You can be anything you choose to be.
That’s a statement that resonated in my mind back in the latter months of 2015, and it still does. I was going through some rough patches, academic challenges precisely, and I was losing the battle in my mind. Should I quit or should I keep going, to what end is this, can I do it, is it worth it? I had questions I couldn’t get answers to at the time… Or, let me say, I got answers, but just wasn’t convinced by them.
I had developed the fear of dropping out of school and serious low self-esteem because I felt I wasn’t good enough to cope through school. For someone who had always excelled academically until university came, that was not a terrain I knew how to navigate. So, I withdrew into myself, instead of dealing with my fear and seeking help. I succumbed to the notion that I just wasn’t bright enough to cope in my department, not to think of excelling there.
I can’t remember exactly where or how the words came to reiterate in my mind, it’s probably something I had heard repeatedly from one of the biggest influence in my life or something I had picked from constant reading of inspirational books. Either way, I’m indebted to those words. “You can be anything you choose to be.”
They played in my mind so much that it became a mantra for me at the time. I personalized it. Yeah.
It not only encouraged me, but it also pushed me. It instilled the energy I needed to forge ahead.
I can be anything I chose to be. I can do anything I chose. I can learn anything I want.
Understanding it in the light of the scriptures, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), fired it up in my spirit.
While setbacks or failures tend to make us doubt our abilities and capacity for success, understanding that life is a process would better equip us with the confidence to forge ahead despite the hard knocks.
We have all it takes to get started in the direction of our choosing. Dr. Suess reiterates this in his words, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” So, you’ve got the brain, use it. You’ve got the eye, use it. You’ve got hands and legs, use it. We got all it takes to be all we choose to be.
Finally, Steve Harris, the Nigerian Life and Business Strategist, has a popular saying that, “it’s not what you do not have that limits you, it is what you have but do not know how to use.” We have what we can use to get started in the direction of our dreams, we only need to realize what we have already and then learn to use them to achieve our goals.
There is no stopping a mind that is made up. So, decide what you want. What do you need to do to get to the destination of your choice? What do you need to learn, what habit do you need to cultivate, what attitude do you need to hold and live by and who do you need to meet and talk to?
Take the necessary action towards your dream.
You can achieve whatever goal you set your mind to.
As I laid on my bed ruminating on the happenings around me, I was reminded once again of one of the greatest truths about life. “Our life is a function of our daily choices”. The choices we make define who we are. Not our birthplace or the heritage we inherited from our parents, but what we choose our lives to be. Every single defining moment in our lives is marked by choices.
When I’m faced with a student or any individual who needs counseling or a piece of advice, one of the very first questions I ask is, “what do you want?” or I bluntly ask, “Do you want to get better?” Why?
I’ve realized that as much as I’m willing to help others, the choice to be better is simply theirs to make not mine. People might pull and push us; the media, our parents and peer groups, colleagues and elders within the society, everyone dishes opinions about what we should do with our lives, but in the end, the final decision is always ours to make. Choices cannot be forced down someone else’s throat, because if it were, then it would no longer be a choice but terrorism.
Life dishes us some very hard knocks, alright; and we equally get some amazing deals we never bargained for. These two possibilities should however not make us feel powerless or out of control about our own fate, because, in the end, we still have to decide how we receive these possibilities. Do we stay knocked down or do we rise? Are we grateful for the opportunities or are we conceited?
Like the popular saying, “If life offers you a lemon, make lemonades”. We always have a choice not to swallow everything life throws our way just as it comes. We have a choice to make it better for ourselves and garnished to our taste.
Hypothetically speaking, what if life offers you nothing? Like absolute emptiness? Would you just take it, would you stay down and accept defeat? I don’t know about you, but I really do not like lemons that much. If I’m offered lemons, I would most likely reject them and request apples or coconuts. Why? I know what I want and I do not settle for less.
We should apply the same technique to life. When faced with seemingly impossible situations, we should not settle for it as “amuwa olorun (God’s doing)” and be complacent. Rather, we should leave that state and endeavour to achieve what we really want.
We are not powerless and out of control on the path of life. In fact, we have all the cards, even the choices of how to play our lucky breaks and the hard knocks.
No one can be held responsible for how our lives turn out but our individual self. We decide our paths.
The choices we made yesterday, is reflected in our lives today and the choices we make today would be played out in our tomorrow.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life so that you and your descendants might live!”
Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT
What are your thoughts on choice; are we the major actors of our lives or are we bystanders tossed to and fro by fate?