This is a line from a Jason Isbell song and it really got me thinking. What life am I living? Am I living a life that I chose or the life the chose me? What does that even mean? It means, did I consciously make the decisions that got me where I am today? Have I been living a life that has been on autopilot? Or have I been living a life where I allowed other’s choices to determine the life that I am living? I think I am a mixture of all three. I have made certain choices that have gotten me to where I am today. There are certain decisions that I have made that have made my life easier by setting up certain choices as habits and therefore I don’t really need to think about the little things in life like exercise and brushing my teeth. But, I have also allowed the decisions of others determine my path.
What path is the best? It depends on what you are looking for out of life. If you want a life where you have control over where you are and the success you achieve, then you need to take control of your choices. That means making decisions today that are not only good for you today but also the you of tomorrow. You need to know what decisions are best to make habits in order to help you make life easier, better, healthier, etc. like making exercise and healthy eating part of your daily life so there is no room for negotiation. If you are the type of person who does not like taking responsibility for your success and/or failure then by all means, allow others to make decisions for you but know that by allowing this to take place you have still made the decision to live a life that you chose but just have no control over.
Taking control of one’s life is difficult though it may sound easy. It takes a lot of introspection to understand who you really are and what decisions are best for you. It also requires strength to put off immediate gratification to experience benefit in the future. It requires a lot of foresight to know not only where do you want to be today but where you want to be tomorrow and understand the steps you need to take to get there. It is important to understand that every step or action that you take or don’t take lay the foundation for where you will end up. You need to understand the true meaning of cause and effect and be willing to take full responsibility for both successes and failures.
It may seem easier at times to allow others to make decisions, especially the hard ones, since we spent the first 18 years or more of our lives having someone else make all the tough decisions but were you really living the life that was authentic to you? Were you living the life that you were meant to live? Or were you living up to the expectations that others had for you? Were you living a life, though it may have been good, that reflected where you wanted to go in the future or where others wanted you to go?
The time is now to take control of your life and start demanding and expecting more of yourself. It is time to start taking responsibility for your life and in order to do that you have to start small. You have to start with taking responsibility for the decisions that you make and then move onto making smart decisions that benefit you. By taking control of the decisions that you make you are deciding to be an active participant in your life and your are controlling the today that you experience and the future you will enjoy. Live life with purpose and know that who you are and what you have are enough to take you there.