Choices & Success

“It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
– J.K. Rowling

As millions of other children, I read every Harry Potter book growing up.  The quote above was one sentence that really stood out to me from this entire 7-book series.  The reason I like it so much is that I believe that this quote summarizes the difference between success and failure (however you define these).  You see, I grew up knowing one thing, if I wished for something I needed to turn hope into action in order to achieve it.  My parents were huge on telling people that they could achieve anything they wanted.  They taught me to focus on the role I played in building my future, and make the choices that would help me build that future I wanted. What I’ve realized is that there is really not much more to the successes and failures in my life than that, choices made.

Every minute of the day I am faced with decisions to make.  Should I have some sweets?  Should I workout?  Should I do my laundry now, or postpone it until later?  Should I buy a new car?  Should I quit this job?  Should I follow my dream at the risk of failing?  I make dozens of decisions every minute.  I sometimes choose to think about a particularly pleasant moment of the past, or maybe a not so pleasant one.  The main realization, however, is that the person I am today is simply a representation of the choices I have made up until now.

Given this, if for any reason I have trouble with who I am right now, or can’t come to terms with an aspect of my life as it is, wouldn’t it make sense for me to reevaluate my decisions?  More importantly, wouldn’t it be wise to rethink the way I chose this path to begin with?  There is an awful lot to be said about successful people, but one thing to me is clear, in order for someone to succeed at anything the first step is to own up to their lives.  We have all met a confident man or woman that has inspired us.  These are the people who know that, no matter what their circumstances were in the past, or what they are now, they can adjust their path as necessary to live a fulfilling life.  These people don’t go around blaming others for their circumstances, they focus that extra energy in taking positive action.  This is what makes them successful, making the choice to move forward and take control of their lives, instead of choosing to believe that their circumstances have nothing to do with them, and they were just ‘blessed’ or ‘cursed’ with this life as it is.

Let’s pay attention to the choices we make and the thoughts we choose to entertain.  If you choose to be jealous at someone, admit it.  Also realize that you are weakening your potential by doing so, instead of working hard to achieve your next big goal.  If you blame constantly your parents, a lover, or anyone else  for the things that have gone wrong in your life , you have some soul-searching to do.  At the end of the day no matter how justified we feel to blame someone else for our problems, it does little to solve our problems and a whole lot to make us feel powerless.

Let’s make the right decisions.  Next time we choose to say something, think something, do something, let’s choose to say, think or do that which we can be proud of.  That’s how we become someone that we can be proud of, by making the right choices.

Published by Omar Eduardo

Passionate about building great products; Product Manager @ Google; ex-consultant @ Accenture; MIT chemical engineering graduate

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