In Brussels today some people made bad choices. I am sorry for them and for those caught up in the aftermath of those choices. It is, again, a sad day in the world. All thoughts and prayers are with those affected by today’s suicide attack in Brussels. My prayer is that this is the last time.
At the weekend, many people I know through Twitter made fabulous, kind, giving choices raising money for Sport Relief with #Tweepathon. Check out the hashtag and donate https://www.justgiving.com/Tweepathon. On Sunday, it was a happy day in the world.
In life we always have choices. Some are harder to make than others. Some are obvious, no brainers. Some are super hard, hurt your brainers. Sometimes making even the easiest of choices can hurt your head; taking the dream job on the other side of the world, deciding it’s time to put an elderly pet to sleep, wondering the moral value of the coin you dropped into the clearly drunk homeless person’s battered paper cup, or the choice to feed your children the healthy option when you want to spoil them, always.
Do we really have choices? Of course we know when the time is right for our older fur babies. Holding onto them for longer is selfish and ultimately cruel. And that extra Creme Egg sneaked into your kids won’t hurt, will it? You know it could become a habit later becoming a weight challenge, diabetes, or worse. Sometimes we really don’t have choices at all. We know what is right; it isn’t a choice. Not blowing innocent people up. An easy choice. Surely. Do we take the right path? Maybe we believe we are taking the right path. Do we choose the right path in work? Can we choose the right path? What ethical options are open to us without choices? What then?
How do we reconcile life when we are dealt a hand we most certainly wouldn’t choose; the death of a close one, the end of a relationship, an accident or illness, a hostile takeover bid, the belief in our faith to the fanatical nth degree. What then? What choices do we have then?
I would suggest that we still do have choices, even in the most dire of circumstances. We can always ask why, yet choose the peaceful path. We can choose fight or flight. We can choose bravery or wallowing. We can champion action or choose inaction. We can choose private or public grief. We can choose selfish or selfless. We can choose game face or real face. We choose how we deal with the cards. It takes untold amounts of emotional energy. Choosing to accept support from loved ones, friends, colleagues, professionals can help with the energy levels. Again our choice, a choice to accept help offered. Even that can be hard, wrapped up in pride, loss, shame, even a sense of Britishness. For some, that emotional journey can lead to an almost insanity. Life is too hard to make the right choices. And then we get to situations where other people are hurt by our choices. What could be different? So much, yet where do we start? With work? With community? With relationships? How can we help stop bad choices?
Asking for help can be even more energy sapping than accepting help offered. Many people don’t ask until too late, particularly in business where fear based work environments see asking for help as a sign of weakness. How many HR departments wish staff would have told them about their situation sooner; ‘We could have helped. We would have done something. If only we’d known’ Really? Would you? Asking for help is hard. Isn’t one of our clear choices about how easy we make it for others to ask for our help? To have open dialogue? To notice the need for change? How really open is that open door policy that bosses run? How available are you to your friends and family when they are asking? How closely do we notice? Do we act? I think therein lies the ultimate choice; the choice to serve. No matter what our own personal tragedies and triumphs, we all have the choice to help and serve others in both our everyday lives and our business lives. The energy shared from that practice is enlightening, giving, unfettered, free. Doing voluntary work, a kindness shared, reaching out to a colleague, a smile to a stranger, these are all good choices for a better world and a better energy within. Are we harnessing that energy in our workplaces? Are we giving time to staff for voluntary work? Are we supporting our local communities? Are we inclusive in our work and lives? Are we mindful of how our working environments are impacting staff and their choices? Would any of the answers to these questions have prevented yet another tragedy in the world today? Who knows, but nonetheless I feel bereft that the human race seems to have stopped fully trying; I had to share something to hopefully encourage us to at least try again.
Whilst we may not in life always have the choice to be truly happy, we can always fare better through kindness, both our own and that given by others. Be kind always. It is the best choice available to everyone.