People do things to please family, friends, foes, everyone but themselves. We are all aware of the radical decisions people make to please others, but that is not what I want to talk about now. I am talking about simple everyday decisions.
Do you know that choice is not a gift or privilege to you? It is your right as a human being, and you should exercise it every day of your life, knowing that every choice you make has its consequences.
As a child, you have the right to obey or disobey your parents. It is your choice, but you must fully understand the consequence of disobeying your parents. So you can choose to obey them because you understand that the consequence of not doing so will spell doom for your future, not because you are a robot devoid of choice.
As an adult, you have a choice to be lazy or hardworking. You have a right to choose how exactly you want your life to play out. You shouldn’t graduate from school and then look for a job just because society expects you to. You should understand that you have the choice to be a lazy bum just occupying a space on earth, and you must understand the consequence of that choice, which is that you will become no one to be reckoned with, and possibly poverty-stricken, suicidal, and depressed.
Why am I taking this angle?
The lack of understanding of choice and consequences is what has driven so many people to frustration today. People live by the guideline that society has set for them. I have to obey my parents because I was groomed to do so. I have to study hard and excel in school because my parents would like it. I must then get a job because that’s the next thing society expects. I would then get married because well… that’s the next thing on the agenda. I have to slave for a promotion at work or strive for my business to expand because my children have to go to good schools. And so it goes on and on and on. After 50 years, we get a successful but frustrated individual perfectly cooked up in the pressure cooker of ‘societal expectations.’
Do you know what? No you don’t! You don’t have to obey your parents. You don’t have to study hard. You don’t have to get a job. You don’t have to get into a relationship or get married. You don’t have to strive for a better pay. In fact, you would be exercising your right as a human being if you do the opposite of all these. You won’t be doing anything wrong
You must understand the role of choice and consequences. Each choice leads to an outcome, and you must choose wisely. So let’s flip the script a little bit.
I choose to obey my parents because disobeying them would cause my future to be doomed (or earn me serious thrashing if you are an African child, lol). I choose to study hard and excel in school because I understand the role it plays in the opportunities presented to me later on. I choose to get a job or start a business because I understand that I have been placed on this earth for a purpose, and I want that purpose fulfilled before I die. I choose to get married because I understand the role of companionship in the life of an individual, I found someone I love and loves me back, and life would be dreary without him/her. I choose to strive for promotion at work or business expansion because I want a better quality of life, and to give my family the opportunity to make well-informed choices like I have done. I choose, I choose, I choose.
After 50 years, we get an individual who knows that no matter how his life turns out, he can rest knowing that he made his own choices. This individual is bound to be more fulfilled, and would makes less mistakes because his life is well thought out.
I pray that in raising children, parents would explain well the principle of choice and consequence rather than take the because-I-said-so approach, which is what most people do. A child who understands choice and consequence to the tee turns out well in life.
And to the fully-formed adults, let us all drop the I-have-to-do-it attitude we approach life with. No you don’t. You don’t have to do it because it is expected of you. You have a choice. You have a choice. You have a choice.
You don’t have to marry that man. You can wait for a better man, even though you would have to wait a little longer. Why marry into misery?
You don’t have to stay in that job. You can resign, and fulfill your purpose on earth, even though you might have to be broke for a little while, and be more financially prudent. Why live a life of frustration?
You don’t have to join every trend you see in real life or social media even though you don’t understand it. You can choose to stand out of the pack, and be counted for something more reasonable. Why lose yourself just because you want to blend in?
You don't have to go to every friend's house to play and gossip. You don't have to buy that extra Aso Ebi, whether you have a similar colour in your closet or not. Trust me, you would save a lot of time and money by doing these two things. People will laugh at you, insult you, and say all sorts, but remember you have a right to choice. Any other thing is you handing that right over to society.
It is your life. It is not your father’s life, friend’s life, sister’s life, or brother’s life. It is your life!
You are not a robot disguised in flesh. You are a human being.
You have a choice! Exercise it.