Coach and Author, Dixie Gillaspie, challenges us to make decisions out of our vision of long-term results rather than defaulting to what is expected or what feels good right now!
In my “former life” of business consulting, we talked a lot about the “decision making process.”
I don’t want to talk about my former life of business consulting.
But I do want to talk about the decision-making process – the way we make life-defining choices.
Don’t quote me on this, because it isn’t my research and I can’t find the original source, but I made a note in one of my journals that the average adult in the USA makes about 35,000 decisions each day.
That’s a lot of choices.
That’s a lot of power.
For instance, you made a choice to log in on your digital device, before that you chose to add one or more digital devices to your life. You made a choice to read this post (at least this far) and before that you made a choice to read some site that highlighted this post (maybe my site, maybe social media.)
That’s at LEAST four choices that brought you to this point on this page.
Those are little things – and a lot of those 35,000 decisions will be about little things.
But little things can change the course of your life.
Some choices expand our life, some place limitations on it. Some choices serve us, some sabotage our success.
Why do we make the choices we make?
Because we believe, consciously or subconsciously, that it is the best course of action to get the result we most desire.
And most of those little choices are made subconsciously. (Can you imagine the overload if your conscious mind had to carefully consider every little choice?)
So what criteria does your subconscious mind use to make all those little choices – the ones that can change the course of your life?
It uses the information you’ve fed it about the “result you most desire.”
If there is no clear vision on file for the long range result you desire, then it goes with the most desirable IMMEDIATE result.
Let’s say you’re hungry. Your body needs fuel NOW. You can reach for a salad or a donut. If you have programmed your subconscious mind to make decisions based on a desire for optimal health and fitness, you’ll reach for the salad. Without that programming, it’s going to suggest that the donut will give you immediate energy. Plus it will taste GREAT!
Let’s say you’re angry. Perhaps you have good reason to be angry, but lashing out will cause lasting damage in the long term. With no clear grasp of the person you most desire to be, your subconscious mind is going to suggest some witty, wounding retort that you will make you feel ever so intelligent and righteous now, but which you will never be able to recall. But if you’ve chosen to be the kind of person who is slow to anger, and you’ve done the inner work to imprint that vision as your highest desired result, then you’ll find yourself biting your tongue or deleting that text.
When you’re torn – between books to read, parties to go to, career paths to pursue, it’s the same process. What choice do you believe will bring about the result you most desire?
And it’s the same criteria. What is “on file” as being the result you most desire?
So about that donut …
Why did you do that?
Because it was the closest match your mind could find to what your mind believes you want most.
Not all of our subconscious “on file” data is from our own experience.
A lot, more than we usually credit, is built out of our cultural expectations and beliefs. So you may make a different decision because you identify as male, or female, or because you’re a Baby Boomer, or a Millennial, or because you belong to one race versus another. And those beliefs become self-fulfilling prophesies. Because we act from those beliefs, and we are often rewarded with short-term acceptance or approval. But we find over the long term that we are no longer leading our own life, making our own choices, or getting what we really want.
I wrote in “How to be a Better Negotiator and Still Sleep Soundly at Night” that the assumptions proposed by the author of the Forbes article that inspired my response (crafted with help from author and expert, Bob Burg) which suggest that men are better negotiators because they lie with impunity and intimidate when they aren’t getting their way, are invalid – not because there are no men of whom that is true, but because those are not the traits that make a true master negotiator.
In “Do Men What What They Think They Want – or Only What WE Think They Want” I addressed what happens when men strive only for what they’re expected to want, rather than what their heart truly desires.
So long as they buy into their culture’s expectation of success, whether that be sexual prowess, material wealth, social and career status, or the behavior and achievements of their offspring, they aren’t being themselves. They’ve fallen into the trap of pursing the “trappings of success” and will never fulfill their deepest desires.
Making choices based on an apparent correlation between expectations and assumptions will seldom get you want you want because those correlations are based on false premises. You have to have your vision as the “on file” reference point for your subconscious to reference when making decisions.
So if your choices aren’t taking you where you want to go – maybe it’s time to examine what your mind thinks you want. What’s “on file” as your greatest desire?
What do you want IN your life? People, surroundings, stuff…
What do you want FROM your life? How will the world be different because you have lived?
What do you want FOR your life? What constants do you desire? Happiness, serenity, challenge…
Just thinking about it won’t affect your decision making process. Just making a MENTAL decision or writing it down once won’t affect many of your choices.
But internalizing it, building that vision and holding it in your heart until you believe it in your mind – THAT creates a subconscious program that is there, running in the background, and informing every decision, every choice. No matter how big. And no matter how small.
Modified for The Good Men Project from the original post on DixieDynamiteCoaching.com