- Sheeja Shaju
Can you see your future?
I am not who I became. I am who I chose to be –Carl Jung
A few years ago I had an interesting conversation with my then 9 year old son. He went, “Mom, I wish I could see my future.” I turned around to him and saw his little eager face looking at mine with expectations and I did not disappoint him, all I said was “Oh! But you can!”.
The answer excited him though I could see he could not fully understand what I meant and was intrigued to know the reason behind my answer. I ushered him to the window nearby and drew his attention to two children playing at a construction site nearby. They seemed to be children of the construction workers. I said, “Probably those kids don’t go to school and they probably spend most of their day playing around, if that is so then what do you think will happen to their future by default?” He replied “They will probably turn out to be uneducated and maybe without much knowledge in general”.
My discussion with my boy continued for about another half hour with us discussing examples from all areas of life which further fortified my statement for him that – We can see our default future.
That was as far as my 9 year old was concerned, but the point I want to draw your attention to is Choice. The choice you and I have in creating a future we desire.
The meaning of Choice as per the Cambridge dictionary is ‘An act or the possibility of choosing’. I find this meaning to be very limiting. Limiting, because it does not give me the excitement of choosing. Having a choice in something or choosing something is far greater than only the act. The possibility that the act of choice gives us is the main reason we choose anything at all, then how can we limit its definition to just the act.
A Generative definition of Choice would be – To opt for a possibility that would generate a desired future.This version of the definition makes Choice limitless! For me, this definition exponentially expands the excitement of choosing and the power of Choice because here I retain the power of my next moment that is my future with me! Because here I create my future from the palms of my Choice!
Interesting though most of us don’t see this. We are blind to the power of choice and how it shapes our world..
I have a Story – Don’t we all actually!
When during the 8th month of my pregnancy my husband was presented with a choice of going to the UK for a 3 year stint but he was not prepared. An opportunity that he had been waiting for had just landed to him and yet in a months time his child was due!.
We clearly saw that if he did go then the default future would be that he would miss out on all the lifetime experiences of his child being born and we were not OK with it. So, we decided to create a new future - I would travel with him.
The actions that we take today lead us to our future. And what makes us take the actions are the choices we make. These choices are nothing but the internal conversations we have with our selves when faced with moments of deliberation.
Internal Conversations (Stories)
I take great inspiration from Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian Journalist who was abducted in Somalia and kept for ransom for months on end. During those gruelling months she was subject to physical abuse and a great amount of cruelty, the only thing that kept her going was the choice she made to live! How powerful is that! She now travels the world, inspiring people with her story.
Back then, she clearly saw, if she let the events happening to her overpower her mind, it would only be a downward spiral for her and that’s when she chose to create empowering stories in her mind that would enable her to create a future of freedom.
She made a choice to only have empowering conversations with herself because the default future was not a good one otherwise.
As always, I leave you with an invitation to some reflections -
In any area of life that matters to you, reflect, what is the default future you have?
See that you have a choice in changing that future
Have new conversations with yourself!
With love and warmth,
Transformational Leadership Coach and Somatic Leader