Choices can either be a major ally or frightful enemy; luckily you control which category they will fall into. Darren Hardy says, “each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit,” then goes on to accurately point out, “don’t choose at all, and you’ve made the choice to be the passive receiver of whatever comes your way.” Whether conscious, subconscious, large, or small, choices are the ingredients that mold and shape our lives.
We must become actively aware of these decisions and the attitude in which to treat them if we are going to become successful.
Sweat the Small Stuff
The first thing that needs to be realized is that although big decisions in life are important, they are not the ones that normally trip us up. We put much more time, energy, and focus into making selections at life’s fork in the roads. The choices and actions that make the biggest difference are the small ones.
Let’s take credit card debt as an example. Years ago, I found myself $12,000 in credit card debt. This did not result from a single black and white decision that I made, it was the result improperly budgeting, interest, and small purchases. Over time this compounded and I was faced with owing a formidable amount of money.
This same principle can apply to almost any category in your life. I get it, skipping that chapter for today, or not following up with that second prospect you were supposed to may not seem important; after all, you are tired and you’ve done pretty well the rest of the week but you must shift your mindset to realize It’s not about that single choice, it’s about hundreds of those actions compiling over that week, month, and year. When these decisions are stacked, they amount to a drastic difference.
The Buck Stops with You
This is probably the most important concept to grasp when it comes to your choices in life. We are engineered in a way that makes us eager to blame anything wrong in our life on everything besides us. Darren Hardy addresses this perfectly, “We are all self-made men and women, but only the successful take credit for it.”
It is hard for some to accept this, we want to blame our circumstances rather than our decisions. The truth is that certain people are dealt worst hands in life while other situations are more favorable. However, although our backgrounds and circumstances may have influenced who we are, they are not responsible for who you become.
I don’t want to sound harsh but…The Universe does not care about your circumstances. You may not have chosen some of the bad things that happened through your life, so you have two choices… Wallow in the past and become bitter, or decide you are going to take control and become better.
Good, Bad, and Ugly start taking responsibility for everything that happens in your life from here on out.
Call to Action
Darren Hardy said, “The first step toward change is awareness.” So, what can you start doing TODAY to affect making better choices? Just making a mental note and trying a bit harder to be conscious of decisions won’t work. Darren Hardy suggests, and from personal experience I can attest, that you should begin track actions related to an area of your life that you want to change.
Whatever the area is, start writing down every choice or action you make related to it. If you want to save more money, begin to physically record every penny you spend. If you want to improve in public speaking, write down every time you practice and for how long; then have a friend record your speech and ask for honest feedback.
Tracking your activities will force you to start noticing where you can improve or are going wrong. You will be able to take these notes and become better because of them. Try doing it for at least 30 days straight, I guarantee that consistency in this exercise will bring improvement to that area.
Small choices make big differences, take personal responsibility, and track your progress!