5 things we can learn from the Lion King pt-4 : The power of choices


We are continuing our series on the Lion King.
I trust you have, as I also have, enjoyed the material we have covered so far.

I honestly did not know, we could extract so many nuggets from a Disney animation.
The truth is, inspiration is found everywhere.
Some find it in nature, some in songs, some in science.
I tend to find it a little bit everywhere. Actually, that’s not a correct statement. I don’t find inspiration, it usually finds me.


In the previous post, we saw why Simba was stuck in his comfort zone : a lack of purpose.
We entitled that post “The Purpose of Life is to find a Purpose in Life”.
The whole point of us being on this earth is to really find out why we are here in the first place.

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why. — Mark Twain

I love that quote.
The day of our birth marks the beginning of our existence. The day we find out why marks the beginning of our life.

What is existence without a purpose? When you add a meaning or a reason to your existence, that’s what we call life.
For to exist, is to have life, to live is to have and pursue a purpose in life.
To exist is to draw breath, to live is to have a reason to spend that breath.
To merely exist is painful, to live is delightful.

Once we find the meaning of our life and have a purpose, we are compelled to leave the comfort zone to pursue it.


The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice; their choice! — Dwight D. Eisenhowe

We make several choices every day.
According to various sources, an adult makes about 35 000 choices a day.
I would venture to claim that the first choice we make every day is whether we wake up or hit snooze.
I must admit that I have hit ‘snooze’ a few times just to  get another five minutes of sleep which never seems to be a good idea.
From the moment we make the first decision of the day to wake, we are faced with thousands of choices. We have to choose what to wear, if we want coffee, how we want it, when do we want.
Luckily, most of the decisions we have to make in a day are trivial. They are not that consequential.

Choices are exclusive.  Choosing one thing often means rejecting another.

Courtesy of Purpology.com

Choices are also determinant. Your choice of restaurant determines what your experience will be. For example, if you go to an Italian restaurant, you are not going there for the butter chicken curry. Your choice predetermines that you will most likely have an Italian specialty such as pasta and whatever you choose will have an Italian touch to it.

Choices are also opportunities. They open up ranges of more choices. For example, if you make the choice to go on a road trip instead of flying. Each of these choices will open up a new array of choices. For example, on the road trip you might choose to spend a night in a hostel or a hotel and meet your favorite saxophonist performing live.
On the other hand, on the plane you might be seated next to your favorite writer and have a conversation of a lifetime.
Choices open up opportunities, therefore it is vital to make the right choices, understanding that most of the times, choosing is rejecting.

The Power of choices

In light of the context of our story today, we come to realize all these years, Simba was one choice away from the throne.
Think about it. All he had to do was make a decision.
He had a choice to either live the rest of his life in grief and guilt about his father’s death, embrace the temporary solution offered by friends (Timon and Pumba) or go back to Pride Rock and be crowned King.
His ability to fulfill his purpose was attached to a choice. In others words, making the right choice was the key to becoming the King he was inside.

Though, as we covered in the previous blog post, Simba had found a meaning and purpose to his life after encountering both Nala and Mufasa, he still had to make a choice. He had to choose whether he would stay or go back. He had to choose between the comfort zone and the stretch zone. He had to choose between “It means no worries, for the rest of your days” and reality : face the past and take what belongs to you.
Had Simba decided to remain in his comfort zone, he would have nobody else but himself to blame.

I have found that it is very easy to have a victim mentality. We never take responsibility for anything, we blame others for our conditions.
Perhaps, the things that have happened to us were none of our fault, granted. However, to use this misfortune as fuel to keep the fire of bitterness and grief burning is a choice, pure and simple.
Some people hold on to pain with a ferocious grip as if their lives depended on it.
When pain is all you have known, pain becomes all you ever want.
I have known people that were so bitter about things or towards people that they could not let go. The pain mingled with their being that letting go was equivalent to losing a part of themselves.
It is a very sad thing when pain and bitterness become our comfort zone. We don’t want to allow forgiveness and healing to come into our hearts because they are foreign to us.
There is a saying that goes “it’s better to live with a devil you know then with an angel you don’t know”. This is directly applicable to such people.
They would rather live with the devil of hurt and bitterness because that’s what they are familiar with. They lament on their past, and host nightly pity parties thinking their fate is defined by some being other than themselves.
They won’t give the angel of joy and forgiveness a chance to make their acquaintance. They build up walls and will not trust anything other than the pain they have embraced,

The power is in your hands

If choices are powerful, we are more powerful because we are the ones with the responsibility and the privilege of choosing.

I will now pull the curtains of my own privacy to share with you something I have learned few years ago.
I am a very sensitive person. I don’t have a photographic memory as such but I remember microscopic details about negative events, sadly.
For instance, if I was to go to a soccer game and experience first hand my favourite soccer team (Manchester United) winning against their bitter rival, I would go back home ecstatic but would not remember the event in a lot of details except that it felt amazing.

In contrast, if I was to get in an argument with a person I trust and love, I would remember specific details about the argument. I would not recall with precision the words that were used. I would most likely paraphrase them except if the argument was a short then I can quote them verbatim.
What I will remember though is the tone, the facial expression of the person when they uttered those words. I will remember the look in their eyes. I will remember their body language. If there was a random honk of a passing car at the moment, I will remember that. I would remember the look on the persons face when the honk of that car resounded.
I tend to hold details about sensory data collected during an intense emotional moment.
Because my making was such, it was so easy to be hurt by people I cared about.

As I would go back to my house and ready myself for bed, I will live the argument again in my mind with the same details and end up miserably hurt.

One day, as I was hurting because of something someone did or said, I realize that I was in my bed, incapable of sleeping, grieving and hurting while the other person was probably in the felicity of dreams.
I made a decision that day, and it was in 9 words : No-human-can-have-that-much-power-over-me.
That did it. I had the power in my hands and my made use of it.
I was free. I could only be hurt if I made the conscious choice of accepting hurt. No other human could have power over how I felt, over my health, over my heartbeat, and blood pressure. No human could by his or her words decide whether I would be smiling or hurting.
I still see many people who have not used the power that is in their hands to choose. Consequently they are constantly targets of emotional abuse.

There is a quote I hold very dearly :

Every slave holds the power to break his bondage. — William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.


What is it that you want ? If you have found your purpose in life, what hinders you from pursuing it? If you are a victim of pain and heartache, what’s stopping you from pulling yourself together and being in control of your emotions?
The answer to all the above is one word : choice.

You are ONE decision away from your objective.