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“Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the greatest freedom you will ever have.”

Choice: mankinds’ single greatest, and most squandered gift. There is no greater ability a person has in this world than to choose. Millions have died for it, fought over it, and sought after it; this very country was founded in the name of it, and yet, in times where this gift is more available then ever, it seems to go to waste. To those who have it, it’s become nothing, and to those who don’t have it, it’s everything.

The choices you make don’t define who you are, but they definitely show a lot about your character. It’s strange really, our fears of not having a choice have somehow turned into our fears of having to make a choice. If you don’t believe me, then just think about college for a second. Attendance is at an all time high, it seems like everyone is either going or has gone or knows somebody who is; in fact you’re probably one of them. Have you ever stopped and wondered why? Why so many people who go around pounding their chests screaming about how “unique” they are, all end up taking the same path? The answer is simple, FEAR, the fear that a choice they make may have negative impacts for them down the line. So they don’t make a choice, they follow the guidelines set forth by society. A life predicated on a predetermined path is doomed to fail from the start. The only fact in life is that it’s unpredictable, all we can do is strap in and hope that we’ve prepared ourselves enough for whatever lies ahead. If you put your ability to choose in someone else’s hands, don’t be upset when it doesn’t end up how you hoped for.

Conquering this fear requires full commitment, there is no going halfway because then you only get half results. Taking a firm stance is a hard thing to do because it exposes you and leaves you vulnerable, but in the end it is this vulnerability that will make you stronger, and you will need this strength because with any choice you must be willing to accept the outcomes, whether they be good or bad. Not many people know this about me, but when deciding on which college to attend it came down to a little known ivy league that starts with an H and the school I’m at now. There was immense pressure to take the safe route, the one which practically guaranteed a secure future, but I’d have to give up on a lot of my dreams in the process. I almost caved, I almost let the fear determine my choice for me. That was until I realized that no value could ever be placed on the things I loved to do and that my desire to be exceptional, not just average, far outweighed any risk associated with it.

 Make no mistake, being exceptional is a choice, it’s a choice that requires you to expose yourself to all kinds of risks that any sane person would avoid. It requires you to remove the safety nets and brave the hardships of life, all in the hope that one day you can reach the top. The number of people who can and have done this is extremely small, that’s why they’re called exceptional. But, for the most part they all started at the same point as everyone else, they had oppurtunities set before them and ultimately they made the choice to go for it. They were successful at it not because they were special but because for them the risk was more than worth the reward, and when this is true, people tend to perform at levels higher than previously thought possible. Their ability to shed their fears and make a choice set them up to become the exceptional people you know them as today.

You must ask yourself, are your dreams and aspirations worth betting your future against? For me, the answer was yes, without a doubt. If you feel that doing what you love is always worth the risk, then there may just be a place for you here at living.life.fearless and alongside the exceptional people in the world. Just know that whatever outcome you desire in life, whether it be of greatness or the mundane, is in your hands because the greatest gift of all, choice, belongs to you and you alone. But you must choose and choose fearlessly, because those are always the choices that lead you to be exceptional.  #LLF

Anyone can maintain, but very few actually live.

The song I chose for this post was “Dollar and A Dream III” by J. Cole off of his recently released debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story. I thought this fit perfectly with the theme of this post because at the end of the day, a dollar and a dream is all I have and all I need to chase my dreams and face my fears. He’s a very dope new artist and you can follow him @JColeNC and lear more about him and his music here.

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