You Always Have a Choice

My 7 year old has a field trip today. My wife usually chaperones them but had a previous commitment so she couldn’t go.

This morning my son, Owen, aske if I could go instead. He asked “daddy, do you have the police paper that says you can go on my trip”

I replied, “no, I didn’t go to the police station to get it. I know you’re disappointed and I’m sorry.”

So he asked mom again, even though he already knew she wasn’t coming. Kids are great at that.

She replied “I don’t have a choice, I have class.” I said to her “you always have a choice” to which she replied “I committed to this event before I knew about the trip so I don’t have a choice”

I said, “you always have a choice, you are choosing to go to the event and that’s great, no need to feel bad about it”

So many people I’ve worked with feel “they have to” do something because of a mandate, order from a boss etc. a constraint is a constraint after all but you always have a choice.

If you work in a crappy company and feel you don’t have a choice, you do. You have plenty of choices. Stay and be miserable, asked to get moved to another department, quit, coast, work on a startup idea instead of doing your job and more.

The point is, you always have a choice, saying you don’t have a choice is choosing to postpone dealing with a more difficult decision.

  • Anonymous

    Great point, I often point out this distinction to others as well (I’m not sure if they appreciate this or not…I think not).  Saying “I don’t have a choice” is victim thinking, it is not being accountable (read QBQ by John Miller).  You do have a choice, there are reasons behind your choice, and often they are perfectly valid and good reasons, as you point out, that we don’t need to be ashamed of.  They can also be good teaching moments.  For example, this could be a teaching moment if explained better to teach your child responsibility and following through on your commitments that you made, even if they aren’t your top choice now.

    Thanks for sharing Jason!

  • Thomas Ponnet

    Punks understood that lesson over 30 years ago but today many seem to have forgotten it.
    Living the “I always have a choice” mentality means we live free in the true sense of the word. Of course that can be scary as hell.
    “I don’t have a choice” I think is sometimes born out of laziness but more often out of fear – what will happen if I take that choice? There’s an impact that I then have to deal with which I may not be able to do. Or something along these lines.

    Nice writeup!

  • Pingback: Five Blogs – 1 October 2012 « 5blogs()