"Free will includes both the power to choose and the capacity for discernment." — Jonas Cain
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I tried the door, but it wouldn't budge.
It seemed strange the shop would be closed in the middle of the day, so I peered through the window to see if the barber was in sight, but was surprised to find only an empty room—not a soul nor furniture to be found!
It was only then that I noticed the “For Rent” sign posted out front.
For many years I used to get my haircut there, but since moving away from the area it had been a while since I stopped in—and now it was too late.
Staring through the window, imagination took over and I began visualizing the empty room setup as a magic studio.
Ever since childhood, I long dreamed of having my own studio to serve as a workshop and performance space to hone my craft, and there before me was the opportunity—a clean palette ready to be fulfilled.
This was at a choice point, and whatever direction taken would cause ripples of repercussions.
It could mean enduring the process of yet another move—something I had done enough of in the years leading up to that moment.
It could mean making lifestyle sacrifices to make it work—something I had also certainly done enough of.
Or it could mean playing the game of life safely by passing up the opportunity and simply wishing that things would magically improve on their own.
But it could also mean taking the rose by the thorns and making life happen by design rather than simply letting it happen by default.
We all find ourselves in these moments every day—whether they are big or small decision points—and sometimes we honor them with sincere thought, and other times we ignore them with blind indifference.
A mentor once advised: “Few hills are worth dying on, so choose your battles wisely.” This is a valuable reminder that not every position is worth holding, encouraging us to recognize our capacity to choose, our ability to discern, and our will to follow through—even when doing the right thing is the more difficult choice.
(And choosing to walk away can at times certainly seem harder to do than choosing to die on a hill we hold dear.)
When you find yourself on the metaphoric hill of a choice point, perhaps a positive practice can be to try changing your script:
Instead of saying “I have to do this,” you might say “I get to do this.”
And instead of saying “I get to do this,” you might say, “I choose to do this.”
Whatever you do or don’t do moving forward, remember that it’s all done through your capacity to choose.
As for me, I did end up renting the storefront and used it as a magic studio for three years before moving on to yet another opportunity on the road less traveled.
I can’t say all decisions have worked out so well, but what I can say is making life happen by design rather than simply letting it happen by default has made all the hills I have chosen to climb all worthwhile.
And that has made all the difference.
Up until now, what hills have you been walking away from? As for today, what hill have you decided is a worthy place to die on?
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Jonas Cain, M.Ed. is a storyteller, magician, musician, and facilitator of fascination on a mission to help you experience abiding joy.