Breathing aside, everything in our lives is a choice*. I can already hear the clamor of dissenting opinions. Read on and then we can debate.
* (Fair enough… there are obviously other automatically-regulated functions of the body that sustain life and fall into the same category as breathing, but hang with me on the concept, not the technicality).
Several years ago, one of my favorite industry thought-leaders planted this simple, yet significant, idea with me…. Every single action we take each day is a choice, and if we think it isn’t, than we are choosing think smaller, act smaller, and be smaller than we actually are.
Whether we realize it or not, many of us resist the power of choice because, with choice comes owning the responsibility of consequences. It’s a lot easier to throw up your hands and tell your spouse that you have to fly to New York tomorrow because a client demanded a meeting. Or, to resentfully give up another one of your daily work-outs because you have to go to a networking event.
But, the truth is, you are choosing to fly to New York tomorrow because you prefer the consequences of short-notice travel to the consequences of possibly losing a client. Or, you prefer to the potential benefits of attending the networking event to the potential benefits of honoring your boundary for self-care.
The Mindset of Choice
Choice is a mindset. Just like ‘abundance,’ ‘success,’ and ‘possibility’ are mindsets. A mindset is a set of assumptions and beliefs through which we see the world. These assumptions create a filter for information that perpetuate the belief (for example, have a scarcity mindset? You will see all of the instances where there is lack and overlook where there is abundance, thus validating your belief that there are not enough resources in the world). Mindsets can work for or against us.
The mindset of ‘choice’ is a success-perpetuating mindset. It allows us to see all the options present and make a decision based on the cost-benefit analysis of each option. The decision we land upon is the decision we’ve consciously made based on weighing the consequences or opportunities in each scenario.
The Language of Choice
The magical thing about a mindset is, just because you may not have a specific success-perpetuating mindset, doesn’t mean you can’t build it. One of the most effective ways to cultivate supportive mindsets is to change your language. Try this on for size:
No-Choice Mindset: “I have to cut this meeting short because I need to take this client call.”
Choice Mindset: “I’m going to cut this meeting short because I have a client call that I want to take.”
No-Choice Mindset: “I got roped into this Board of Directors meeting and have to go.”
Choice Mindset: “I was invited to the Board of Directors meeting and am going to take the opportunity to share my opinion.”
No-Choice Mindset: “I have to pay the mortgage.”
Choice Mindset: “I’m choosing to pay the mortgage because I prefer that to the consequences of being delinquent on my loan.”
The Practice of Choice
It may seem subtle, but the practice of cultivating a mindset of choice puts you in the greatest position of power. Freedom, expansion, and possibility come from choice. Limits, constriction, and inertia come from lack of choice.