Choose to be All or Choose to be Less

“Every life form seems to strive to its maximum except human beings. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it possibly can. Human beings, on the other hand, have been given the dignity of choice. You can choose to be all or you can choose to be less. Why not stretch up to the full measure of the challenge and see what all you can do?” ~ Jim Rohn

A grocery store had two jam sampling stations set up. One station had twenty-four varieties. The other had only six. The purpose of this experiment was to observe how the brain handles choice. They monitored two activities.

  1. The number of visitors to each station.
  2. The number of sales at each station.

Professor Sheena Iyengar conducted the experiment. The study found:

  1. The station with twenty-four varieties had the most visitors. (60% vs. 40%)
  2. The station with only six options had the most sales. (30% vs. 3%)

The conclusion. Multiple choices are appealing in theory. They distract in reality.

Cognitive Limit

Your mind is a powerful tool. However, it has its limitations. With choice, the limit is five research says.

Fear sets in when the brain has more than five items to choose from. You’re afraid to make the wrong choice. The result. Either you make no choice at all or keep searching for a perfect choice.

The station with only six choices of jam presented less risk. The testers arrived at the buy/no buy decision quicker.

Twenty-four options were more attractive. However, the potential of making a wrong choice drove the testers to opt out of choosing altogether or spend more time trying to find a perfect palate match.

Lifestyle Impact

Abundance surrounds us. Choice has become a right.

We buy to have a choice more than to satisfy a need. We add people and things to our lives not to have the right things but to revel in the possibilities of what they present.

Variety is the spice of life. However, more choice does not equal better outcomes. Furthermore, what we ‘gain’ through choice we lose in time.

Time

“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” ~ Lee Iacocca

We access time via a fixed daily measure. No one gets more. No one gets less. However,  when you compare the lives of two people born on the exact same day and at the exact same time, you’ll notice that the list of achievements will always vary.  The one who did more learned how to make more time.

Making more time involves discipline. Discipline is not present at birth. You build it. One surefire way to build discipline is to eliminate or minimize choice.

Planning Vs. Doing

In life, you are either doing something or thinking about doing something.

Thinking precedes all action. Effective thinking allows for immediate instead of delayed action. Efficient thinking saves time, focus and energy. The life you desire requires all three in high doses. Choice leads to distraction. You will accomplish more if you learn to limit your distractions.

Take a look at your life. Make a list of the choices you make. Group them into two categories. “Choose to be all choices.” “Choose to be less choices.” Learn to eliminate the “choose to be less choices.”

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How Writing Every Day Reminded Me of The Power of Choice

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~William Jennings Bryan

Some time back I got together with some of the ladies I went to high school with. It was an informal reunion of sorts. As with all these types of events, the time soon came to share what we were currently occupying our time with.

When my turn came I mentioned a whole slew of stuff but I never mentioned the writing. I choose to blame the imposter syndrome for that.

One of the ladies, a consistent reader of my writing, filled the group in. She mentioned that I write. Not only that but that I write well. (I give many thanks for my friends who read what I write.)

“Before others will believe what is true about you, you’ll have to first believe it yourself.” ~ Jeff Goins, You Are A Writer

I write. I am a writer. I’ve been writing now for almost two years. It’s been a fantastic experience and a period of personal growth. I’ve achieved a number of self-identified and unexpected milestones on this journey.

One unexpected yet much welcome side effect of writing that I’m enjoying is a growing sense of consciousness with regards to the power of choice and how it informs my reality.

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” ~ Maya Angelou

Reading makes better writers. In the course of my reading, I came across a quote by Maya Angelou that says, “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

To get to the heart requires being more conscientious with the selection of the words you choose to inform on the topic you have selected. Failing to do this in my book, is to add to the noise that already exists.

Writers tend to write how they speak. As I become more conscious of the words I chose in my writing, I noticed something else happening.

I was growing more and more conscious of the words that I allowed to occupy my mind and those that I chose to utter when I spoke. Subsequently also becoming more conscious of the reality I was trying to create.

A small snippet of this process.

Narrative Version 1

  • When I’m feeling sad I reach for a slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake. 
  • When I’m feeling scared, I don’t talk to my support system to engage in fear-setting. Instead, I retreat to the not so silent corners of my mind. 
  • When fear takes hold, I find every excuse under the sun why something won’t work. 
  • When I get angry, my words hit below the belt.

