IN LIFE we are presented with choices and decisions on a daily basis. I remember four years ago sitting in the office of a director at News International, the global media giant behind The Sun newspaper, The Times and News of the World. I had been called in for a second interview about a scholarship to study journalism that year under exceptional circumstances.
They had seen my work, heard the glowing referral from my then mentor, and saw potential that they wanted to invest in, so they put two choices before me: I could either accept the original offer of an all-expenses paid scholarship to study journalism at one of the UK’s top colleges…or I could come and work for them on a well-paid salary as a reporter for the innovative free newspaper they were about to launch, to be called The London Paper.
Two choices, one decision. Both options were clearly attractive for different reasons: one had immediate short-term gratification whilst the other had strong long-term benefits, but both would see my career, and ultimately my life, go down a certain path which was yet to be revealed. I thought long and hard. I felt like the Biblical character of King Solomon caught between two mothers and a baby and I had to make a decision. “Give me the scholarship”, I finally said. They smiled as if I had passed an unknown test of motive and handed me the cheque that would begin my journey on the road to a greater destiny.
You see, when faced with life’s choices it can be so tempting to go for the short term option – the one with the least trouble and quickest reward – but often the greatest rewards in life can be found at the end of the proverbial road less travelled. Have you faced similarly challenging choices in your own career? Perhaps you have unconsciously decided to work any nine-to-five you can get for the rest of your life as long as your bills are paid; or maybe you made a decision to bury your real career passions and desires in favour of climbing up the corporate ladder for its immediate rewards of riches and prestige. Whatever the case, the choices we face and the decisions we make as a result clearly have an impact on where we end up in life.
The London Paper launched shortly after I started my journalism course and although it was a brilliant newspaper, it had such a short run, closing down after just three years in the market. Could that have been the case with my career? I guess we can never know. But one thing that is sure is that as long as we live we will always be faced with choices, whether two, three or more. The good news is that the decision is always yours, no matter how much it appears otherwise. Consider your choices carefully and make your decisions wisely as you approach your work life this year and in the years ahead – your future depends on it.
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