Skip to Navigation

Feeling that you have no choice is pretty disempowering. You may really feel that you don’t have any other options if you are stuck in a bad place, but telling yourself so will only reinforce the helplessness. A small change your words and thinking can open up the possibilities.

I realise that when someone says  “I have no choice”, this may just be an expression that gets them through a tricky situation; they know that there are other options, its just that they’re not prepared to take them at that moment. This raises two problems:

  1. In saying (or thinking) “I have no choice” we unwittingly programme ourselves to believe it, with all that entails.
  2. Having no choice is debilitating and it feeds the downward spiral started by 1).

Here’s what to do

Reprogram yourself by dropping the “I have no choice” mantra. Change it for example to “This is the only course of action I am prepared to make at the moment”, or “For now, this is my choice”.

As a development exercise, take a few minutes to brainstorm all your possible options related to the impasse you are facing. Do not edit, interrupt the flow of thought, or judge, just make a list freely. You should easily come up with a number of possibilities. These are things that could be done regardless of whether you are capable, able or willing to do them. It’s just a list, not a contract!

This will give you a range of possible options (including ones you don’t want to take, but that’s OK), plus the original (I have no choice) course of action or behaviour.

Even if you are not prepared to act on them, having a range of options, or choices, is more empowering than having no choice.

See also
If the brainstorming idea doesn’t work for you, have a go at Morning Pages, it might help you loosen up your thinking.

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

What is dialogue?

Dialogue is interactive communication that builds shared meaning. Compared with discussion – where people present ideas with the idea of putting forward the strongest or most persuasive view – dialogue fosters a collaborative exchange of ideas aimed at mutual understanding. Rather than a competitive collision of opposites that fosters disagreement, frustration and confusion, it is […]

Continue reading

Choice is a Matter of Choice

How often have you said to yourself “I have no choice”. Sometimes this little mantra can get us through a demanding phase, but when we start to believe it and make it part of our life it can make us unhappy.

Here’s an exercise in generating choice, because having choice and exercising it are two different things.

Continue reading

Lunch and Learn

The Lunch and Learn (L’n’L) format allows attendees to receive short, focused training in a 60 minute slot, often during their lunch-hour. This approach is suitable for groups of 15 – 200, at any level of expertise. My L’n’L sessions use the same core material as that in my webinars, but with the added advantage of […]

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
%d bloggers like this: