Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Choices We Make

One of the holiday traditions I have maintained since I was a child was to watch some version of the Christmas Carol. As a matter of fact, I think I have seen all of them. When I was younger, I was intrigued (and a little frighten) about the ghosts visitation and how they helped Scrooge to become a better person. Interesting, each time I watch the story, I come away with a little bit more enlightenment. This year the enlightenment was my own proneness to linear thinking.
I think most of us assume that Scrooge turned out be a rather crotchety and dishearten individual because of his relationship with his father. In other words, Scrooge’s father was the cause of Scrooge being an unhappy and stingy person especially during what should be one of the most joyous and generous times of the year. However, this year it occurred to me that Scrooge’s predicament was a classic example of multicausality.  
The notion of multicausality stems from our realization that there are many influences that impact us. Although we may have a negative experience, we choose how we respond to it. Individuals with very similar backgrounds or personal histories may exhibit very different attitudes and behaviors because of the choices they make. Our personal history is made up many bifurcations….the choices we make (sometimes without much thought), and the consequences we experience.
Scrooge became the person he was because of one of the choices he made….namely, his relationship with money. He chose money-making as a priority. The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present provided him with a glimpse on how his choice-making (somewhat unconscious) had resulted in his being a rather unhappy person. The Ghost of Christmas Future showed him what would possibly happen if he did not change his ways. The choice was his to make again!!!
Many of us notoriously start the New Year with resolutions because we see this as an opportunity to make a better and more intentional choice. However, we may not have a good appreciation for how we got to where we are and unfortunately, there are no ghosts to help us more fully understand ourselves and what we really need to do differently. This may be one reason that most of us abdicate our resolutions by March and fall back into our default behaviors. Sometime we need help to examine our past choices and to make better choices to get a different outcome.
I would suggest engaging a coach to help you sort out what you need to change based on the choices you have made in the past that are interfering with where you really want to be in your present and future life. You have the opportunity to not only choose but to design how you want to be. It is never too late to change as so dramatically demonstrated by our friend Scrooge. Remember, all who wander are not lost! 

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