Over my career I have read and heard thousands of quotes from great leaders, but there is one I replay in my mind more than any other. Jim Rohn, one of the greatest personal development teachers of our time said, “Success comes from making a series of good decisions over time, while failure comes from making a series of bad decisions over time.” I believe this is one of the most accurate statements of human achievement ever articulated.
Decisions to Ponder
Every day we each make hundreds of little decisions, most of which seem inconsequential at the time. But every decision—no matter how little—will lead us closer to or further from our goals.
Today’s lesson will focus on what I define as “either/or” decisions, because you’re deciding to “either” do something “or” not do something.
- Do we get out of bed early enough to properly prepare for the day?
- Do we straighten up our bedroom and make the bed before heading out the door?
- Do we dress and groom ourselves so that we make a positive impression on people?
- Do we make food choices that will improve our health?
- Do we control interruptions so we can focus on our responsibilities?
- Do we set aside specific time to spend with our children?
- Do we show our spouses that we love them?
- When talking on the phone, do we sound happy to be speaking to the other person?
- Do we exercise even when we don’t feel like it?
- Do we think about what we want to say before speaking?
- Do we show courtesy by holding the door open for someone else?
- Do we compliment people when they are deserving of one?
- Are we friendly in our emails?
- Do we say please and thank you?
- Do we show people respect by letting them finish talking before responding?
- Do we apologize without making excuses when we are wrong?
- Do we have a positive attitude even when things don’t go our way?
The Power of Our Decisions
These and hundreds of other little decisions we make each day may seem insignificant when looked at individually, but when looked at collectively they influence every part of our lives. From our relationships to our health, no part of our lives is exempt from the effects of these little decisions.
We are where we are and whom we are at this very moment in life based on the decisions we have made. Our physical health is largely the reflection of our decisions. Our finances are what they are because of our decisions. Where we work and what we earn is the outcome of our decisions. The state of our relationships is the result of our decisions. Everything we have or don’t have is a reflection of our decisions.
We can avoid accepting personal responsibility for our decisions by blaming others, but if we consider how something occurred, it all points to a decision we made. From time to time there will be exceptions, but if we are honest with ourselves, our lives are a mirror image of our decisions.
There is also a positive side effect from intentionally making good decisions. When you make wise choices regardless of how little they may be, you will feel happy with yourself and who you are becoming because you will know you are doing the right thing.
Improving Our Decision-Making
If deep down inside you want to become a better person and enjoy greater success and fulfillment in your life, then consider these suggestions.
- Accept responsibility for your decisions and stop blaming others for where you find yourself today. This is the first step forward.
- Become aware of decisions you are making every day and start making decisions consistent with the person you want to become.
- Believe in yourself and in your ability to make good decisions. Follow your gut and do what you feel is right; 95% of the time you will make the right decision. Like any skill, as you become intentional about making positive decisions, you will get better and better.
What methods do you use to make these little daily decisions? Which ones present the most challenges? I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Tomorrow we’ll go beyond the basic “either/or” decisions described in this lesson
and I will share with you a simple formula for making decisions at the next level.
The little decisions you make each day will form the person you become tomorrow.
About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s daily lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #27 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)