I have choice. In 2010 I was invited by a CEO in Singapore to offer a brief reflection on this interesting word: Choice. When I take time to reflect upon this concept I find myself generating many questions and I will be sharing some of these in the brief piece which follows. Gentle Reader, perhaps there will be enough variety so that you will choose a question or two to respond to or perhaps you will choose to engage one or two in a searching conversation with another.
I have choice. To choose means that I select freely after consideration. As I sit here and reflect upon this definition a number of questions emerge into my consciousness: How often do I choose? How many times a day do I actually choose? During the past hour what have I chosen? Does it matter whether I am aware of choosing? Can I really choose if I am not aware? How much awareness can I stand anyway? I pause and then become aware of more questions that are finding their way into my consciousness: What is the effect of my choosing upon myself? What is the effect of my choosing upon others? Do I accept, or is it ‘do I believe,’ that choice is covered by the skin of responsibility? What motivates me when it comes to making a choice? What is the motivation that is the life-blood that feeds and sustains choice and that keeps responsibility supple, flexible and healthy? What is the motivation that infects the life-blood with a cancer that kills both choice and responsibility?
I have choice. As a human being I am a living paradox. I have the potential for great good and I have the potential for great evil. I have virtues, like integrity, wisdom, courage, compassion, and love, which I choose to bring to my world. I have vices, like deception, culpable ignorance, cowardice, resentment and spite, which I also choose to bring to my world. How aware am I when I choose to bring one of these virtues or one of these vices to my world? To what extent do I believe that the virtue or vice I bring to my world nurtures or depletes me and all those I directly touch and many more that I indirectly touch? Why do I choose to bring this virtue or that vice to my world – what motivates me to choose one over the other?
I have choice. My conduct, what I choose to enact each moment, is a reflection of my choice? Or is it? To what extent can I claim that my conduct occurs out of habit or as a reaction to a stimulus? To what extent is my conduct rooted in logical, rational reasoning? To what extent is my conduct rooted in my emotions? Does it matter? Do I care? Should I care if I don’t? To what extent is my conduct truly rooted in my selecting freely after consideration? To what extent does my conduct reinforce future choices? To what extent does my conduct support my awareness of my choices? To what extent does my conduct feed a virtue or nurture a vice?
I have choice. To what extent do I have an obligation to learn more and more about who I am and to learn more and more about who I am choosing to become? To what extent do I have an obligation to examine my life so that I know what motivates me at the core of who I am? To what extent do I have an obligation to reflect upon my choices so that I will learn more about the ‘me’ that impacts the many ‘yous’ I meet each day? How can I help others grow and develop more fully if I am not aware of how I engage, or refuse to engage, choice? Do I tell those I am entrusted with helping to develop, ‘Do as I say, not as I do?’ Can I ask those I am entrusted with helping to develop, perhaps especially those who are considered to be leaders, to examine the choices they make without examining the choices I make – and still act ethically?
I have choice. Do I choose to go it alone or do I choose to commit to being a life-long searcher and learner as a member of a community of service; a community that is committed to helping co-create healthier individuals, teams and organizations and that is ultimately committed to helping co-create a better world? How much choice do I really want?
I have a choice.