What strikes me is the sheer amount of people that sit on the 'bench of the unknown’ at the ‘crossroads of choice’ with little or no idea of which direction to go.
This got me thinking about Alice in Wonderland, have you seen the movie or read the book?
‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the cat.
‘I don’t much care where…’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the cat.
(Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll)
Alice had a choice, but she didn’t have a clear idea of what she wanted. It’s at these times we can easily fall into the trap of allowing others to take control of our destiny and make choices on our behalf. We all have the power of choice, and choice is just that, POWER. Choice is a catalyst for change which can elevate us to heroic heights or hurl us to desperate levels of despair. Such is the power of choice, It can bring us closer to our dreams or sometimes push us further away from our dreams.
There are a multitude of factors which prevent us from making choices, the main being the fear of the unknown or making that wrong choice. Have a think, are you stuck at that crossroad of choice in any part of your life at the moment? What’s stopping you from making that choice?
Many of us live our life as if we're in a rudderless boat drifting in the sea of life. Our destination is….who knows? We arrive wherever the current or tide takes us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You see, the boat does have a rudder! It can steer you to the shore of success. That rudder is your CHOICE. If you use it, you can become the captain of your destiny.
A good part of our waking day is spent in making choices. It begins as soon as the alarm goes off. Do we get out of bed immediately or push the snooze button? Do we go to work or call in sick? Throughout the day we continue making choices as we decide what to do next. Do we tackle the most important task or checkout those insignificant status updates on Facebook? Each decision that we make points us to the road of success or the path of mediocrity.
The more precisely and positively that you can define what you want and the more you programme your brain to seek out and notice possibilities, the more likely you are to make that choice and get what you want! Opportunities only exist when they are recognised as opportunities.
To live the life that you want, you need to know what you want. Being effective means producing the results that you choose. The first step in doing this is to start making choices! I can guarantee if you don’t, there are plenty of people willing to choose for you and remember it’s during these times when you lose control of your destiny.
Outcomes that rely primarily on other people taking action are not well formed. If people do not respond the way that you want them to, you’re stuck! So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? You need to concentrate on what YOU need to do to make it happen and NOT stand around waiting for others or the opportunity may just pass you by.
So, how do you know what you want? YOU make it up! There are some rules for doing this so that you have the best chance of success. It’s far easier to move towards what you want than move away from what you don’t want. However, you cannot move towards something if you do not know what it is. The reason for this is because the human brain can only understand a negative by turning it into a positive. In order to avoid something, you have to know what it is that you’re avoiding and keep your attention on it. You have to think of it to know what not to think of, just as you have to keep an object in view to avoid bumping into it. Whatever you resist, you need to persist!
Nobody handed us a book of instructions on how to succeed in life. So, it’s no surprise that we make mistakes. Here are five tips that I share with those who I meet that struggle with making choices.
1. Be aware of your choices: This is not as easy as you think. Why? Because most of the time your boat (mind) is on autopilot. Instead of deciding whether to rise at the sound of the alarm or hit the snooze button, for example, we act automatically. We act by force of habit. If it’s a good habit, that’s great, as there is one less decision to make. But if it is a bad habit, your boat will move away from the shore of success and head for the rocks. Imagine not being aware of that! To avoid such danger, force yourself to become aware of your choices.
2. Analyse your choices: Once you become aware of making a decision, ask yourself, Will this choice help me to succeed or hold me back?
3. Make your choice: After realising whether the choice is helpful or harmful, make a decision for the best.
4. Act on your choice: Decisions without action are worthless, for they are mere pipe dreams, not plans. As Arnold H. Glasow wrote “Ideas not coupled with action never become bigger than the brain cells they occupied.”
5. Multiply your choices: One choice is no choice and two choices may pose a dilemma. However, three or more alternatives offer flexibility and provide you with the option of making the best possible choice.
Leadership Insight: Are you exercising YOUR power of choice?