Feb 25

5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Saying “I Had No Choice”

no choice

Saying I have no choice means you’ve chosen an easier path.

“I had no choice,” actually means, “I had only one path that was easy in the moment.” – Seth Godin   tweet this!

The quote above is one of my favorite quotes of all time not only because of the value it brings but also because of its cruel yet direct statement of a fact.  In fact when I first came across this quote, I felt like I received a solid slap in the face, kind of like the ones Barney and Marshall did to one another in How I Met Your Mother.

This is one of the most common excuses we come up with whether you admit it or not.  When faced with a tough decision, we tend to go for the easiest way out by saying we didn’t have a choice and I know this because I’ve said this several times more than I should have.

The best example I can remember was around five years ago.  I really hated my job back then and would give everything in the world to get out.  I had a chance to speak to an old friend who would later help me get a new job.  What he said was rather short but it was more than enough for me to realize what I was doing wrong.

We spoke over the phone and I told him everything there is to know about this job that I really want to get away from.  I told him that the politics was bad, that people were treated unfairly and just about every negative thing I can think of.

“Why are you still there?” he asked.

“I have no choice bro, I have to feed my family.” I replied.

“Are you even looking for a new job or at least sending out applications?” he asked again.

I wasn’t able to say a word for the at least the next five seconds because the answer was definitely a “No” but at the same time, he made me realize why I was miserable.  There I was rambling about how I hate my job to the bone but I wasn’t doing anything to relieve me of my misery.  My friend just made me realize with one simple question that I HAD A CHOICE.

Sound familiar?  I’m sure it is because we’ve all had our “I have no choice” moments and I’m almost certain that these moments didn’t give us the results we’re after so below are 5 reasons why you should stop saying I have no choice:

1. Because it stifles your creativity

When we say we had no choice, it’s like putting a period to a sentence when you can still add a couple of commas after.  When we decide to go with the easiest route, we are taking away the opportunity for us to think about alternative ways on how we can get out of our circumstance.  Before you make a decision, stop and think.  Brainstorm for other choices you can go with and don’t settle with the option that would not challenge your creativity.

Will we be enjoying technology today had Thomas Edison said “I had no choice” after failing for a thousand times?

2. Because there’s always a choice

You might be saying, “wow, thank you for the tip captain obvious” but we can’t really put it in a better way right?  Even if you think you’ve reached the end of your rope, there is and there will always be a choice.

You can stay happy and not be sad

You can be productive and not lazy

You can thrive and not strive

You can be good and not evil.

This blog’s tagline is “Happiness is a choice” and the reason I chose this tagline was because old, stupid me chose to be miserable before.  I was a victim  and  I longed for sympathy in every failure I experience but one day I realized that I don’t have to be and that I can be happy if I choose to and that it is the better choice.

3. Because we should not make our circumstance decide for us

I’ve said time and again that we are not in control of our circumstance and that we cannot control the hand we were dealt with and that’s a fact of life we all should learn to accept.  Everyone goes through difficulties and there will be times when we have to make tough decisions.  What’s important is that we make one ourselves and not let our circumstance decide for us.

When I’m watching the news, I would always hear criminals who rob or kill people for money blame poverty for what they’ve become and I feel sad for them but at the same time, disagree with their reasons because there are still ways to earn money in more decent ways.  This is why I admire people who, despite being born poor or uneducated, managed to succeed in life.

Abraham Lincoln lived in a cottage in the harsh wilderness of Indiana.  Born to a poor family, young Abraham, went through so much hardships and tragedies (his mother died when he was a child) but instead of becoming a monster, he went on to become one of the most important figures in both American and human history.

4. Because you are in control

When I was a teenager, my childhood friends went through what we can consider as experimental stage.  They tried booze and later on, drugs and it went downhill for most of them.  Some of them got addicted and one even got exiled to a remote province because his mom thinks he was going insane.

They were my friends and I was always with them and I could have easily went through the same path.  BUT I DIDN’T and I’m glad that my friends respected that.  They didn’t show me their illegal ways and they were embarrassed when I caught them.

These same friends I’m talking about are now family men.  Some of them are now working abroad and have great lives, far from their drug-addiction days.  They could have stayed  with addicted if they wanted to but they chose not to.

We are in control of the choices we make and my friends chose right.  They could have said they had no choice just like recovering addicts do but they didn’t and I’m proud of them for that.

5. Because you will not discover your potential

Always going with the easy choice will make you complacent and comfortable and being to comfortable is dangerous in that it doesn’t let you give out your best efforts.  It doesn’t let you persist.

Making tough decisions, taking risks, helps you realize how far you can go and how tenacious you are so don’t settle for “I had no choice”.  Explore your options, even the toughest ones if you must for it is in difficult situations where we are at our best.

The Takeaway

We all have our go-to excuse when we’re met with difficulties and saying “I had no choice” is one of the most used out of all excuses available.  There is always a choice and we all know it.  We’re just trying to avoid making the tough decisions sometimes that we settle for the easiest one so the next time you have to decide on something big, stop for a while.  Take time to think, come up with alternatives and don’t leave out the hard ones because most of the time, it is the difficult steps that leads to success.

Over to You

When was the last time you said “I had no choice”?  Did that decision make you happy and lead you to a resolution you were satisfied with?

I would love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment below or share your stories!


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Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions


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  1. awazieikechi

    Hi Noel

    What an awesome post. We do not know what we do ourselves when we use such phrase. You have revealed in this post the harm that occurs when we lie to ourselves that we have no choice. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      Thank you for your comment Ikechi!

      Yes, these words are lethal because it limits our ability to think of ways to get out of a difficult situation while at the same time not settling for the easiest choice. Sid those words a lot of times before and can’t help to still say it once in a while. It’s one bad habit I’m trying to change.

  2. Brenda Lee

    This is fabulous Noel. I know I’ve been guilty of saying “I had no choice” especially in the job area however, I was taking steps to seek a new job. I just wasn’t in the position to up and quit. There have been a few other times that I’ve said “I had no choice” because at that very moment I wasn’t able to do anything but. However, I did take steps to put me into the position of having a choice. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      I guess we’ve all been guilty of this Brenda.

      Been in a similar situation as yours and I did end up settling for “I had no choice”. Sometimes we get so lazy thinking of other ways to get out of a bad situation that we succumb to the easiest option, one we’re comfortable doing instead of entertaining a more difficult approach.

      Thanks for the comments and for following the blog!

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    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
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    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      Thanks for the kind words!

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