A quick message to you from future leaders
How good are you at making choices that will move you closer to your desired outcome?
Answer these questions to find out.
- What drives your choices most often… emotion or logic?
- When making choices, do you tend to go with what you feel is the best option in the moment or what you think is best with regards to your future goals?
- How often do you leave things to chance or fate, rather than making a decision?
- Are you likely to procrastinate when you need to make tough choices?
- Do you ever seek the council of others when making decisions?
- Do you review your goals before making choices?
Now that you have your answers, read below to see how you rate.
When I was 16-years-old, I was offered cocaine for the first time. I was an awkward teen with low self-esteem, and the thought of seeming “cool” was high on my list of desires. I also wanted to fit in and didn’t feel like I did most of the time.
So, I had this decision to make. And I knew it was a big one.
After all, cocaine was (and still is) an illegal drug so there could be legal ramifications if things went sideways. I also had no idea how I’d react to if physically, and I knew some people have a reaction that leads to the need for medical attention. Plus, having grown up in a trailer park, always struggling financially, and working hard (both at a job to save money and in school to get good grades) to achieve my goal of attending college—the path I had decided would release me from my current, low economic situation, the question was… would doing cocaine get me closer to my goal of college acceptance or could it pull me farther from it?
On that day, and every subsequent offer for similar things during high school, my answer was always the same, “No thanks. I’m cool.”
I was very single minded.
My goal: Get to college.
Get good grades, apply for scholarships, have a good college application so I get accepted, and save money to pay for it.
What my goal was doesn’t matter as much as the fact that I had one. Having CLARITY on where you want to go, what you want to achieve, your objectives or dreams… whatever term you want to give it, is the key to making GOOD CHOICES.
Any time you are deciding between options, the best choice is the option that gets you closer to your goal.
Of course, I’m assuming you already know that when I say this, I also mean you choose the option that will not hurt someone else or damage their own chances of goal achievement. I believe we can all hit our goals. One person hitting it, doesn’t mean another can’t. I also believe we are all more likely to succeed when we help each other. So just know that when I say choose the option that… I’m always inferring that you are choosing the option that is good for you and doesn’t intentionally hurt anyone else in the process. I’m also basing this on the idea that any goal you’ve set for yourself aligns with your values. So there’s no need to choose between your goals and values.
One of the most interesting outcomes with regards to making choices is that:
For every good choice you make, it tends to lead to more options in your future. Every bad choice you make tends to lead to less options in your future.
And we all want options. I’ve never met anyone who desires to have very few options in life. In fact, it’s more common that someone who has made poor choices comes to a place of limited options where they realize their previous mistakes in decision making based on those limited options they now have.
Let’s look again at the questions you answered earlier.
What drives your choices most often… emotion or logic?
Most of the time, making choices based on emotion is a poor strategy for success. If you can learn to delay your own gratification in order to work toward larger, longer-term payoffs rather than immediate or short-term payoffs, you will be making better decisions. Going out when you know you need to study, because going out is fun now while studying is helpful for some future test or future grade, therefore less immediate emotionally, is being a prisoner to your immediate gratification monster. So is spending money on an impulse purchase rather than saving for that longer-term financial goal. Don’t let the gratification monster win.
When making choices, do you tend to go with what you feel is the best option in the moment or what you think is best with regards to your future goals?
This is similar to the previous answer. Remember that feeling is generally not a good decision making tool. Thinking is a better one.
How often do you leave things to chance or fate, rather than making a decision?
Even if you choose not to choose, you are still making a choice. Leaving it to chance, flipping a coin, or some other way of avoiding a tough decision, is not going to move you toward your goals. It may feel better in the moment, because you can waive off the feeling of being responsible for the decision, but ultimately you are responsible either way. Choosing to leave it to chance is still choosing, and you are still responsible for the outcome when you could have made a different choice to get a different outcome.
Are you likely to procrastinate when you need to make tough choices?
This is similar to the above question. Putting things off because they are tough has never been a strategy for success, and it never will be. Taking action will move you closer to your goals as long as the action you take is determined with your goal in mind. Choose what moves you closer to it.
Do you ever seek the council of others when making decisions?
If you ever feel overwhelmed in your decision making or unsure of which option is best, it is a great idea to seek the council of others. Asking for advice gives you more information to consider. It is still ultimately your call, so don’t feel like you have to take advice just because you asked for it. Having other people’s perspectives can be very useful. Make an effort, though, to ask people who are qualified to give you an educated opinion or people who have no agenda related to your decision. Do not ask someone struggling with obesity how to lose weight. Don’t ask someone struggling financially for investment advice. I’m sure you get my point.
Do you review your goals before making choices?
Since choosing the option that moves you toward your goals is the most important choice-making strategy, it is always a good idea to review your objectives when weighing the validity of your choices.
You get to choose what will make you happiest.
You get to choose what goals to work toward.
You get to choose what actions you take.
If you are setting goals for yourself based on your values and what will fulfill you, then making choices that will move you toward those goals, you are well on your way to the awesome future you envision for yourself when you allow yourself to think without limitation.