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by Edet B. Effiom
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What is the greatest gift to the human race? You may be wondering; more so, as there are innumerable gifts in the world. I suppose, you're thinking of materialistic gifts. Though they're all gifts, none can be classified as the greatest, because their importance depends on an individual. If the greatest gift to humans isn't materialistic, what then is it? You may be asking yourself. Choice is the greatest gift that God our Creator, has given to you, me and to all humanity. It is the gift or potential that Almighty God—the creator of everything, gracefully and generously given to all of us, irrespective of race, religion, social class, and philosophical or ideological inclination.
We use this gift or potential innumerable number of times daily without realising it. In fact, it is ours for keeping from our birth to our death. Very regrettably, instead of using this potential positively, quite often, we misuse it; consequently, we pay the price—sometimes very dearly.
From our birth, God has given us the power to choose. We have the power to choose in all spheres of our daily life. In the morning, we choose either to get up from bed, or to remain lying down; when we are hungry, we choose either to eat, or to stay with hunger—we choose what to eat, when to eat, and even the quantity to be eaten.
We also have the power to choose our vocation, where to work, and quite often, how to do our job. We choose our profession based on our academic background or our training, and that depends entirely on us. We choose where to work, by applying for an employment in a company of our choice. At work, we also choose how we shoulder our entrusted responsibilities.
Our ability to succeed in life is dependent on this great gift. For we either choose to succeed, or to fail. While everybody dream or aspire to succeed, most of the time, some people unknowingly choose to fail. They choose to fail by doing one or some of the followings:
¨ Not to have dreams and aspirations.
¨ Look for excuses for not advancing in life.
¨ Directly, or indirectly hurt somebody or group of people.
¨ Refuse to realise the importance of being their brothers’ keeper.
¨ Revolt against an authority—societal or celestial authority.
¨ Form the habit of procrastinating.
¨ Ignore the importance of self-discipline.
¨ Are imprudent.
¨ Lack understanding.
¨ Lack an ability to be communicate
¨ Refuse to recognise the necessity to be forgiving.
With the just-listed, we are inevitably exposed to undesirable incidences. When they occur, we blame everything, and everybody except ourselves. Many people even blame God for all their misfortunes. They fail to realise that God, whose love for us is immeasurable, can not hurt us. Misfortunes occur to us either because of the direct or indirect misuse of our God-given power—The Power to Choose. Cassius understood that both our success and failure depend on us when he said to Brutus in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “Men at some time are masters of their fates; the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings”. In fact, Cassius understated this fact; men are always the masters of their fates. Here, the key word is always.
How can I be the master of my fate or destiny, you may wonder. The answer is very simple—simpler than you can ever imagine. William James, the great American psychologist and philosopher gave the answer when he said, «Sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny». In other words, your actions give birth to your habits, your habits bring about your character, and your destiny is the offspring of your character. These unarguably spring from the word ‘Choice’
You may be claiming to have a physical handicap, believing that to be your obstacle to success. That is a false belief, because regardless of your handicap, you can still achieve your aspirations. The disadvantage of your claim is that, the more you cling to it, the more you are condemned to fail.
There is absolutely no obstacle to the achievement of success. The only obstacles are the ones that you impose on yourself. I suppose that you have heard of many physically handicapped people who have chosen to attain greatness. If you have not, think of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, who are blind, yet they are among the world’s most respected and successful musicians. Colin Dexter, in spite of his deafness, is still an outstanding Writer whose books are bestsellers, and some of them have been turned into wonderful films. The list is limitless. By sticking to your negative claims, you are choosing to fail.
On reading this, I know, you will definitely agree with me that, we make a choice every minute of our lives. Even when you are not making one, you are actually making it. Most unfortunately, many people do not understand the importance of this great gift. The sooner its importance is realised, and the gift used positively, the more meaningful our lives will become. As our lives become more meaningful, we become happier and more successful.
At this point, you may be asking how your gift could be exploited positively to your advantage. Regrettably, I do not have a definite answer for you, because it all depends on the particular situation that surrounds you. As situations are different, so are your possibilities for applying your given power or potential. however, what is very certain is that, whatever your decision, and in whichever situation, a decision that directly or indirectly affects anybody negatively, will certainly, sooner or later, bring about the opposite of your desired outcome. The reverse is also very true. Furthermore, with good decisions or choices, you are certain to have peace of mind.
It is worth underlining here that, there are some conditions or situations that could tremendously affect your ability to make a good choice. Some of such situations are: when you are under fear; under the influence of any intoxicating element such as alcohol, drugs (both soft and hard); when there is any sign of doubt; because of emotion, or sentiment, to mention but a few.
Quite often, certain conditions impede one from taking a good decision. In such a case, what should one do, you may ask? Your question is quite legitimate, for I know that it could make you to be confused, desperate, and not knowing exactly what to do. The only advice that I can give is to pray and ask God for guidance. Pray to him, and believe that he will answer your prayers, and he will definitely do so, for He is a very loving and merciful Father. He grants all requests presented to him in faith.
Sometimes, people tend to think that prayers have to be done only by kneeling down, or in the church. This is not true. While there is nothing wrong in doing those, in fact, they are even very important as they illustrate humility and dedication to God; a prayer could be offered by merely talking to him while walking or driving, taking bath, or even while at work. After all, prayer, in its simplest term, means communicating with God.
Additionally, it is worth pointing out that, all our heart’s desires are our prayers. Hence, we can present our request to God anywhere, and at anytime—God is omnipresent and he is always listening to us.
As it is often said, “You can take a Camel to the stream, but you can not force her to drink from it”, that also applies here. For even if this is written as long as an encyclopaedia, I can never force you to take the content of this piece seriously; thereby, applying it in your daily life, so that your life would be more meaningful; consequently, realising your dreams and aspirations. It is very important to remember that, irrespective of what you are thinking now, by refusing to heed to the advice given here, you are actually using your greatest gift—the Power to Choose.

N/B: This article remains the property of the author.
The author also has an inspiration book entitled, "In search of Success", that he's yet to get a publisher, for its publication.
To contact the author: ebeffiom@yahoo.co.uk

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