Everyday decisions, BIG impact
According to research from Cornell University, adults make nearly “35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day” — which means on the average day that we’re awake for 16 hours, we make a choice every 1.6 seconds. Every 1.6 seconds. Reading that sentence — that was a 1.6-second decision. That’s a lot of choices (and a LOT of responsibility if you think about it), and each and every call we make impacts our lives and likely those around us, too.
We make choices in many different ways. Some are impulsive, like buying something you don’t need, but makes you feel good; while some are intuitive, you just feel in your gut it’s the right decision for you at that moment, like holding the door open for the person entering the building right behind you. Some are instinctive, like swerving to miss that big pothole on your drive to the office.
Other decisions are driven by our emotions and how we feel in the moment, like yelling at your kids for spilling grape koolaid all over your newly cleaned carpet — we’ve all been there, right?
As I’m sure you’ve experienced, not all of our choices are good ones. Sometimes, we make choices so quickly we don’t have the chance to think about the potential impact of that choice - whether positive or negative. We just make the choice and move on.
For example, I recently made a choice without thinking and based solely on my emotions in the moment, and needless to say, the results of that choice were not exactly what I wanted — in fact, some might classify them as disastrous. But after some reflection, I made a conscious choice to accept what had happened, forgive myself for making an unfortunate choice, and capture what I learned from the experience and move forward.
You should recognize here, it’s important that we embrace our mistakes so that we keep learning and growing. We need to step into our imperfections and realize that we are each a work in progress with the goal to be better tomorrow.
On the other hand, in July of 2020, I also made a drastic choice that changed my life — that conscious choice was to get healthy. After returning from our family beach vacation, I stepped on the scales and weighed in at my heaviest weight ever. I knew something needed to change. I need to embrace the suck, change my diet, and get healthy, so I did and it worked! I’m down 30 pounds, feel better than I’ve felt in years, and my non-scale victories include losing 6 inches in my waist and sleeping almost 7 hours every night. That conscious choice was a win all around.
But some of the hardest choices for us to make are mindset choices — how we think and feel about ourselves, those around us, our situations, our experiences, and everything else we allow space in our minds. All of our thought patterns have an impact on our daily lives and how we show up at work and at home. So, I’d like to offer you some things to consider that will help you adjust your thoughts and put you in a headspace that will allow you to consciously have a positive impact on your life and the lives of the people you encounter every day through your mindset.
Let’s start with reframing. When you hear yourself say something negative or full of bad energy, reframe it into something positive. Rather than saying, “I have to,” reframe that statement off the get-go as, “I get to.” The shift in this simple phrase is powerful and will change your entire outlook on a situation. It’s your choice, but if you find yourself saying, “I have to participate in another Zoom meeting”, change it to “I get to spend the next hour collaborating with my coworkers, and I’m excited to see their smiling faces,” and see how that simple shift makes you show up differently for the session.
Positive affirmation is also important to consider when choosing your mindset. “I can’t do this,” is a negative affirmation that I’m sure each of us have used at some point in our lives and career. By changing this to, “I am excited to learn how to do this,” or, “I’m confident this will challenge me to grow,” you shift your thinking to a learning perspective, a humble perspective. The outcome will most likely be much better than you had expected, as you give yourself grace and affirm yourself along the way.
Additionally, as I mentioned earlier in this column, always seek to learn and grow from your experiences. Rather than viewing something as a failure, think of it as an amazing learning opportunity. Yes, the results were not what you wanted or needed, but what did you learn from it? How will you strategize differently next time to get a better result? Yes, I write about this a lot, because it is so important for each of us to remember. Life is not a perfect journey, it’s a collection of choices that create the fabric of who we are! Mistakes and failures are going to happen, so choose to see them as the data pieces they are — when you learn and grow from it, nothing’s a failure.
Finally, be the energy you want to experience. If you want to have a bad day or bring down those around you, then be negative, because it’s your choice. But my hope is that you’ll be positive, that you’ll choose to be the light of excitement and positivity in every room you step into. Be the one who inspires those around you to step up and be the best they can be in that moment, to be present. Your energy can be the gift that others need and want to experience.
Have you ever met a person who everybody wants to be friends with? The room seems to gravitate towards them, and their attitude is one of, “There YOU are!” instead of, “Here I am.” They make everyone feel important. That’s the energy you can infuse into your mindset, that will overflow into your attitude.
So when you ask the question, “How are you?” and get the response, “I’m fine,” (which is filled with flippant vibes and negative connotations) — reply with, “Well, I’m great, and I’m going to make sure you are too!” That single choice, to affirm someone with a positive statement has the power to create joyful ripple effects in the lives of those you meet.
It’s your choice, what mindset will you let guide your attitude? How will you show up today? Whose life can you change today? Be sure to visit my blog and join the conversation at www.sidmeadows.com/blog