Since I started writing, the above narrative has changed to

Narrative Version 2

  • When I’m feeling sad I choose to reach for a slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake. 
  • When I’m feeling scared, I choose not to talk to my support system to engage in fear-setting. Instead, I choose to retreat to the not so silent corners of my mind.
  • When fear takes hold, I choose to find every excuse under the sun why something won’t work.
  • When I choose to get angry, I choose words that hit below the belt.

This might seem like an inconsequential change but let me challenge you to do the same.

You will begin to notice like I did, that you have more control over your reality than you want to admit. You will begin to pay more attention to the fact that the good in your life is happening because you are choosing it and that you’re not simply missing things but in fact, choosing to miss them.

In my case, I began to notice that there’s only so many times you can keep reaching for a slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake to deal with the hurt before you realize that either there is too much hurt or that you’ve begun to tip the scales and you need a healthier coping method.

Or that there’s only so many times you can keep finding excuses to explain your fears before you realize that you’re beginning to get further and further away from the things you desire to have.

Your Circle of Influence

Steven R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, introduces its readers to the concept of the circle of influence under the first habit — Be proactive.

It identifies the circle of influence as the area of our lives that present problems, challenges, and opportunities that we have control over to solve, rise to and take advantage of.

Your language, the words you choose to use, fall squarely in your circle of influence.

Life happens in spite of you. Tomorrow, if you refuse to wake up even though you can. If you refuse to open your eyes. If you refuse to have a single thought cross your mind, life will not wait for you to catch up to it. It will continue along on its merry little way.

What Reality are You Creating?

When thinking about the title of this post I initially wanted to use the word taught instead of reminded. Walking back through my memories though, I realized that I know the power of choice. I’ve exercised it myself from time to time.

There was the time that my heart got broken and sadness was all I knew. I could have chosen to grab a slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake but instead, I chose an alternate course of action. I saw the sadness and its insatiable consumption of my happier self, a self I much prefer and I chose a different reality.

When the heartbreak tears would announce themselves in the corners of my eyes, I would grab my sneakers and go for a run. I was not much of a runner then and I’m still not. I did, however, love how it made me feel. That choice allowed me to heal and as a bonus, I got to add half-marathoner to my proud list of accomplishments.

Life is the sum total of the choices we make. Whether we’re conscious of those choices or not.

We’re putting too much off for the future. Too much stock in what we will do when we get there. We’re forgetting that the present is all that is available to us. That, the future you want to arrive at can only be built today. In today’s choices.

Your life is never just happening to you, it’s simply following your lead. Your life also does not happen for you unless you’re intentional with your choices.

Actions will forever speak louder than words. Those actions are informed by your choices. In your choices lies your character.

Who do you choose to be? What reality do you choose to bring to life?

“And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in their life. If you don’t like how things are, change it! 

You’re not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life-and it all begins with your very own power of choice.”  ~ Jim Rohn

Thanks for choosing to read this post. If this post resonates with you be sure to click the like button below. Do share this post so that others may be reminded of the power of their choices.

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A Harder Right or an Easier Wrong

In life, we are always faced with at least two choices. A harder right or an easier wrong. Hit the snooze button or jump out of bed. Fruit or French fries. Sneakers or the couch. Water or soda. Speak up or stay silent. Sleep or a Kardashian marathon.

A harder right will always be the road less traveled. The higher road. The unconventional choice. The unpopular assignment. It requires grit and demands you forego instant gratification in pursuit of long–term goals.

A harder right builds the habits that instill courage to keeping going when motivation and inspiration are in short supply. It is built on principle. Doing what needs to be done versus what one feels like doing.

A harder right is the choice of winners and true masters in any field.

An easier wrong is temporary in its satisfaction. Its beauty will always fade as it aims to shore up the status quo rather than doing the right thing.

An easier wrong takes no willpower to do. It will leave you bogged down in comfort and when left unchecked, trap you in a downward spiral.

An easier wrong is misery in the making camouflaged by temporary glitter, which when called upon, will provide not an ounce of comfort.

