Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring

Understanding the Power of Choice


Decision is a word that is overused. The web defines it as:

  1. A conclusion or judgment reached after consideration.
  2. The act of reaching a conclusion or of passing of judgment on an issue under consideration.
  3. Firmness of character or action; determination.

I much prefer replacing the word decision with choice. The web defines choice as:

  1. The act of choosing; selection.
  2. The power, right, or liberty to choose; option.
  3. An alternative.

When you look at the two definitions you find that choice is the more active one. Reminding us constantly that the act of choosing is making a selection amongst competing things. Decisions seem both final and judgmental. There is no comparison in the definition. Decisions stand alone. Choices stand against something or things not chosen.

We constantly make trade-offs on many levels. Trade-offs become apparent when you choose. Choice implies that you made a trade-off to choose one thing over another. Maybe not explicitly nor thoughtfully. Nonetheless, it implies direction and guidance for the next steps you will take.

You can decide many things in a day. But they are a reflection only of a conclusion you reached or a judgment you made. It is less rigorous and surprisingly less accountable when viewed in this way. Your conclusion or judgment could be arbitrary, biased, or flawed. Popular thinking conflates a decision with choice. But by definition, you now see they are different.

With choice, there is a test for validity based on what we do next. Choice becomes more powerful the better we understand what we did not pursue. The clearer we consider options, the more commitment we can generate through our choices. Focus and energy appear when we intentionally choose one path over another. One idea or opportunity over another.

Becoming aware that our days are filled with many choices instead of decisions brings great freedom and possibility. We chose to read a book instead of scrolling through social media feeds because we have thought through why it would be beneficial to do so. Choosing to go to the gym instead of watching Netflix becomes more powerful once you make the trade-off calculation explicit. Health over pleasure in this case.

Begin to substitute the word choice every time you say to yourself you “have to make a decision”. With practice, you will be reminded that you need options to choose from. Not judgments about one thing. Bringing greater breadth into your life while using intentionality to focus your next move.

Remember, it should not be about what you decide to do but rather what you choose to do. Understanding other options that you discarded for they had much less value.

Every minute of the day we make choices about where to focus our attention or what to do next in the moment. Never waste them with decisions. Always fill them with choices. You will be surprised by how good you will begin to feel the more you try.

Bits of Life Missed Worth Exploring


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