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Choice

  • Don't be obsessed with the idea that there is only one possibility. If you think so, there is only one.

  • It's when we're given choice that we sit with the gods and design ourselves ...

  • ... the strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.

  • ... the middle class produces civilization because it is the only class constantly trained to come to a conclusion, poised as it is between the depth and height. It is not rich enough to have everything, nor poor enough to have nothing — and has to choose: to choose between a succulent table and a fine library, between travel and a flat in town, between a car and a new baby, or a fur coat and a ball dress ... its life therefore is one long training of the judgment and the will. This by itself need not manufacture greatness; but it is the soil in which it is possible to make it grow. And for this reason, when the rich become too rich and the poor too poor, and fewer and fewer people live under the constant discipline of their decisions, the age of greatness withers. To produce the lifelong stimulus of choice both in thought and action should be the aim of all education ...

  • ... choice in any sphere is a peril, the basic division of peoples is of those who believe in choice and those who mistrust it.

  • Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it ...

  • ... to make real choices is never painless. Whether to have fish or chicken for dinner is not a choice. ... choices are not preferences. Choices are serious and often have significant repercussions.

  • Realism, never perfection, is the key to wise choice-making.

  • There is never a perfect choice but there are wise and wonderful and sensible choices.

  • Our choices tell our story.

  • You make what seems a simple choice: choose a man or a job or a neighborhood — and what you have chosen is not a man or a job or a neighborhood, but a life.

  • ... you can't set down and stand up at the same time, each situation has its advantages, but you can't be in both places at once ... it can't be did.

  • One ship drives east and another drives west / With the selfsame winds that blow. / 'Tis the set of sails and not the gales / Which tells us the way to go.

    • Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
    • "Winds of Fate," in Hazel Felleman, ed., The Best Loved Poems of the American People ()
  • Sometimes when almost everything is wrong, one thing is so right you would do it all again.

  • No life is so hard that you can't make it easier by the way you take it.

  • Liberty ... consists in the ability to choose.

  • There are no signposts in the sea.

  • Destiny is another name for humanity's half-hearted yet persistent search for death. Again and again peoples have had the chance to live and show what would happen if human life were irrigated by continual happiness; and they have preferred to blow up the canals and perish of drought.

  • Chance is better than choice; it is more lordly. Chance is God, choice is man.

  • Life is complicated, and the consumer cult of infinite choice has made it more so.

  • You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

  • A society which is clamoring for choice, which is filled with many articulate groups, each urging its own brand of salvation, its own variety of economic philosophy, will give each new generation no peace until all have chosen or gone under, unable to bear the conditions of choice. ... we must turn all of our educational efforts to training our children for the choices which will confront them.

  • To the happy all things come: happiness can even bring the dead back to life. It is our resentments, our dreariness, our hate and envy, unrecognized by us, which keeps us miserable. Yet these things are in our heads, not out of our hands; we own them. We can throw them out if we choose.

  • Choice is a signature of our species.

  • The ability to choose puts human beings in control of their actions. Implied in choice is that the action taken is best, and that all other options are overruled. We cannot knowingly choose what is not good for us. The ability to pursue a course, whether it is a popular one or not, is measured in courage. The greater the courage, the greater the possibility we will act for change. I build my characters around the dynamics of choice, courage, and change.

  • It is the ability to choose which makes us human.

  • Do lifelong artists pay a price for having chosen to make art? Of course. Everyone pays the price for his or her choices.

  • To choose is also to begin.

  • It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

  • Of two evils, I always choose the lesser.

    • Gene Stratton-Porter,
    • in Jeannette Porter Meehan, The Lady of the Limberlost: Life and Letters of Gene Stratton-Porter ()
  • ... there remains my sister life. All the other things I could have done instead. ... I'll never know, and neither will you of the life you don't choose. We'll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn't carry us. There's nothing to do but salute it from the shore.

  • I may be helpless to change your attitude toward me, but I am not helpless to disregard it.

  • Choose well: your choice is brief and yet endless.

  • I have a theory that every time you make an important choice, the part of you left behind continues the other life you could have had.

  • ... choice is the essence of what I believe it is to be human.

  • I think of all the choices I never knew. And those I let be made for me — to please, from fear, for love. Where did they disappear to, those choices that I never made? They are all part of who I am. They are the legacy I leave behind, they are the finished portrait of myself I cannot change.

  • We are but human plants, with power to shut / In upon self our own impoverished lives, / Refusing light and growth.

    • Lucy Larcom,
    • "A White Sunday," The Poetical Works of Lucy Larcom ()
  • ... the most terribly human moments — the ones we want to pretend never happened — are the very moments that make us who we are today. ... You are defined not by life's imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them.

  • At twenty your choices are almost unlimited. At fifty you're a prisoner of past decisions. At seventy you have no free will left at all.

  • ... our domestic lives reflect the major trend that dominates the consumer marketplace today: an ever-increasing emphasis on variety and choice. ... we find ourselves inventing our lives as we go along, improvising in an effort to take advantage of the bewildering range of choices that we face.

  • Choice has always been a privilege of those who could afford to pay for it.

  • Life is about choices. You are what you choose.

  • It is either the beginning or the end / of the world, and the choice is ourselves / or nothing.

  • The mind gives us thousands of ways to say no, but there's only one way to say yes, and that's from the heart.

  • Character is made by two small words — 'Yes' and 'No.' ... Through all the years the 'Yes' and the 'No' of yesterday and today, added each to each, have made you what you are. You are today the result of all these choices you have made.

  • There is often a turning point in life long before it is suspected by those who look on, much less by the one who is actually passing the boundary ...

  • Choices define and reveal. They are like the numbers you dial on a combination lock; when they are the right ones, you hear a click and know the tumblers have fallen into place.

  • ... who can choose between the worst possibility / and the last ...

    • June Jordan,
    • "Roman Poem Number Thirteen," Things That I Do in the Dark ()
  • Conscious choice is creative, the heart of authenticity. Unconscious choice is destructive, the heel of self-abuse. Unconscious choice is how we end up living other people's lives.

  • In your choice lies your talent.

  • One choice can transform you. One choice can destroy you. One choice will define you.

    • Veronica Roth,
    • slogans for Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant ()
  • Making a choice — declaring what is essential — creates a framework for life that eliminates many choices but gives meaning to the things that remain.

  • Some things in life are out of your control. You can make it a party or a tragedy.

  • For every path you choose, there is another you must abandon, usually forever.

  • You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you like to do.