Tomorrow’s biography will be found in today’s choices. You can choose to look back and be encouraged by your progress. Progress created by purposeful action born of harder right choices. Or, you can look back and grieve over the easier wrong choices made. It’s up to you.

Make a choice. Choose either today’s temporary satisfaction or tomorrow’s guaranteed excellence.

Choose, a harder right or an easier wrong.

If this post resonates with you be sure to click the like button below. Do share this post so that others may benefit from it too.

Before you Choose to Act, Make This Choice First

The ultra-successful among us, achieve and consistently replicate success because they don’t live by chance and rarely act on impluse. Every moment of every day is dictated by carefully curated choices. Choices that are formulated into highly personalized game plans. Such game plans create discipline.

Discipline to the average individual is viewed as a form of imprisonment. To the ultra-successful, discipline equals freedom. Freedom to progress faster and act more efficiently and effectively with enviable self-confidence.

“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.” ~ Harry S Truman

Choices enable movement. Movement creates opportunity. Fear of choice is fear of opportunity. Opportunity feared is opportunity lost. Opportunity lost is success delayed. Success delayed will eventually run into a clock that has run out of time.

Not all choices are created equal. There is one choice that must precede all others. First choose who you want to be. 

Who you choose to be will decide your life far more than any action you will ever take. For who you choose to be ultimately reflects your attitudes and beliefs about life itself.

Choosing what do before deciding who to be, means you’ve caved to external pressure says Dan Rockwell (leadership coach, speaker and author of the popular daily leadership blog The Leadership Freak). Such choices will forever lack staying power and will always crumble in the face of ever-present challenges. Choices driven by action are living on borrowed time and imitated dreams. When the original dreamer dies, the dream dies for you too.

be
You have to BE before you can do, and DO before you can HAVE

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The Fail-Proof Path to Making Something Happen for Yourself

Humans evolve by choice.

Learning to choose is hard.

Learning to choose well is harder.

The choices you make, consciously or unconsciously, determine who and what you are. Your choices or lack thereof, also create your future. If you want to make the right choice for you, you need to know what your personal values are.

Values are the backbone of your life. When you identify your (key word being your) values and get crystal clear clarity on them, you figure out what you really want and don’t want for your life.

Just knowing your values is not enough

Values cannot simply be an idea you keep inside your head or a list you keep by your bed. Doing so can create great inner turbulence.

To achieve the life you want, you must stop sleep-walking through your choices. Put your values into action in your everyday life by letting your personal values drive your choices.

Identifying neglected values

Generally, frustration is caused because something is taking us away from our personal values. Examining your frustrations can reveal your neglected values. Are you frustrated that your health is declining? Are you frustrated that the relationships within your family are full of negativity?

Making value-based choices may not always be easy. However, making a choice that you know is right for you is a lot less difficult in the long run.

Thanks for reading! If this post resonates with you be sure to click the like button below. Feel free to also share it so others may benefit from it too.

 

2 Choices Life Will Always Present You With

In life, we are always faced with at least two choices. A harder right or an easier wrong. Hit the snooze button or jump out of bed. Fruit or French fries. Sneakers or the couch. Water or soda. Speak up or stay silent. Sleep or a Kardashian marathon.

A harder right will always be the road less traveled. The higher road. The unconventional choice. The unpopular assignment. It requires grit and demands you forego instant gratification in pursuit of  long–term goals.

A harder right builds the habits that instill courage to keeping going when motivation and inspiration are in short supply. It is built on principle. Doing what needs to be done versus what one feels like doing.

A harder right is the choice of winners and true masters in any field.

An easier wrong is temporary in its satisfaction. Its beauty will always fade as it aims to shore up the status quo rather than doing the right thing.

An easier wrong takes no willpower to do. It will leave you bogged down in comfort and when left unchecked, trap you in a downward spiral.

An easier wrong is misery in the making camouflaged by temporary glitter, which when called upon, will provide not an ounce of comfort.

Tomorrow’s biography will be found in today’s choices. You can choose to look back and be encouraged by progress created by purposeful action born of harder right choices. Or, you can look back and grieve over the easier wrong choices made. It’s up to you.

Make a choice. Choose either today’s temporary satisfaction or tomorrow’s guaranteed excellence.

