Choice – are you really in control?

Recently during a lecture I was watching, the speaker declared;

“I am choosing to open my eyes whilst I talk to you”.

Life is full of choices, but would you consider this to be one? 

It was part of a discussion between Christian Schulz-Quach and Natalie Fraser at the Global Existential summit this month.  It really made me stop and think.

Still getting curious about this, I happened upon an Abraham-Hicks talk.  This explored choice from a different perspective.  The debate was, the impact of choice, when we feel resistance.  You know those situations we find ourselves in, when we don’t want to do something. We question how we ended up doing it.

Anyway, the argument being made, was this. A choice we made somewhere along the line, has led us to this point. 

NOTE – this happens to me a LOT, particularly when I am stepping out in minus temperatures to take a dip in the sea!

The challenge was to think about why you are doing this thing you “don’t want to”.  Maybe it is because we chose not to (or felt unable) say no to someone else.  Or, maybe we know that doing this thing will be good for us, despite the discomfort (I refer to earlier swimming comment!). 

The point is that we have ALWAYS chosen to do what we are doing.  Frequently we feel we “have no choice”, BUT it is more that we do not like the consequences of a particular choice, therefore discount that option.

I think the problem comes, when we forget the original choice (or reason).  A choice may have been to avoid a consequence we didn’t want.  The most common one is work!  We go to work (in the majority of cases) to pay the mortgage, so we have somewhere to live, and enjoy the lifestyle we want.

In simple terms, you might be at work, hating being there.  The choice was to go there to get paid, so that you could feed yourself, live in a house, go on holiday…

I could go on. 

Yet in that moment, facing a complaining patient or parent, there is resistance, which brings discomfort, discontent and, can debilitate us.

I always quote “Mans Search for Meaning” here with:

“between stimulus and response there is a pause.  In that pause, is our opportunity to choose our response, and in that space is our opportunity for freedom and growth”.

Viktor Frankl

So, when I connected the dots from these recent absorptions, I got to

“when you face resistance, ask yourself what choice did you make, that put you here?”

Sheela Hobden

Then we can move into, is that choice still valid?  If it is, what might it be like to let go of the resistance; because ultimately, we are getting in our own way of achieving something we wanted?

Hard to remember in the moment, for sure, but if we practice growing the pause, we can increase the connection with our original choices.

What do you think?

If this has grown your curiosity, then you might be interested in other articles on this site; firstly how coaching can help with your sense of control, maybe you are feeling stuck and want to get out or could it be building an optimistic mindset might help.

Sheela Hobden

Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching.  Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences.  She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients in whatever life or career conundrums they face!  She is also a Mentor Coach and Coach Supervisor. She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds PCC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified. She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman.  Find her at or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset

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