The first time I heard the phrase: To not decide is to decide, I was a college sophomore studying philosophy. I remember it having a profound impact on my thinking. Although I had certainly made and not made many decisions at that point in my life, I had never fully appreciated the deep truth of that simple statement.
Everyday there are countless decisions – big and small. As a business strategist I frequently tell clients that strategic planning is about choices. I compare it to cleaning out my sock drawer. There are some socks that are still good (I bought those hiking socks just last summer) so I’ll keep them, putting them back in the drawer. Those orphan socks, one sock has disappeared, I’ll get rid of those. Oh yes, and when I took up downhill skiing late in life that required a whole new kind of sock – those needed to be added.
We all have to make choices about what we will keep, what we will let go of and what we will add.
It’s popular to say and think that we can have it all, but believing that only keeps us trapped in self-criticism and frustration because we can’t truly achieve it.
Recently I read Greg McKowen’s book Essentialism, reminding me that what’s true for my business clients is also true in my life and in yours too. Once we are clear about what is most important to us – the experiences, relationships, accomplishments and more, we must decide what the trade-off’s are. When we accept that reality, we will have the courage and clarity to be intentional about our choices and the trade-offs we make. We can put our time and attention into whom and what we value most, instead of into what is most urgently pulling at our coattails.
We recognize that in order to have what we most want, we will choose to not pursue many good or interesting options because they won’t take us where we most want to go.
And yes, if we choose not to choose, we will in effect have chosen.
Tell me what choices you are making in your life? What is essential to you? Are your choices reflecting that?
Until next Tuesday.