Choose, a harder right or an easier wrong.

Thanks for reading! If this post resonates with you be sure to like it below and share it so others may benefit from it too.

Lifeisms In A Nutshell – #57 – I Get To Choose

I get to choose. What will I do today? I choose to do nothing. To underwhelm my potential.

I get to choose. Fear or wonder? I choose fear. Fear of success. Fear of waking up to the power that lies within. To seek empowerment as opposed to engagement.

I get to choose. Wellness or illness? I choose illness. I choose to eat a scoop of ice cream. Where the scoop equals the entire tub. Everyday. For the next twenty-one days. Forming a habit. An illness bound habit.

I get to choose. To make an impact or an excuse? I choose to make an excuse. I choose to be comforted by empty words. Justifying my unwillingness to impact.

I get to choose. A committed vote or a considered vote? I choose to commit my vote based on tribe. Race. Gender. Political affiliation. Not considering buffoonery. Incompetence. Hate.

I get to choose. Questions or answers. I choose answers. Pre-set. Pre-screened. Just enough to faintly kiss the hint of wisdom. Never enough to grant true power.

I have the merit of choice. I get to choose. To be all or to be less.

Should I not then choose to be a bug. Or a tree. That chooses not. That just is the very best it can be?

Yes? No? Maybe?

Thank you for reading. Make the right choice. Share the message.

Eat or Be Eaten

Eat or be eaten. That is the rule of the jungle. That jungle has become your home. Your path is your own but these harsh truths must be faced.

1. No one is coming to fix you or improve you. It’s all on you. Figure out what’s not working for you and take active steps to put things back in order.

2. The timing will never be perfect.You’ll never feel ready enough.So go ahead, do the scary thing. Make that leap and regardless of how you land, keep it moving. If you don’t do it now it will just get more difficult to do.

3. You might fail. You might fail a lot. You might fail in fantastic embarrassing fashion. Learn to deal. Accept failure as a possibility. Doing so will create room for worthy goals and allow for more risk.

4. Your friends and family will let you down. We are all agenda driven. Selfish or otherwise. Don’t hold it against them. It’s human nature to want or need something of another individual. Place no expectations on them. Instead, hold yourself accountable for what is happening or not happening.

“Yesterday ended last night.” ~ John Maxwell. 

5. The ink is dry. Yesterday is now a historical fact. No amount of wishing, hoping, or praying  can change that fact. Stop checking in on it. If you messed up, do us all a favor. Own it, learn from it and move on.

6. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Your power lies in this moment. Put all your energies into that.

7. Just because you’re “busy” doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing something. Don’t just show up. Be effective. Focus on results.

8. Time is never the issue. You have more than you think you do. There are 168 hours in a week. Various combinations of it have produced Stephen Curry, Lebron James, Muhammad Ali, Mother Theresa, Elvis, and Mikaila. What’s your excuse? Fill your time with meaningful experiences. Manage yourself to rise up to your true potential.

9. It needs to be about more than the money. Prestige won’t cut it either. Find that which has you maxing out your endurance and being at peace each step of the way.

10. It’s not other people’s job to love you; it’s yours. Obvious to some but sadly not to  all. Stop seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you. Know your worth and stay true to it. Love yourself as if your life depends on it because …. IT DOES!

11. Rest and rejuvenation are required. Stress kills. Enough said.

12. You can’t hack life. You can only live it.There is no shortcut to success. You’re going to have to do the work. Get used to actually reading the book and not just the Wiki summaries.

“We spend much of our lives going about completely blind to reality, and yet we still have the gall to act victimized when it invariably catches up to us.” ~ Nenia Campbell

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Make This Choice and Watch Everything Else Start To Fall Into Place

My most profound rejection was delivered via the following statement. ‘I love my life’.  He may not have realized it but I did. He chose self-love. My higher self, albeit slightly crushed, was honestly impressed.

Self-love is an active practice. A practice that sometimes may seem quite elusive especially if you have been on the receiving end of everything but love. No matter how old you are or how low you feel about yourself, it’s never too late to begin to love yourself.

Here’s how you can start.

Continue reading “Make This Choice and Watch Everything Else Start To Fall Into Place”