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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

How the Power of Choices and Decisions Impact You!

“Life is a matter of choices and every choice you make, makes you.”

Life is a never-ending series of choices and decisions. They can be simple and small or big and difficult. Choice connects you to your desired intention, values, and beliefs while your decisions connect you to your behavior, performance, and consequences.

When you run from the challenge to choose and decide versus confronting and overcoming the challenge, it will impair your ability to face, deal with, and grow from the challenges in your future with an inability to manage increasingly demanding situations. This disempowers you to be overwhelmingly incapable of handling life.

According to Sam Silverstein, The Power of Choice, your choices also impact others within your circles of influence. For example, your ability to support your family based on financial decisions, how you treat your personal or professional partner and its impact on your relationships and success.

You influence others with your choices and decisions and can change their lives as well as your own. However, when you live your life on autopilot, the daily choices you make happen invisibly. This can make it seem as though you have no choice to decide because you think everything is outside of your control. It can feel as though you have been swept up in a strong wind that is tossing and turning you at will. Looking back on your life have you felt powerless by external events, i.e., COVID, economics, illness, fired, birth inheritance of family, culture, and class, chance meeting with a stranger, generous act of a colleague, friend, or mentor, or a mean word from a loved one? The intervention of these events can change the direction of your story. This makes it crucial to your life’s story that you make conscious, intentional choices and decisions to create the story you want to tell and have for your life. You are constantly weaving your tapestry based on your choices which evolves into your story.

There is a science behind making choices called The Choice Theory by Psychiatrist William Glasser. He determined that you have direct control over how you act and think. And in turn, how you think, and act influences how you feel and your physiology from the cellular and molecular levels. It all works together to determine who you are and how your life will evolve. Your brain makes decisions based on its valuation (what is rewarding) and cognitive control networks (meet your goals without distractions).

Most people have gone shopping to buy foods that align with their goal of healthy eating. Your value network wants what is good and not good for you (fruits and cake). Your cognitive control helps you strike a balance by not checking out with a cart full of chocolate cake (my favorite). A balance of both valuation and cognitive control networks is needed to make the best decisions (vegetables and a slice of cake). Now you can see how making choices and decisions is difficult. The difficulty made more so by your biases (life experiences, family/friends, what you see in the media, need for instant gratification, pain from a prior decision) that can lead you into the wrong direction. You may over or underestimate the likelihood of the consequences of your choice, i.e., victim of a crime. When you have more choices, you can feel overwhelmed when making decisions. You must cut through all the noise of bias and the impact of too many choices. You must take a step back and learn to become present with yourself and your life to see that every decision you make matters. Each decision or choice will have consequences. And although you can make choices and decisions freely, you can never choose the consequences of your decisions. You can help avoid hurtful consequences and make better choices and decisions when you:

• Get clear about what you really want.

• Do not sweat the small choice.

• Make proactive decisions a habit.

• Get an opinion from those you trust.

• Notice your emotions and its impact on your decisions.

• Determine the advantages and disadvantages of your decisions.

• Recognize the opportunities within your decisions.

• Act on your decisions.

• Forgive yourself and others for wrong decisions.

“Tomorrow’s blessings and opportunities depend on the choices and decisions we make today.” James Esdras Faust

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