Last weekend, I found myself babysitting my 3-year old nephew at my brother’s house. After playing multiple games of Candyland, finishing countless jigsaw puzzles of "Woody and Buzz", having dinner and playing tag around the house...it was time for the "boys" to relax a bit before bedtime so we turned on the TV to see what was on the Disney Channel.
Now my brother is a subscriber to one of the satellite services so I needed to refer to the menu of channels to find exactly where the Disney Channel resided. As I was perusing through the menu I became fascinated with all the television programming that was now available. I didn’t count the number of stations but I could make an educated guess that there were over 1000 channels available to watch at any given moment (plus all of the "on-demand" programs, pre-recorded shows, and pay-per-view events).
Myself, I rarely watch TV, so at home I only subscribe to the "basic" cable package that consists of about 15-20 channels containing the 6-7 major broadcast channels, government access channels, and "home shopping" networks. No need for high definition as I watch these limited on my 32-inch CRT type television.
Today we have more choice in front of us than ever before...places to visit, restaurants to eat at, churches where we worship, websites to surf, products and/or service to purchase. Online retailers, who are no longer constrained by shelf space, now literally offer millions of different products for consumers to choose from.
Many times we often look to others to help us to make decisions such as family, friends, collegues. There also the so called "experts" who try to tell us how to think...how to behave...what products to purchase to look cooler, younger, or more intelligent. Each and every day, the alternatives and options in front of us grow exponentially. Is it really possible to make choices on our own...and/or do we even want to?
Making choices isn’t a new concept. We make important (and not so important) choices every day of our lives. We decide to get out of bed in the morning when the alarm rings. We decide what to have for breakfast. We decide what to wear each day. We decide to get angry when we are stuck in traffic. We’ve decided what we want to do to earn a wage so we can pay our living expenses.
In the end, we decide to be happy, sad, curious, stressed, bashful, envious, healthy, thoughtful, greedy, content and joyous. These are inner decisions that we must make for ourselves and cannot abdicate to others for us. We are the masters of our own emotions.
Some people might argue that the environment around us actually forces us to make certain decisions. While it’s true that we cannot control our environment, it is only ourselves that can control our thoughts and reactions.
There are countless stories of people growing up in severely harsh conditions that have gone on to achieve greatness because they decided that they would not let their situation limit them. Other people have been cast into dire situations not of their own doing, but have somehow managed to survive (think of cancer patients or concentration camp victims).
Without question, there is a lot of good and bad in the world. However it’s not what happens to us but rather how we decide for ourselves to react to it. Do we look at the world with the glass half-empty or the glass half-full?
Can you pass me the remote please?
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