You make thousands of (tiny) decisions every day.
Most of them happen without even thinking about them. Those are the result of the habits you’ve built over time.
Get up now or later?
Brush our teeth or not?
Coffee or tea?
Social media or work?
What we’re not always aware of is that every decision we make has consequences.
Sooner or later.
Each decision we make on a daily basis either adds value to our day or takes value away from our day.
When we work in teams, every decision we make either adds to the performance of the team or decreases the performance of the team.
The decision to speak up or not when you disagree with a proposal can have significant consequences.
For business, it works the same way.
When I worked in supermarkets and witnessed a co-worker ignoring the obvious signs that a customer needed help, I would say something.
The decision to leave a customer alone and not reach out for help over time could become a bad habit.
That habit could result in the fact that one day, when offered more choice, the customer would choose to shop somewhere else. Gradually, then suddenly, the customer decided to go shop somewhere else.
While we will never know, it may have been the consequence of our decisions to ignore the customer.
With many of those decisions, we will never be confronted with the consequences, making it easy to let ourselves off the hook.
“The customer will come back tomorrow anyway.”
“Our team will continue to work together anyway.”
“The work will be there tomorrow anyway.”
Until … customer, team, or work won’t be there anymore.
This week, I got dramatically (yes, it was intense) reminded of our choices and our daily decisions by an audiobook I’m listening to.
I started a new project this week that requires me to commute to the office of my client twice per week.
While commuting, I love to listen to audiobooks. When the book is good, it relaxes me and I couldn’t care less about traffic and aggressive drivers (who choose to be aggressive).
The book this week is called ‘Man’s search for meaning’ by Viktor Frankl.
Advance warning: the story is taking a turn now (but not really).
Viktor Frankl survived concentration camps in the second world war.
In his book, he relives his experiences in incredible graphic detail and turns those into a conversation about meaning and purpose.
The quote that I remember most from the book is this one:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”Viktor Frankl
He explains that those who continued to live in the past and dwell on what once was most often didn’t make it.
Those who believed there was a future, had a purpose, and were able to live by goals, no matter how tiny these goals may have been, had a higher chance to survive.
Despite of the circumstances and fate.
The author spoke about tiny decisions he made every day to maintain his inner liberty.
You, me, we make thousands of (tiny) decisions every day.
Some of those decisions have to do with our attitude towards the world around us.
You can choose your attitude.
You can choose to be a victim of this pandemic. Or not.
You can choose to speak up to your bullying boss. Or not.
You can choose to live in the past. Or not.
You can choose to eat healthy. Or not.
Big or small. You have a choice. Always.
Those were some of my reflections during my commute.
While I was driving home, tired after a day of meeting new people and intense conversations, I realized I had a choice.
And so, I entered the door with gratitude.
Your turn: how aware are you of your daily decisions?
You have thousands of choices every day. Choose wisely.
Do more of what makes you happy.