Decisions That Shape Our Lives

27 October, 2020

When we look back at our lives we always remember the ‘big’ stuff – the move from London to Paris, the wedding, the birth of a child, the promotion that took our career to the next level, the diagnosis that pushed us to reconsider our lifestyle, the purchase of the house, the painful divorce that led us to start living our own life more fully etc. These were the monumental changes. However, how many of those grandiose decisions do we make every year? On a flipside, we make hundreds of the smallest decisions daily. Yet, we find them seemingly unimportant – sort of ‘autonomic’.

By focusing only on the ‘big’ stuff we miss out on life. We push and pull in all directions waiting for that big deal to come through and moaning about the daily admin work, anticipating and planning our wedding for a year, yet not showing up fully for our partner on daily basis, desperately trying to make sure that our children will grow into successful human beings without even asking what it is that truly makes their hearts sing.

The small daily decisions eventually lead to the big ones. Think about it. If I make a decision to show up fully for my work today, with integrity, with energy, passion and responsibility, this in time will lead to promotion. If I make a decision today to ask my partner how he is doing, to genuinely listen and be willing to understand, this decision to nurture a relationship in time will lead to a happy marriage. On the contrary, if I make a decision today to spend my time at work scrolling through Instagram, in time it might lead to dismissal. If I make a decision today to be consumed by my own stuff rather than giving my partner time and presence to voice his fears and worries, in time this may lead to the loss of connection and, ultimately, to the end of the relationship.

Those small decisions we make daily accumulate. If we gave a numeric expression to them, perhaps our ‘performance’ here would be easier to measure. Let’s say a decision to show up for work with integrity, energy, passion and responsibility is +1, a decision to scroll through Instagram and ‘push time’ until 5pm instead of being productive is -1. Each day we would get either +1 or -1. For as long as our result is with a ‘+’ in front of it, when we add it all up say weekly or monthly, we are doing ok or even great. There will be good days and bad days but the result with ‘+’ will mean that at least we are trying.

Life is made out of the smallest decisions we make every moment – to be kind or not, to react or not, to ask somebody how they are doing or not to bother, to tell somebody we love them or not to, to dedicate half an hour of our day to our children or not to, to spend fifteen minutes in the morning making a green juice or not to, to pick an apple or a doughnut for a snack – these decisions we make daily shape our health, career, the quality of our relationships and of our life.

What decision are you making right now? To procrastinate or to actually learn something new? To read articles like this one for the sake of intellectual entertainment or to become better at orchestrating your own life?