Are You Choosing Well?

Linda Markley

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These days we make more and more choices all the time, from which toothbrush suits us best to what to do with our lives. It’s great to have so many opportunities yet the sheer number of choices we make can be wearing. There was the man who wanted a simple life who took a job as a tomato grader, putting different sized tomatoes into different boxes. He packed it in after two days through stress. “It was all the decisions, " he explained.

Yet if we don’t consciously choose, we don’t so much go with the flow as go here there and everywhere – trying to do, be and have it all. Results vary from spreading ourselves too thin, to missing out on what we really want.

People who choose well have more of what they wan tin their lives.

How well are you choosing? Quick Quiz.

  1. Do you often experience joy, lightness and ease in life?
  2. Do you mostly feel good about what you are doing?
  3. Do you feel a lot of stress or strain?
  4. Are you bored a lot?
  5. How often do you regret having committed yourself yet continue anyway?

  6. Do you find you’re missing out on some important things (like fun, time with loved ones, exercise, rest, learning, growing your business)?
  7. How much of your life is better now than last year?
  8. How often do you make conscious choices about your direction in life?

If any of the above questions make you feel uncomfortable, you will probably benefit from making better choices.

Many people put off making choices, either from fear of making the wrong choice or simply not getting around to it. Yet not choosing only perpetuates the fear. There is, too. Always the nagging doubt that we’re not doing what’s best. We come to the paradox that not making choices is harder work in the long run.

If we make the big choices about what we want in our lives, we have a direction, a set of guidelines which makes the smaller choices (like what to pay attention to, what to do next) more obvious. Day-to-day choosing gets to be simpler and easier.

If you’d like to cultivate the art of choosing well a good place to start is when faced with a choice to ask - “Does this choice really matter?" A lot of daily choices, like what to eat or which video to rent are not usually that crucial and you can just go with your whim or what is to hand, or according to some routine. Today is Friday so have curry today. This frees up a lot of energy for the important stuff and eliminates a surprising amount of strain each day.

With the important choices, the vital ingredient for choosing well is clarity. When we have a sense of what we are about, what we want and where we want to go, then a lot of choices simply make themselves – and we usually find we experience more joy in life.

When developing any skill, it’s usually good to start with small steps. Some questions to consider which could lead to some small but satisfying choices for you are :-

  • What simple action can I take today to make things better for myself?
  • What am I prepared to do to be good to myself this month?
  • What am I putting up with that I can change this month?

For that vital clarity for those big choices, here are some questions to consider.

  • What is your biggest regret in life?
  • How could you use that information to go forward from here?
  • If you could do, be or have anything, what would it be?
  • What’s your life been about so far? What would you like it to be about?
  • If you’re unsure what you really want, how could you find out? Who could you talk to? What could you explore?
  • If you had a clear vision of where you want to go and how to get there, what would stop you?
  • How could you dismantle any blocks?

In my experience, the way to make consistently excellent choices in all areas of your life is to work with a good coach. A good coach will not only bring you the clarity and self-knowledge to make inspired choices but will also introduce you to resources you hadn’t dreamed of – as well as enabling you to mobilise your own to the utmost.

Linda Markley


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