Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash
The average adult makes 35,000 decisions a day. That’s about 12 million decisions a year. By the time you’re 40, you’ve made over 500 million decisions. Even the decision to not decide about something is a decision.
Your body is taking care of a lot of unconscious decisions for you, like breathing, metabolizing your food, temperature regulation, and circulating blood. You don’t have to worry about most of that stuff because it’s happening behind the scenes on autopilot. Your body knows how to regulate itself consistently.
Your mind, on the other hand, is annoyingly inconsistent. One moment you’re confident, and the next you feel like the biggest loser. One moment life feels easy, and then the shoe drops and everything is a struggle. If it feels like you are on an emotional roller coaster, it’s time to take an honest look at your choices.
Your decision to choose is your superpower.
You are so much more powerful than you have given yourself credit for. Start owning that. NOW. It’s okay for you to be powerful. Your body is creating itself anew all the time. Get your mind on board with the rest of you.
The life experiences you are enjoying right now are a reflection of all the tiny decisions you have made in the past about a bunch of very ordinary things: what to eat, what to drink, what to wear, what to read, what to listen to, what to watch, where to travel, where to live, who to hang out with, how much time to spend outside, how much time to sleep, how much time to exercise, how much time to relax, what kind of car to drive, how to vote, what to belief, what to trust, and more.
The sheer volume of choice we make can feel overwhelming and prevent us from choosing anything at all. Luckily, your brain filters out a lot of information that it deems unimportant for you to worry about. It’s not your concern where other people are driving on the highway (but we do love to rubberneck). It’s not your concern what other people are putting into their shopping carts (but we do love to be judgy about what they’re eating).
Your decision to choose what you want in your life, in your body, in your mind, in your space, is your decision. Your decision to choose is your superpower. Use it or lose it.
Choice is power.
It’s scary as hell to take 100% responsibility for yourself and your experiences, because as soon as you decide that you are the captain of your ship, the crowd of inner critics starts rumbling.
Who do you think you are? You can’t do that. You’re gonna fail. You’re gonna look like an idiot. I wouldn’t do that if I were you.
Those voices can be loud and incessant and they’re just doing their job. Helping you will make choices that keep you safe.
There’s no such thing as not making a decision because avoiding making a decision is still a decision.
When you decide that you don’t want to decide so you hand that responsibility to someone else to make the decision for you, your life will unfold by default instead of by your own design. This is an extremely disempowering way to live your life.
If you don’t make a choice for yourself, someone else will.
When we were kids, we were all taught to look both ways before we crossed the street. Remember? The same advice is valuable when making decisions.
Most of us are trained to look only one way — it’s important to our survival to check to see if there’s any oncoming danger, so we look into the files of our past to find evidence of failure. We store all that information in the amygdala and the hippocampus, the brain’s filing cabinets all Past Experiences That Were Even A Teeny Bit Terrible. If it was scary before, your brain says it’s going to be scary again, so don’t do it.
You find what you are looking for.
If you base your decisions about the future on your past, you are making a big mistake. The past does not create the future. The present creates the future.
This is a thought wormhole. Get your head around it and you can easily pass through this wrinkle in time to create the future you want to live in.
Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash
The past creates the present.
All the little decisions we have made in the past create our present reality.
What makes each of us special and distinguishes us from all other forms of life is our capacity to weigh our options and make conscious, deliberate choices. Choice might just be our most precious gift. ~ Debbie Ford
You got to where you are today because of the decisions you made yesterday, but that does not mean that you have to make the same decision again today! This is powerful to recognize. If you don’t like something in your current life, start making different choices as of now, and you’ll inevitably get different results.
The present creates the future.
Life is like one giant kirtan. It’s call and response. You get out of life what you put into it. This is where looking both ways before you cross the street comes in. It’s why asking better questions may be the next best thing to being there, because asking better questions actually gets you there.
How do you start asking better questions? You start listening to the voices in your head. You start paying attention to your shadow and what scares you. When you shine a light on a shadow, it goes away. A shadow does not exist in full light, so bring the light of consciousness to all you are doing, thinking and saying.
How to respond to your inner critics with confidence
When you hear your inner critic demanding Who do you think you are?, remind yourself that you are all that and more. Research shows that when we remember our achievements and celebrate our successes, the brain releases serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps us feel secure, happy and confident. Your body metabolizes serotonin quickly, so develop the habit of reviewing your successes multiple times a day to keep showering yourself with this feel-good brain chemistry.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? ~ Marianne Williamson
When your inner critic tries to shut you down by asserting You can’t do that, ask yourself instead What can I do? Focus on what you can instead of on what you can’t. When you focus on what’s possible, you’ll discover options and opportunities that had been invisible before. You see what you are looking for, so start looking for the result you want and you will find it.
Let’s say your inner critic is always yelling at you You’re gonna fail. So fucking what. We learn from our mistakes. Not trying guarantees failure. That’s what a lot of people don’t ever try. The fear of success is greater than the fear of failure.
When you were a baby, you learned to walk by falling down millions of times. In fact, the physics of walking is based on you falling forward and catching yourself. In the beginning, you fell flat on your face, but you got up and tried again. With enough practice, you learned how to fall and catch yourself perfectly. You mastered something that used to feel impossible, and now you don’t even have to think about it.
This is how we learn anything — a new language, a new habit, a new belief. Failure is a necessary part of learning. Failure is an opportunity for growth. Failure is not scary. It’s just part of the path. Sometimes we can avoid it and sometimes we crash into it and it takes a few days to brush ourselves off and get back on the bike. Now you’re stronger, thanks to that epic wipeout. Watch a Warren Miller film if you want to get inspired to fail often and fail beautifully.
You know that voice that predicts You’re gonna look like an idiot. What if that voice is wrong? What if that book you’ve been hiding on your laptop is destined to become a bestseller? What if your investors love your idea? What if your actually brilliant and you’re just hoarding your smarts because you’re not ready to be that accepted yet? Brainstorm 10 reason why you might just be wrong about what a loser you think you are.
The quality of your life is based on the questions you ask.
If you don’t like the way it is, ask better questions. Ask different questions. Turn your self-doubt on its head and see it from a new perspective. What’s right about this that you might be missing? What’s the value in seeing it this way? How do I benefit from this decision?
Want some help making decisions that result in greater happiness? Here’s a gift to get you started. Download my free book on Best Brain Hacks for Success. Change your habitual thinking and start watching the rest of your life unfold with ease, abundance and flow. Was this helpful? Leave me a comment and let me know.