Have you ever played a Choose Your Own Adventure type game? It’s usually a book that everyone starts reading at the same spot, and along the way you’re given a series of choices that lead you down different paths. The choices you make determine the outcome of your story. You could read the same book over and over and come up with a different ending each time.
Sound familiar? I thought it did.
Life, in its essence, is the ultimate choose your own adventure game. We all basically start the same, give or take some environmental and physical differences. Along the way we’re given choices, dozens of them a day sometimes. And the way we respond to those choices determine the outcome of our story.
You might make the choice to drop out of school or finish and go to college, you might decide to get married and have children or focus on your career, you might choose to rob a bank or work in a factory for twenty years. Nothing (aside from those pesky cops) makes any of those choices any more right or wrong than the others. But they all change the outcome of your story.
Sometimes the choices are smaller than that. Choosing to eat a salad or a candy bar, choosing to save money or buy something. But no matter how seemingly insignificant they are every choice changes your path a little.
The key is to make sure the choices you make every day are leading you to the outcome you want. If your dream is to become a doctor and you choose to work in a factory you may have misunderstood the rules of the game.
You won’t get it right all the time, and there will be detours along the way, but you have a much better shot if you know where you want your path to lead. If you know where you’re going and aim to make your choices line up most of the time you’ll get there. The saying “Begin with the end in mind” applies more than ever to this game.
You have to know where you’re going to know how to get there. So where do you want your path to lead? What type of person do you want to be? Don’t just pick at random, really think about the life you want to live.
If you want to be seen as brave and adventurous you may have to choose not to be afraid when the time comes.
If you want to be someone people see as educated and worldly you may have to choose to read a book instead of watching reality TV.
If you want to be a fitness expert you have to choose to practice what you preach.
If you want to own a business, start a blog, or travel the world you have to make the intentional choices that lead to those paths.
The really fun thing about this game is you are in complete control. Even if you round the corner and find a dragon waiting on the other side, you get to choose how to handle it.
Think about how you want to be known, pick your story, and then make sure your choices line up with it. The time is going to pass anyway, so why not make the most of it?