The Incredible Power of ChoiceBy John Robert Crawford, PhD
Choices. We're surrounded by a million of them every day; big and small. They affect our professional, private, social and spiritual lives. We want to make excellent decisions, but under pressure it doesn't always seem that easy.
For many years I have been involved in the education of college students. After witnessing some of their stumbling, I began to give a little pep talk at the beginning of each freshman year. The plan was to encourage them to fight the good fight as they continued their education. Many of them were second chance students who were trying to make a major change for the positive, so I talked to them about the importance of their daily choices.
Soon I realized that although good decision-making is encouraged, people are often left on their own to figure out how to make a good choice. That's when I landed on the idea of an acrostic for the word, CHOICE; a simple formula for successful decision-making in any area of life.
C stands for Character.
Character is who you are when you are the only one in the room. No one is watching; no one will ever know. Character is what makes us or breaks us. It is our integrity; our wholeness as a perso. It is impossible to have good Character on a part-time basis; either we have it or we don't. If we make our choices based on Character, we will always be true to a positive course in life.
H stands for Habits.
Habits are neither good nor bad. They are simply a tool used by our marvelous brain. Our subconscious allows us to function in life without devoting time to thinking about decisions that have become automatic. For this reason it is imperative that we develop GOOD Habits. That way when our automatic pilot kicks in, we can be sure that we are making choices consistent with who we want to be.
O stands for Optimism.
In psychological circles we hear about "The Self-fulfilling Principle." In short, we get what we expect; we find what we are looking for. If this is the case, why do we spend so much time looking for the negative aspects of life? Let's believe and look for the positive, and make our choices based on optimistic expectations.
I stands for Insight.
We live in a noisy, busy world where concentration is often difficult. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and suddenly realized they are waiting for an answer to a question, but you have no idea what the question is because your mind was a thousand miles away? Sometimes it's also difficult to concentrate on conversations with ourselves. I recommend finding some quiet time for Insight on a regular basis. Think about decisions that need to be made and possible results. A preacher friend of mine once said that God doesn't shout; He whispers. Let's not miss the insight of that whisper because we are too preoccupied.
C stands for Commitment.
It's tough to be committed in a drive-thru, microwave world. Immediate gratification is the norm. We are used to getting things NOW, but there are some things that require the element of time before we experience the outcome. Imagine the farmer who digs up his crop a week after he plants it because he doesn't see any results. Be committed in your choice making process. The results will come in due time.
E stands for Excellence.
When we make our choices based on Character, Good Habits, Optimism, Insight and Commitment we are well on our way to Excellenc. Excellence makes us stand out from the crowd. It is much like being a foot taller than anyone else. When the masses are scanned for the promotion or raise in pay, our Excellence brings us to the forefront. Be the best you can be in every endeavor. Make your choices based on Excellence.
And there it is; a simple formula for making phenomenal decisions on a consistent basis. Our ability to make choices sets human beings apart from the rest of the species on earth. Geese fly south for winter because it is innate; they are programmed to seek a warmer climate for their survival. We have the capability to do the same, but we don't have to. We need to make the decision to do so--and buy the ticket.
With the ability to choose comes the responsibility to choose wisely. If we do not choose wisely we will suffer the consequences. There are a lot of people complaining on a daily basis about their sad situation in life, and there is, indeed a lot of sadness in the world. What we need to realize is that many of these situations have been brought on by a decision that has been made at some point in the past. It may not have been made by the person suffering, but nonetheless has been made by someone.
Whatever our current situation happens to be, we need to understand a simple equation: "The past does not equal the future." We cannot change our past, but we can change our future by the decisions we make in the only window of opportunity that we possess. Today!
As you make your decisions today, remember that even the tiniest can have a butterfly effect which can potentially revolutionize your life. Take a moment and realize the incredible power of choice; then make those choices based on Character, Habits, Optimism, Insight, Commitment and Excellence.
John Robert Crawford is the author of The Incredible Power of CHOICE! Six Keys to Making Phenomenal Decisions. He is also the president of Your Life's Destiny, a services organization dedicated to providing educational information which enables individuals and organizations to determine and reach their destiny.