By ONG SHU YI
The life we are living right now, the person we are and the things and people we have in our lives, are all the results of the decisions we made in the past.
Think about it. If you had made very different decisions in the past, wouldn’t you be living a very different life right now?
Have you ever been through those life-changing moments where, if you had made a different choice, the path you are on now would be a very different one?
We are the products of our decisions
The decisions we make, consciously or subconsciously, determine the quality of our lives. We all have choices to make.
In fact, the decisions we make today and the days after will determine how our lives will turn out 10–20 years from now. The hard truth is that the day will surely arrive.
My question to you is: when that day arrives, where will you be in your life? Will you be living up to your own expectations and dreams?
Will you be truly happy about your life? Or, will you still be wandering around, seeking for what you want and waiting for the right opportunity to act?
As I go through the ups and downs in life, I realise that there is no right opportunity for us to step up.
There is no right moment for us to act – start a business, start something we have been putting off for a long while, find the person we love or take any other decision for that matter.
We must start taking action consistently, and that action comes from the decisions that we make.
We need to start taking action to create an environment where opportunities start to flow into our lives even without us knowing it.
Opportunities only come to those who are prepared; those who are willing to get their hands dirty, and to those who are willing to take the risk.
This is your moment
Ever so often, we come across stories of people who took years to get over their situation or to change a behaviour.
However, if you think about it, what made them change is not the countless years they took; it’s usually the decision made in a single moment.
It’s the moment you told yourself that you couldn’t take it anymore, you couldn’t live your life like this anymore, you can’t be in this situation anymore, you couldn’t bear to see the broken pieces of your loved ones’ hearts anymore.
That’s the moment you decided to change; that’s the moment when you decided to commit yourself to turn things around.
Find your motivation
My mentor once told me this story. He had a client named Derrick.
Derrick had been smoking for more than 20 years, ever since he was in high school.
He was reluctant to get rid of his habit. Even though it hurt his loved ones and the people around him deeply, he kept telling himself that he just couldn’t change.
In fact, he had tried to change but ended up going back to this old behaviour every time.
Until one day, while he was smoking in his own private room, he heard a loud cry outside his door.
He was shocked to find his 9-year-old daughter standing in the doorway, and she was sobbing uncontrollably.
“What’s the matter sweetheart?”
“Daddy, I don’t want you to die. I don’t want you to leave me.”
“I’m not going to die, sweetheart. I will always be here for you.”
But her crying only became worse.
“Yes, you will! Mummy said that if you continue smoking, you will die. You will never see me graduate. You will never see me finding the man that I love. I want you to be at my graduation. I want you to be there at every important event of my life.”
From that day on, Derrick never lit up a single cigarette for the rest of his life. He made a decision that day to quit smoking, and he stuck to it.
Sometimes, what triggers the most effective change in us is pain. The pain of losing someone whom we love or the things that we hold dearest to us.
But why should we wait until we are in pain before committing to change?
Wouldn’t it be better if we could realise the consequences of our actions and make the decision to change before the pain has occurred?
Winning in life
The moment we decide to commit to changing our quality of life, the game of life changes for us.
That’s right. Life is a game. A game of trust, excitement, adventure, joy and fun. For us to win the game of life, we must make conscious decisions that allow us to win one day at a time.
If you look at the most successful people around the globe, from Sir Richard Branson to Steve Jobs to Bill Gates, what makes winners in the game of life is neither luck nor a single major decision in life.
What makes them successful is a series of small decisions they make consistently over a period of time.
If you want to win in the game of life, the strategy is to win one day at a time. Every day you make decisions that make you happy and allow you to win.
If your days of winning in a year outperform the days of losing, you already have a head start to the best days of your life.
An appropriate metaphor I love to use is stocks trading. What determines a winning portfolio is not a series of individual winning stocks. It is a combination of winning and losing trades.
And the crucial element is this: we must ensure that the amount of winning trades we make exceed the amount of losing trades.
In short, when we win, we win big; when we lose, we lose small.
Decisions shape your destiny. The choices we make in life every day, every hour, every minute and every second is what makes us successful in the things we do.
So, if you really want to have more joy, fulfilment, excitement and confidence in every area of your life, make the decision today to commit yourself to eliminating the negative behaviours that affect your life.
Shu Yi is a speaker in human development, an author and peak performance expert. He loves to speak and write, and is on a mission to educate youths and bring the best out in them. To find out more about Leaderonomics’ leadership initiatives for youths or how you can partner with us to further develop your community, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.