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The Power of Choice

I recently picked up The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck to read. This was long overdue, as it's been on my "to-read" list for over a year at this point. In one of the chapters, the author, Mark Manson, writes this: "We all get dealt cards. Some of us get better cards than others. And while it's easy to get hung up on our cards, and feel we got screwed over, the real game lies in the choices we make with those cards, the risks we decide to take, and the consequences we choose to live with. People who consistently make the best choices in the situations they're given are the ones who eventually come out ahead in poker, just as in life. And it's not necessarily the people with the best cards."

This led me to think about the power of choice and the degree of control we actually have over what happens in our lives, whether we realize it or not. Growing up, my parents always told me how important it was to make the right choices every time I was caught in certain situations. They always said that as parents, their job was to help steer me in the right path and to help me avoid making the wrong choices.

Over the course of a lifetime, there are so many choices that we make. Think about all the choices you’ve made in just one day – what to wear, who to talk to, whether or not to focus in class, what to eat for dinner and many more. These are just the insignificant choices; there may be choices you make in any given day that have a ripple effect on a lot of other things. Now, think about the number of choices you will make in 2019 and how those choices are not only going to affect your year, but possibly the course of your life and where you’re headed.

I don’t mean to write all of this to scare you or for you to have excruciating anxiety when you think about which drink to get the next time you go to Starbucks. Rather, I write this so that we can all realize how important the "right" choice can be. Choices dictate our lives; they can be highly impactful.

When looking ahead to 2019, think about what it is you want to choose for yourself this year. Consider some key questions: Who do you want to become closer with this year? What opportunities do you want to say "Yes" to this year? What do you want your summer to look like this year? What you choose and when you make these choices will make all the difference.

A big part of these choices is accurately knowing what you value and who you are as a human being.

Who are you now? Who do you want to become? This gets a bit deep, but self-awareness is incredibly important. You need to know what core values you have in your life along with what kind of person you want to become. Without this knowledge, it will be impossible to make the kinds of choices in your life that will steer you in a direction you are truly happy with.

A good example of this is the friends you have in your life. You need to know what you value in a friend and what kind of person you enjoy spending time with before committing to certain people. And even if you don’t know, you figure it out along the way as you experience different friendships. The ones who stick around probably have characteristics and values that you enjoy or share. The ones who you end up cutting off are likely the ones who carry values that you don't agree with.

Go into 2019 with this self-awareness and you’ll know what choices you have to make this year. It’ll be obvious.

If you value self-improvement, it should make sense to say "yes" to a club or learning opportunity. If you value being honest with others and yourself, it should make sense to choose to speak the truth when your friends ask you to.

So this year, say "Yes" to the things that you truly want. Make good choices and let the year unfold for you in a way that will allow you to completely reap the benefits.  

Julia Sun is currently a second-year student at Queen's University studying Commerce. She has always loved to write in her spare time and has her own lifestyle and travel blog on the side (lifewithjulia.net). When she's not writing for Her Campus Queen's, you can find her doing yoga, reading a book, or going for a run. 
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