Three Choices For Action In Any Situation

Three choices for action in any situation

It’s time to get rid of some grey areas here. As I explain in my book Just Give Your Head A Shake, how we are treated by others depends largely on our own actions, just as our actions are dependent upon our beliefs and perceptions. If you believe you have no choices in any given situation, you will not take action to change the situation. If you perceive yourself as powerless, you will do nothing to change your situation. It’s time to understand that you always have choices in any situation – three of them.

You have three choices for action in any situation, regardless of the context. Whether at work or at home, these three choices always exist, and you always have the power, not to mention the responsibility, to make your choice from among them. Even the decision to do nothing is a choice, as we will see.

Accept, stay, and do nothing

As mentioned above, the decision to do nothing to change your situation is also a choice you’ve made, and you are accountable for it. If your situation at work is particularly stressful yet you do nothing to change it, who is responsible? Since you cannot change the behavior of others, including anyone who makes work an uncomfortable place to be, you must change your own actions or decide to live with the stress. If you do nothing, it is highly likely the situation will never change, and your stress level will never decrease. This is the choice you make by doing nothing.

Accept, stay, and work for change

If that same situation persists beyond a level you can tolerate, you can work to change it, or you can leave. By working to change the stressful situation at work, you become a pro-active force for change. By speaking calmly and reasonably with the person who is causing the stress, you may improve your own situation. If this does not work, speaking with your supervisor, or the other person’s supervisor, may be the choice you need to make. Taking action to effect change in an unhealthy workplace can only improve the situation for everyone, including yourself.

Refuse to accept and leave

The third choice for taking action in a stressful situation is to simply leave it behind. Especially if you’ve worked for change and the powers-that-be have refused to work to improve it, this may be the only course of action remaining to you. This does not make you a “quitter,” regardless of other’s judgment of you. In fact, it proves that you are a healthy individual who seeks a healthy environment in which to prosper. Leaving an unhealthy, unchangeable environment is a healthy action.

The choices we make are determined by our perceptions and beliefs. When we feel powerless, we accept the situation and live with it. When we feel stronger, we work within the system to change it. When our situation becomes impossible, we can simply leave it behind. These are the choices we have. There are no others. Accepting these choices is the first step we must take in improving our situation, regardless of the context.


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