all the ways to advance towards your goal. You have lost the chance to control what has just happened, but you can control how you respond, what you think, and what you do about what you think

Know this for sure—the choices are there; you simply need to decide which one you want.


Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.