Do you always have a choice?

“Do You Always Have a Choice?”

I have posed this question to hundreds, maybe thousands of people.  Most people say “Yes, of course I always have a choice” assuming I’m trying to corner them on accountability.  A few contemplative souls don’t think the answer is yes, but can’t fully articulate why.

A prompting question… Do you have a choice as to whether or not your physical body will one day cease to function on it’s own i.e. die? Ironically at this point many people want to negotiate ‘how’ we might die verses the actual question ‘will’ we die.  I agree, we can impact how dying might happen, but without getting all crazy and theoretical, will our physical bodies die?  Yes?  So, do we ALWAYS have a choice.

Here’s the deal as I see it.  We do not always have a choice in our situation – we do always have a choice as to how we react to our situation. Truly understanding this nuance can make all the difference to your health, happiness, career, relationships and …Life!

On the surface the answer is simple enough, but I content that our ability to answer that question moment-by-moment in any given day is key to living in freedom and enjoying life success.

People often get confused between the situation and their response.  If we do not have a choice in the situation (or perceive that we don’t) we might relinquish our choice when responding (victim).  If we believe we should have a choice in those situation we can become bitter and angry (a bitter, angry victim!)

When we do have a choice in our situation but don’t feel equipped to manage it well, we may become frustrated and insecure responding as if we don’t have choice or making less effective decisions. *Not making a choice is in fact a choice – typically it is choosing to let others, or circumstance, control your future!

Take Your Brain For a Test Ride!

Consider the scale of Situation and Choice below then read the list of test situations.  Be honest, do any of these situations cause you to slide towards the victim end of the scale.  If it does, this blog might be helpful!

SITUATION  0 =   No say in the situation

10 =  You have full decision making

RESPONSE   0 =  Don’t take responsibility for your choice or make a bad choice

10 = Taking full responsibility for your choice


















  • Where is there opportunity?
  • What can be done?
  • How can I look at this to see the potential, the good?



  • How can I create success?
  • Who do I need to help make it successful?
  • What is really important here?

  • The decisions been made, I’ll go with it and see what happens


Do my best:

  • I’ll try, if it works – great, if it doesn’t at least I tried

  • Nothing I can do
  • We’re all just pawns in the game
  • It’s not my fault
  • I have no choice, I didn’t create this mess

  • I’ll do what is good for me, screw the rest of them
  • Acquiesce, it doesn’t matter what I do, it won’t help – when it doesn’t work, it’ll be ‘their’ fault
 0       Don’t have a say                               Have a say            10                            

                                    S  I  T  U  A  T  I  O  N                                     


Test Situations:  what would you do, how well do you do?

  1. The company decided to reorganize. Your department is being dismantled and you are being sent to a new team.
  2. Your system has changed.  You can no longer do the job you know:  change or go.
  3. A co-worker has a very different work style than you i.e. they are difficult to work with!
  4. You are told to ‘innovate’ yet, every time you try something new or different it get’s shot down.
  5. You, or a person close to you, is diagnosed with cancer.
  6. A close family member disagrees with your choices and is quite vocal about it.
  7. This is the third major repair needed to your car or home in the past 6 months.
  8. Your boss does not get you and does not seem to want to learn how to work well with you.
  9. Your neighbor is excessive noisy and disrespects your space.
  10. 10.  Your child, or someone close to you, feels belittled, stupid or unpopular