“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice” ~ William Brian
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I view my life in three categories – the first one I shared with you was some of the gifts in my life that I so thankful to have received.
This week, I’m sharing with you the second category that I believe have largely change the trajectory of my life. Having the gifts is one thing. But the choices that you make after having received those gifts are another. I recognized this fact many years ago and since then I have paid more attention to the impact of my choices on my life.
Now, before I continue I should be the one to tell you that I haven’t always made the best choices. But what I know is this: If you make more bad choices than you make good choices, the trajectory of your life looks like
a downward slope that gets steeper and steeper as you experience the consequences of those choices. The reverse is also true… The more good choices you make the more your life’s trajectory trends upward. The sum total of the choices you’ve made in your life so far put you where you are right now at this moment. Knowing this, it is a must that we become more aware and be more intentional as we make daily choices.
“The end result of your life here on earth will always be the sum total of the choices you made while you were here”
Below are two of the choices I’ve made but didn’t think too much of them when I made them. But these two choices have an enormous impact on who I am and where I am heading professionally.
- Choice to go to High School in the US as opposed to just taking the GED.
Taking the GED would’ve been the easy and most convenient route for me to take. It would take me less time and less efforts to study for and take the GED. For me, however, a young man just turning 17 years old at the time, I just knew it wasn’t my best option. What I know now that I couldn’t fully comprehend then is the power of the process (the journey, the experience). Taking the GED would deny me that opportunity.
When I made this choice, I went against everything that school officials and some of my family members who had been living in the US were telling me. They said, “You’ll go to college sooner and graduate sooner”. I ignored everyone who told me no – including the school officials – and found a way to get accepted at a High school. The results? Here’s a quick summary:
- An exciting learning experience in a new culture
- Became a member of New York City’s All-City band
- Performed at Lincoln Center on two separate occasions
- Guest artist performer with the United States Air Force Band of the Rockies
- Awarded a New York State Merit scholarship for $1,500 per year for four years
The next choice is also a result of making the choice to attend High School instead of taking the GED.
2. Choice not to pay a Penny for College.
Knowing that my family wasn’t rich, one of my goals was to not have to burden them with college tuition bills. I can remember very clearly the day I sat on the side of the football field giving birth to this dream.
During my two years of high school I worked hard and was on the look out for scholarship opportunities. I backed up my choice with lots of study hours and filing out scholarships applications… Having been in the college office so many times inquiring about scholarships, everyone there knew me. One of the scholarship opportunities I was presented with and applied for was the “JP Morgan Chase Smart Start” full tuition scholarship program. The result:
- Awarded a Four-Year Full Tuition Scholarship to one of 12 prestigious schools in the NY area
- Received $500 stipend every semester for books and school supplies
- Worked as an intern for four years (full-time in the summer & part-time during the school year)
- Received training from some of the best trainers and professionals in the corporate world
- Met and networked with other professionals
- Expanded my horizon and my vision of the possibilities
If you don’t like where you are right now and wish you were somewhere else, don’t despair. If you are reading this right now, you have an opportunity to make a brand new start right now so that your tomorrow will be better than your today. As you make this decision, keep in mind that the current circumstances of your life do not determine your potential nor your future. Only your choices will. So, intentionally choose to engage in a process that will take you where you want to be and start changing the trajectory of your life today.