By Dr Tareq Rasheed
International Consultant and Trainer
We are born as a result of someone else’s choices, not ours. We can’t choose the family or country we are born in. And everyone must die – we don’t have a choice in that either. However, between ‘B’ (birth) and ‘D’ (death) lies ‘C’ – Choice!
Proactivity Model of Choice
Mastering the art of choice is in our mindset. Not having a choice in the parents you have doesn’t mean you keep blaming everything on them. And are you going to continue to blame your gloomy mood on the gloomy weather? Reactive people often find external sources to blame for their behaviour. The external environment surrounding us (parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, spouses, society) stimulate our responses.
Most people allow the stimulants to determine their reactions rather than controlling own reactions towards the stimuli. They feel hopeless to change the environment, thus letting the external environment control their lives. Stress, worry, and in severe cases, depression ensues Why? Because they believe they don’t have decision-making powers when in fact, they do.
In contrast, successful individuals apply the third element of the Proactivity Model: The freedom to choose one’s response. A proactive person uses proactive language – I can, I will, I prefer. A reactive person uses reactive language – I can’t, I have to, if only.
Components of choice
• Self-awareness: We can control our choices and direct them towards what we want to achieve when we first become self-aware. Self-awareness means knowing one’s skills, abilities, motivators, desires, fears and controls
• Self-responsibility: Once we feel responsible for our choices in life, we can choose, based on what is meaningful for us. Logically, once self-awareness increases, self-responsibility should increase as well
• Commitment: Unless we are committed, we will never transfer our self-awareness and responsibility into actions. The main aim for the freedom to choose is to achieve and without commitment, we will never succeed
Triangle of Control
I apply the Triangle of Control (see illustration) to make me feel happy and powerful, whatever my choices are. It is composed of three entities:
• God: Everything is under God’s control. I believe, thank and move ahead
• Me: I control my reactions 90 per cent of the time
• Environment: Whatever the environment (external circumstances) throws at me, I will never give the environment more than 10 per cent because I can choose, control and move ahead. Yet people who feel hopeless give the environment 90 per cent of the control. But they cannot change their parents, spouses, or colleagues. What they can change is their reactions whatever the stimuli may be
Good luck on your journey of choosing your actions rather than simply responding to outside stimuli.
Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine