Choose Wisely

As we go through life there will always be choices. And for every choice there is a consequence. Just like some of the simple choices, some consequences are insignificant. Those are the ones we usually move past quickly and easily. But sometimes there are major consequences to even the smallest of choices. The first rule of choices is to recognize the consequences.

Nothing helps us to know better how things will turn out than good old fashioned experience. We try to teach our children about the weight of their choices because we are experienced with the consequences. We can be well served by remembering this advice on our own behalf.

There are two basic ways to learn something. One way to learn is to read and study things like how to make a cake or fix a leaky faucet. The other way to learn is by experience. Most people don’t have to touch fire to know it burns. They get that. But some people have to play with fire before they realize how much pain it can inflict.

When it comes to personal issues, relationships, or life choices, the stakes can be much higher. We know that if we choose one path over another it could result in financial setbacks, emotional burdens or hardships of all kinds. These are the choices we need to ponder carefully. We need to contemplate the possible consequences of these choices before we commit ourselves. The best advice? Seek the counsel of others. Ask a friend, a relative, a mentor, your boss, or even your life coach. Educate yourself on the topic and ask others what they think before you commit.

Frank Sonnenberg, an award-winning author and one of “America's Top 100 Thought Leaders” put together seven helpful tips about making good choices.

Franks says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “Values Matter”. That’s very important to remember. Too often we make choices that contradict our core values, we compromise our own beliefs and act out of character. If your gut tells you something isn’t right, it’s good advice to listen to the wisdom of your feelings.

The goal is to make the best decisions that lead to the least impactful consequences. Sometimes we can’t avoid negative consequences, but with a little thought and insight we can minimize the pain. Just think things through and don’t be rash about important decisions. Consider who might get hurt and how they may feel. Make a list of all the possible positive results next to a list of the negative outcomes. Weigh the benefits against the cost. And once you commit, don’t look back.

We need to make good choices about what we eat, how much we exercise, the people we choose to befriend, date or marry. We need to choose our career and education paths wisely and we need to spend our money with common sense. All these things are important choices that will have a lasting affect on the whole of our character and quality of life.

But most importantly remember, that even when we make bad choices it isn’t the end of the world. We don’t need to go into panic mode or scurry about to do damage control. We need to take a deep breath, carefully consider the consequences and make adjustments so that the next choice is better. Learn from the choices you make and apply that experience to the next important event.

Everyday is a new day and so every choice is a new choice. Do the best you can and call upon your own great wisdom to make good decisions. And when they are not, when they don’t turn out as planned, move past them and look forward to the next opportunity to succeed. The thing about choices is that we never run out of them.

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