Choices and Consequences

Fork in the Road: sacks08Other than birth, everything else in your life is – or can be – a choice.

You can choose to:

  • Focus on the positive or the negative.
  • Be happy or be sad.
  • Work 24/7 or not work at all.
  • Travel or not travel.
  • Maintain an active blog or drop it all together.
  • Participate in social media or not.

Obviously, the above list is made up of extremes. The point being is this: You always have a choice.

Too often, especially lately, I hear phrases like, “I wish I could, but…” or “I can’t do that because…” or “I really should, except…”

You know what those are? Excuses. Plain and simple. They are ways that we – myself included – justify not doing those things that we really need or want to do. Take a minute to think about why are you not doing what you want to do. Why are you choosing the other path?

Now, let me add one more very important word to the choice equation: consequences.

As my mom once told me (and reminds me often): You always have a choice, yet all choices have consequences. The consequence part is essential to understand. You can choose to travel less, but that my impact your career. You can choose to work 24/7, but that may (will!) impact your personal/home life. You get the point. I think more often than not, we forget that we can always choose. Always. Yet those choices come with consequences. If you can live with the consequences, then the choice is easy.

Let’s take work/life balance for example. I chose to delete email from my iPhone on August 29th. I do not regret that decision for a moment. What are the consequences of that choice? Some positive, some negative.

Positive:

  • I’m more present.
  • I’m more in control.
  • I notice more things around me.

Negative:

  • I can’t email photos/videos from my iPhone (nor can I receive them).
  • I sometimes miss important emails (I’d argue that no email is *that* important).
  • I’m not as responsive as I could be.

However, before I made this decision, I thought through the consequences – both the pros and the cons – and decided that the good outweighed the bad.

Take some time to self-reflect. What in your life is holding you back from making choices? Are you worried about making the wrong choice? Are you telling yourself that you don’t have a choice – that there are no other options? Are you forgetting to think through the consequences? Are you trudging along saying, “Someday…”? Make the choice. Take the plunge. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say.

Note: I wrote this on the plane Monday morning on the way to Phoenix. As it turns out, I had to make a choice at 5AM yesterday. My wife called. She and our 18-month old had been up all night – sick. They were both exhausted. I made an easy choice and jumped on the 6:35AM flight back to Salt Lake City to take care of my girls. What were the consequences? I missed a Talking With Tom interview with Tom Martin. I had to bail on a meeting with a Waldow Social client. Both were consequences that I was able to live with. Family first!

DJ Waldow
@djwaldow

17 comments
RSA Course
RSA Course

Yes, we do all have a choice and there are always consequences. Sometimes I forget that when I choose to do nothing that is a choice. It can seem like the choice is do something and have a consequence, or do nothing and have no consequence. But this is not true. Thanks again

Latest blog post: RSA Certificate

KathrynLang
KathrynLang

I appreciate this post so much. I have teen boys and I tell them at least once a . . . minute :) that every choice has a benefit or a consequence. Choose good or choose bad - but you have a choice. And there is always an excuse available to NOT do what you know to do.

Dave Z
Dave Z

Hey DJ, reading your blog from Jay Baer's. I'm glad I made the choice to especially read this article as it's personally very timely for me.

Hope your wife and child are okay now. Wholeheartedly agree family first, then just do your best to work the other things out.

Then again, sometimes things have a way of working out on their own. :)

kristaparry
kristaparry

Great post. I thinks people are often paralyzed by fear, which is what drives many choices, subsequently delivering the consequences that you speak of!

MaddyHubbard
MaddyHubbard

Great post DJ!

Your mom is smart. My mom give me similar advice with different words. She told me "You don't HAVE to do anything". You don't HAVE to go to work etc... However, if you decide not to go to work, there are consequences. When you decide to do things because you want to and not because you HAVE to, it's easier to swallow.

timbrechlin
timbrechlin

Excellent post, DJ, and it's especially relevant to a choice that's staring me in the face right now and has me torn.

Great food for thought from you, as always. Thank you.

jasonkeath
jasonkeath

Well played Waldow, well played.