The Positive Power of Choice

Have you ever noticed how you feel more positive about doing something when you get a choice? It’s very empowering to make a decision and own your action. But what if you’re not in control….

The truth is whether we like the choices in front of us or not, we ALWAYS have a choice, and as the keeper of our choices, we are ALWAYS in control. At its most basic level, a choice can be jumping in with both feet, taking a big risk and going for broke. Or taking a baby step which will provide more information, enabling us to adapt based on what we learn. Or ignoring the situation and doing nothing. Ironically, often when we feel undecided and we think we’re treading water, we’ve actually made the choice to do nothing. Perhaps we need more information to make a more informed decision or maybe the timing just doesn’t feel right. Often simply recognizing that doing nothing IS the choice we’ve made restores our sense of power over our lives. After all, we made a choice, didn’t we!

Of course, making the wrong decision can have less than a positive influence on one’s life. However, by taking responsibility for poor choices and learning from them, we can ultimately improve our decision-making skills and thereby create better outcomes in the long run. And making decisions, good or bad, is the quickest way to learn.

Developing the ability to look ahead ensures expanded options. For example, I’m sure you’ve heard that if you aren’t happy in your job, the best time to look for a new one is while you’re still employed. If you wait until your dissatisfaction gets you fired, your options are minimized as a result of your now urgent need to replace your income. Knowing in advance that you will buy a home or get another degree gives you ample time to save for and research the best option for YOU; otherwise, you may be limited to only options you can afford on the fly or the few that are suspiciously still available. While still considered choices, being lackadaisical or postponing too long can be unproductive. Often, they leave one feeling powerless, like someone else made the decision for you, or trapped with only unenviable options in sight.

In 2008, many people around the world were blindsided by the stock market, the housing market and the job market. Many long-term plans were disrupted, and the new playing field fostered an atmosphere of vulnerability and disenfranchisement. If you were really good about planning ahead you may be one of the few who actually saw the recession coming. Maybe you were so smart that you had a plan in place to protect your assets. If you’re like the rest of us mere mortals, however, it’s easy to feel like our choices have been hijacked.

Of course, this isn’t true. We can still choose how to respond. We can decide whether to adapt to a changing new world or hide our heads in the sand (with our you know whats exposed). If we decide to take action, we’ve got a variety of choices we can make. And if we stumble as we’re learning the new rules, we can quickly revise our decisions based on new insights gained from each step we take.

Most of us resent it when we have to change our long-term plans. Too many believe that we reach an age where we should have it all figured out, and if we don’t, we’ve somehow failed.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, the smartest and most influential people, those that become positively old, never stop learning, growing and adapting. They recognize that change is constant, particularly in a global economy where information is viral. In fact, the next big choice or the next big decision is what keeps these mavericks young.

So you see, you are in charge, empowered, and fully responsible for your future. Congratulations.

Now, what do you want to do next? It’s your choice.

 

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