Not all choices are equal. There are choices and there are CHOICES!
This article concerns the choices behind the choices, or what the business world calls strategic decisions and operational decisions.
Many people fail or fall victim to circumstances because they end up making a strategic decision when an operational decision is called for. Teenage pregnancy is a prime example.
When we fail to make a good strategic decision, we make bad operational decisions.
For example: I don’t feel like going to the gym. That is an operational decision for the moment. However, if I have made a strategic decision to be in good physical shape and/or be at a healthy weight, the current decision is hopefully an exceptional operational decision, not a permanent one. So I will go to the gym tomorrow.
The problem is that we often over-rely on operational decisions—how I feel at the moment—to ultimately make our strategic decisions.
Then life pushes us around instead of us pushing life.
If I make the decision to come home and drink beer and eat chips instead of going to the gym—day after day—I have ultimately made a strategic decision to be a beer-drinking, chip-eating (and likely overweight TV-watcher) instead of a disciplined healthy person.
I just listened to an important book, The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business.
The book gets into how and why we make choices. Some things we do by remote (habit), like shifting a manual car, turning right when we enter a grocery store, or eating that cookie at 3 every afternoon.
We CAN actually form new habits.
I cchose (and I choose) to be healthy, so I can’t succumb to the routine mentioned above everyday. By exercising my will power on a regular basis, I can actually create new habits.
More on creating new habits later.
There are major life choices, like to be kind, so be faithful to our God or gods, or to be ethical.
Then there are the choices we make every day.
For example, you can choose to be sexually pure, then you are faithful to your partner or remain celibate all together. If you have firmly made that strategic choice, then you can handle situations better where you might be tempted to compromise.
If you have made a strategic decision to be honest, then if an armored truck ever drives by with money flying out the window, you won’t join the hordes rushing to grab what they can; you will call the police.
Not all decisions are equal. Think about the choices behind your choices.
What are the strategic decisions you want to make for for this year, for your career, for your relationships, and for your life?
Royalty-free image shot by Robert Linder; retrieved from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1336060