by Leonard Steinberg
I am often troubled when people say about others who are in a bad way in their lives or careers: “Well, that’s what happens when you make poor choices!” Yes, it’s absolutely true, most predicaments are a direct result of choices. And yes, poor choices mostly lead to bad outcomes. But the biggest problem is that many people have never been taught HOW to choose, or they do not consult experts – or those with great experience – before they make a choice. Are you well versed on HOW to make choices?
Yes, it’s true many people make OBVIOUSLY poor choices that with just a wee bit of common sense are easily and wisely answered. But often people make uneducated or poorly informed choices. Sometimes this is a result of laziness. Often it’s because they don’t know what questions to ask of themselves and others or they are embarrassed to ask or they guess fueled by arrogance. Or they don’t pause to do the necessary homework. Going ‘with your gut’ is great, adding in thorough research and consideration is much more reliable.
Making choices via trial and error is a part of growth. Much time and aggravation and heartache and suffering could be avoided if we were better educated on HOW to make those choices. Mentors, managers, parents, teachers, solid education that teaches rationalization skills not just information, etc. are critical components in a well-lived life. Learning how to do research by consulting multiple sources and not relying on just one is helpful. All of this takes work and time. But this time spent may be your best investment.
So next time you are confronted with a choice (and all of us are, multiple times during any day) before you make that choice, ask yourself are you REALLY well enough equipped to make that choice wisely? Do you need an opinion from someone you really trust or someone who can help you navigate by asking the right questions? Have you done the correct, thorough research and fact gathering? Sometimes a simple pause is all you may need to choose wisely.
And maybe next time you attribute ‘poor choices’ to someone down on their luck or in serious trouble, try to understand whether they had the opportunity to be adequately equipped to have the ABILITY to make good choices. There is no excuse for poor choices, but often there is an explanation.
Remember: No one succeeds alone!