Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)

Alice was lucky; she had all the time in the world to dillydally on her way to the wonderland. But we do not have such luck lines! Aah! How wonderful would it have been if the road to success, name and money was aligned with side bolsters and the ride was pleasant! Back to our real world, the scene is different. Here the cutthroat competition and the rat race to survive can easily throw the dreamers out from their cloud-cuckoo land. Here, we cannot afford to make any wrong decision, for it might cost us our future.

Choices or decisions are building blocks of our personality. What we are and what we become is the result of our decisions. It is so important to realize that every split second of our lives we are making choices. Right from waking up on time, dressing up for work, toiling throughout the day to going back to bed, we make so many decisions but still remain so unaware.

With choices comes the responsibility of being accountable for our actions too. Standing on a junction, deciding to choose the right path, we should be able to take full control of our actions and also accept the consequences. Nobody can master the art of making choices but with age and experience, the prowess to take quick decisions enhances and that is what matters the most. While some people believe in holding onto any port in the storm, most others find themselves incapacitated at the thought of taking an action. A person’s perception of things, situations and life as a whole can be one of the possible reasons for this kind of disposition.

Making choices is a skill that needs to be learnt at an early stage because it needs time to ameliorate. What we call as ‘Values in Practice’, are the basis of a strong decision-making foundation. A child has to be taught the basic difference between the right and the wrong. The parents have to imbibe the values of honesty, integrity, kindness and concern in a child. If the family practices honesty, the children will also follow the same. It is easier to steal a ten rupee note from daddy’s wallet without him getting to know. But it is very difficult to curb the guilt of keeping this secret from him. As we grow, the baggage of guilt keeps on filling and a time might come when it will burst open. To avoid drowning in the slush of remorse, shame and sin, it is better to practice making choices and take the horse by the reins.

There are instances where parents take up the role of a leader and work and plan on the behalf of the child, thereby rendering the child incapable of facing the crests and troughs of life. Making choices under the influence of others can set the alarm bells ringing. Thus, before we feel the chill wind, it is better to start taking up the responsibility and making decisions that might or might not be a perfect choice! Here is an action plan that will cleanse the mind and enable it to process thoughts faster and with efficiency:

Step 1: Change your perspective; look for the good in people. There are times when things don’t go as planned and people don’t treat you the way you expect them to. Find the cloud with the silver lining and cling to it, for the positivity around will influence your own life.

Step 2: Realize that your actions have a two-fold effect. As much as they affect you, they will also affect the people around you. What might be a good/ right choice for you, might not be liked by everyone else. Where in some cases the thought and the deed go hand in hand, in other cases, the choices decide your future. When you know that you are ready to take the accountability for your actions, it is a signal that you are ready to take decisions on your own. Remember what you value the most might not be of much importance to someone else. So know what you value.

Step 3: VIPs- Values in Practice– every action has an emotion tagged along with it. When you decide to sleep, you are exhausted or ‘emotionally drained’; when you decide to help someone, you feel ‘compassionate’ towards the person; when you fight, you are ‘angry’; when you jump with joy, you are ‘happy’. Every emotion finds a way to be expressed. And that is why values are important. Unless you realize the importance of honesty, integrity, kindness, love, compassion and hatred, you will not be able to differentiate between the right and the wrong.

Step 4: Think before you leap. Consider all scenarios and alternatives. Use your intuition (gut feeling) rather than your mind.

When Wayne Gretzky (world’s greatest Ice Hockey player) was asked for his secret mantra, this is what he replied, ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ His choice governed his actions and belief and that is what paved his path to success. Humans are known to have a knack for choosing things that are worst for them. Yet it is wise to choose the one that has the least consequences.

In the end that was the choice you made, and it doesn’t matter how hard it was to make it. It matters that you did.

Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

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