Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Our decisions--both big and small--determine where we wind up. And while this is true in a physical sense...(if I take a job in Chicago, I live in Chicago), it is also true in a spiritual sense (if I choose to hold onto offense and alienate the people I love, I will wind up a solo act.) I think the challenge comes in when we don't have clear perspective about what we are choosing. The times when we think we are choosing one thing, but we are actually choosing another.
This is easier to see this on a small scale than on a big one:
- Like when choosing to ignore moderation in drinking winds up in becoming drunk and saying things you might not have said sober.
- Or choosing to have two pieces of cake instead of one winds up in gaining a few pounds.
- Or choosing to hit the snooze button more than once winds up in being late.
- Or choosing to ignore household chores, winds up in your spouse having to take out the trash after working a 16 hour day.
- Or using a charge card to eat out when there is no cash in your account winds up in debt.
It is easy to develop "choice blindness" and decouple the link between the things we choose and the direction it takes us. But that doesn't stop us from winding up from the very place our feet are taking us. And while we give most of our attention to the big life choices, the paradox is that our actions in the small choices actually seem to have more impact on us than the large ones because they have a cumulative effect.
In fact, I wonder if it actually goes beyond that. What if our small decisions also impact the larger ones? What if in the incremental day-to-day our "decider" gets trained ? After all, most decisions have limited time windows and it would seem that we make the biggest decisions of our lives based on our "gut" rather than by detailed data analysis.
If we want to get where we want to go to, we have to start at the small scale. And maybe more than that, we have to develop a willingness to acknowledge that we are the ones making the choices--and that those choices determine our destination.