What’s the secret to making a choice you’ll never regret? The secret is there is no secret to it… Making choices confidently is done with one simple strategy in mind – think through it thoroughly! I can tell you from personal experience I’ve dealt with both types of choices in my life – the unconscious, the uncertain and on the opposite end, the conscious, the rooted.
Making conscious choices is really the only way to go about life with zero regrets. Otherwise, you’re constantly kicking yourself, wondering what could have been different. How often do you think back on decisions like that? When you’re completely committed to a decision, it changes your perspective completely, even when and if that decision turns out to be the wrong one.
Conscious choice doesn’t keep you from making the wrong decisions. It just helps ensure you’ve made the best decision at that moment for yourself. What comes of that decision is only left then to destiny. Whatever is meant to happen, will happen and at least you’ll feel good that you made the best decision possible.
The 3 Steps to Conscious Choice
When you have a decision to make, it’s always good to lay it all out and take your time. Of course, no one likes indecisiveness and that’s not what this process is meant to do. Indecisiveness is when you can’t make a decision. Conscious choice is the exact opposite of indecisiveness. It’s clarity in making choices and making them with full intent.
However, no one ever said you couldn’t take your time deciding. In fact, even the smallest decisions need room to permeate. Maybe you don’t always have time luxury to make decisions and that’s understandable, but I believe in using the time you do have wisely. Oftentimes, you’ll see that taking your time with a decision actually allows the universe to lay out more cards and create a clearer path for you.
When you have a big decision to make and some time, there are three phases to ensure the best possible outcome.
- The Written Problem
As with any problem, it’s always best to write down your thoughts and situation clearly. Seeing the problem written down allows room for you to think through how you will deal with it. It frees up space to think beyond the idea and on to the alternate realities. Using the choice to be childfree as an example, write down the question, “Should I have children or stay childfree?” Now, you’ve established your problem, and it’s time to explore both realities.
- The Alternate Realities
What happens when you make one decision over another? You only get one chance and one reality to live, so this decision is important. There is no going back, only forward. At this point in your conscious choice, it’s important to consider your alternate realities. You’ve written down the problem or the choices, and now you need to explore them each a bit further. Continue writing down what each reality could look like to you. What are the benefits? What are the consequences? How does each path make you feel?
- The Present Factor
I call this final step the “Present Factor”. The question you should be asking yourself at this point is, what feels right to you at this moment? I can tell you that there are decisions that you either just know are right or know are wrong when you take the time to stop and ask yourself the question. Your intuition is good enough to tell you if you’re on the right path. So, listen to it. A lot of times, people make decisions only to look back and know at that moment they were making the wrong decision.
Back to our childfree example, if you are not 100% committed to having a child, then why would you make that choice? Your body, your mind, and your soul will tell when the right time is to do something. All you have to do is listen. Let’s use a different example, one that maybe is less life altering.
A Conscious Choice Example
Let’s say you are contemplating looking for a new job. You have a job, and it’s fine. You are pretty content with life at this job. However, you know there is better opportunity out there. Should you start applying for new jobs? (The Problem)
If you started looking for new jobs, it’s likely you’ll need to interview. You’d possibly find something that is more exciting, more pay, and more fulfilling. Or, you could stay. Life is pretty good right now, you make decent pay, and it’s a steady job. (The Alternate Realities)
What is happening right now in your life that is pushing you to have this feeling? Well, you’re bored. You know that job hunting is fairly straightforward, you just need to make a few tweaks to get it right. You have the time right now to pursue this and as you reflected on earlier, there are many benefits and few consequences of finding a new job. (The Present Factor)
After you’ve analyzed all of this, you realize, it is the right time to look for a new job and you can confidently set out on this path to finding the right job.
Conscious choices are simple. They are just decisions made with intent. These choices have purpose and clarity behind them. On the other hand, unconscious choices are made unwillingly. They have no alternate realities, only the one that is destined to be. You trap yourself and limit your potential when you allow a choice to be made for you.
Imagine if you didn’t make the conscious choice to look for a new job. Rather, you just started looking with no plan. You didn’t factor in the present situation you’re in and you overlooked how busy you are getting at work and in your personal life. There’s no way you have time to update your resume, no time to prepare for interviews and the whole situation becomes overwhelming and sloppy.
You’ve now found yourself in a mess of emotions because you didn’t think through the situation. It’s really easy for us as a human race to do things impulsively. We make decisions all the time based just off of our feelings. If you’ve ever put your foot in your mouth, you’re well aware of how condemning this can feel.
With conscious choice, even the little things we do each day become more purposeful and graceful. For small decisions, you can skip writing down the problem, but never skip thinking about the alternate realities or considering how the present situations factors into this decision.
Try this out the next time you’re contemplating a decision and let me know in the comments how you think it worked!