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Should your choices be influenced by others?

Have you ever felt a certain way about a certain idea, topic, or subject, but then felt guilty that your opinions are different from your friends’ or peers’? Even that your choice of music or activities—for example, maybe you like classical music and swimming, and they like rock music and basketball—is different?

Sometimes you do what your friends enjoy doing. Sometimes you do your own thing. There are also times when you may feel pressured to do something you may not normally do—maybe your friends want you to do it, or you want to impress someone.

A common example of influencing others’ choices is peer pressure. Growing up, many teens and young adults experience moments where they feel the need to do something just because others are doing it, like drinking or smoking. Maybe where you grew up, you learned about the negative effects and uses of smoking and alcohol, but suddenly you meet a friend—or group of friends—who do it all the time. The friend(s) encourage you to participate, laughing and poking fun at you when you don’t.

At this moment, you have two choices. The first is to agree and feel the satisfaction of your peers that you gave in. The second is to decline, and either feel guilty or bad about yourself—emotions the others will most likely inflict on you—or you might be proud of your choices.

I’m not going to plainly state that you should never agree to what your friends suggest. They might suggest good things too! For instance, they might offer encouragement about something you feel shy about (presenting in front of people, singing in public), or invite you to join a sports team or club.

The choices you make and solely dependant on you. The way you live is dependent on you. Your future, your life, your actions, achievements, and failures will all depend on two words: words you can control.

Yes or no.

In conclusion: no, you cannot control what others do or think, but you can control your actions and how you see things. Your actions influence your consequences, which can range from excellent to terrible to just fine. This is your shot at life, so live it how you want it to be remembered. What are your opinions on the matter?


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