Your Life Is More About Choice Than Chance

In an excerpt from her book, Esteemable Acts, Francine Ward tells you how to lead a better life

easier, softer way to live for many of us.

For years I used being black, being female, and growing up poor as excuses for feeling like a victim. Whenever anyone would listen, I’d share my sad sob story. And I used that as an excuse to be angry — all the time. Unquestionably, my life has been challenging, but at what point did I have a responsibility to turn my condition around? At what point did I have a responsibility to recognize that I helped to create some of what happened to me because of the choices I made?

The Keys to a Successful Self
When we choose to relinquish our right of choice, we are making a choice. Making no decision is making a decision to give someone else the power, and the problem with that is we rarely like the choices others make for us. [Even if] the feelings that led you to play the part of the victim are valid, eventually you must make the decision to move on with your life. It’s an esteemable act to make right choices and leave victimhood behind.

Reprinted from Esteemable Acts: 10 Actions for Building Real Self-Esteem by Francine Ward. Copyright © 2003 by Francine Ward with permission of Broadway Books, a division of Random House. Log on to blackenterprise.com/ books to order a copy.
Recognize your right to choose. Whether a decision must be made immediately or you are given the time to sort it through, remember that you always have the right to choose, and you must be accountable for those choices. If you are having difficulty making a decision, be specific in identifying what gets in your way and be as honest as you can in identifying the barriers between you and making the right choice.

Write it out. Thinking things through is the first step, but writing helps you gain insight and clarity. Somehow, when you put your thoughts on paper, it makes them more real. When you keep things in your mind, it’s easier to deny them.

Ask questions. The average person is afraid to ask questions. Yet, doing so is a surefire way to avoid misunderstandings and it buys you some thinking time. It will help you understand what your choices are. Have the courage to walk through the fear of what others will think of you.

Seek counsel. Talk to a trusted friend who will give you useful, honest guidance. Having an objective perspective can help you make sense of a seemingly senseless situation. The very act of sharing your thoughts or problems with another person can make you feel better because you don’t feel alone in the decision-making process.

Don’t act out of fear. Fear can powerfully restrict your choices. Fear compels you to make choices that keep you out of harm’s way. But safe and easy choices are not necessarily the right ones.

Trust your inner voice. This requires practice, courage, and patience. Knowing the difference between right and wrong is not complicated — it just requires a willingness to listen to

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