The Small Decisions

Between Shark Tank, high school seniors, college graduates, and more, everyone’s witnessed another person make a big decision. More than that, most everyone has had to make a big decision in their own life. These decisions are exciting, often utterly nerve-racking, and typically result in an immense change in the decision-maker’s life. But while these big decisions can be life-altering, we often overlook the even more important small decisions.

These small, daily decisions are so commonplace that we don’t typically take time to dwell on them. And that’s a mistake. These decisions can be as simple as choosing whether to go to bed on time or stay up another two-hours to watch a movie. Or even whether or not you should go out to eat. Yet and still, I believe that these decisions are often more important than the acclaimed “big” decisions. The reason why is simple: these decisions lead to habits that either open or close various opportunities.

Every time you decide to stay up and watch a movie, it gets easier to make the same decision the next time. This could do a variety of things. It could lead you to a sleeping disorder, a small addiction to movies (though, to be fair, most every college student has this), or it could possibly lead you to develop the capacity to operate off less sleep. Any of these results can then affect your future. If you have a sleeping disorder, that can hurt you in school, the workplace, and anywhere else. An addiction to movies will likely determine the group of people (often like-minded/with the same taste in film) you hang with. And the ability to operate off less sleep could help you in college, the workplace, and other places. Any of these possibilities could lead you to an opportunity or take you away from one, and the one after that, and so on and so on.  All because of one small decision.

I’ll make this next example even simpler.

You spend money every time you go out to eat. For the sake of argument, let’s say that you get used to eating out and begin to eat more meals outside of the house than inside. This could lead to a few different possibilities. On the one hand, your wallet will likely begin to wear thin, and that could cause implications to your living arrangements relationships, etc., both now and in the future, blocking you off from a plethora of opportunities. On the other hand, by eating out so much you could develop such a refined pallet that you become a food critic, opening you up to a multitude of opportunities you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Once again, this all comes back to the (repeated) small decision of whether or not to go out to eat.

Big decisions, such as where to go to college, are called “big” decisions for a reason. But while these decisions can very well be life-altering, so can the small decisions, the daily decisions we often overlook. I’m not asking you to change how you live your life at all, but, in my experience, I’ve found it beneficial to give more thought to the small, daily decisions in life. And to be honest, I think that you’d benefit from giving it a try. But hey, that’s your decision.

Until next time.

– JP

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1 Comment

  1. When I graduated college, my co-worker Lisa said to me, “Most decisions through high school open doors to you. Be careful your choices now because every decision in adulthood teams to narrow the number of options ahead of you. And the quality of those options.” Lisa was wise. I think her input goes for both the big and small choices. I’m very glad I went to bed last night instead of playing dominoes till 2 am with the rest!

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