What ‘alternative’ means
An ‘alternative’ as used in this message does not merely mean the other options available. It is used here to describe the result of going by those other options. It describes what happens when you turn away from the ‘obvious’ to choose from the other possibilities. Please keep this in mind or you might not understand the entire message. Let’s illustrate further.
Every time we need to make a decision, there are options to choose from. A student preparing for exams can decide to study or not. He studying is the ‘obvious’ in front of him, and the ‘alternative’ according to this message is that he would fail. Did you catch that? Once again, our use of alternative describes the result of not doing the ‘obvious’ thing. The alternative to sleeping (assuming it is ‘obvious’ ) doesn’t mean being awake, but suffering the consequence of not sleeping.
When the alternative is scary
Since an alternative means the result of not doing what is right before us, a scary alternative is when the result of doing other than that is highly undesired. Whenever that is the case, we force ourselves to do what we need to do. We do what needs to be done.
When the alternative to studying (the result of not studying) becomes as scary as failing, a student can study for long hours nonstop. Failing is scary. When famine struck Ghana in the 1980’s, many families resorted to delicacies they would not eat on a normal day. The alternative was to starve to death—it was scary.
To every decision we are confronted with, if the alternative is scary, we put our feelings behind us and just do as the moment requires. And because of that, we don’t exhibit our true desires.
When the alternative isn’t scary
Who we really are on the inside comes to light when the alternative isn’t scary! This is where all the difference happens. It is the point of separation between high and low achievers, successful and unsuccessful people, the rich and the poor, and so forth.
The thing is, life is based on decisions. And in the situation that ‘the alternative is scary,’ everyone makes the same decisions. Our survival instincts push us to do what is necessary. What sets outstanding people apart from those who aren’t, is the choices they make when the alternative isn’t scary.
Every student studies the day before the exam because at that point, the alternative is scary. The outstanding students, on the other hand, are often those who study even when the alternative isn’t scary—even when the semester is young and refusing to study doesn’t promise disaster.
Almost every ‘religious’ person prays intensely in times of trouble, when not doing it seems scary. What sets the very spiritual people apart is, they pray intensely even when there is no looming danger, when the alternative isn’t scary.
The trend repeats in every endeavour.
When Titanic was sinking, everyone struggled to survive. You could hardly tell apart who was rich from the poor. It is because in that moment, ‘the alternative was scary.’ At that point, the quality of life they all exhibited was equal. Whenever the alternative is scary, we all do the same things to survive.
What differentiates the quality of one person’s life from another’s is what they choose to do when the alternative isn’t scary.
Therefore, whenever you do not feel pressured to perform, pray, study, train, write, rehearse or act as you are supposed to, remember, that is when it matters most. Choosing to still do, in the moment of no pressure (no scary alternative) is what will make you stand out in life.
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As written by Ebenezer Agbey Quist, author of Reformed Or Deformed
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