Choose Wisely – 50 for 50 Ideas #34 and #35

posted on: October 12, 2018
author: Brian Lomax

Choose wiselyHow many choices and decisions do you make each day? Hundreds? Thousands? Probably a lot. Let’s look at a definition of choice to help us understand this concept better: an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities (Google Dictionary). Does that sound right to you? When I think of choice, I try to incorporate choosing wisely about the things that I can control. I don’t always do that, but I know that choice and control are linked. Choosing wisely means thinking of the outcomes that I want to realize and then aligning my choice with that outcome. An outcome could be as simple as having a good day or achieving a long-term goal. Do you choose wisely?

For today’s 50 for 50 ideas, let’s look at some things we generally don’t choose to do, even though they are in our control.

Idea #34 – Choose to be in a good mood

In my work, I often hear people say that they’re in a bad mood and they’re having a bad day. When I ask why, the answer is usually about something that happened to them or something someone else did. Are those legitimate reasons to be in a bad mood? I’d argue that they’re not. Instead, the person in a bad mood has chosen to let some event or person control her mood. Perhaps she has taken what’s occurred personally when it isn’t personal at all. She is being controlled by her environment. She has given away her personal power of choice. And because of that, she is having a bad day.

How we react to adversity doesn’t always help us realize the outcomes and goals that we wish to achieve. In fact, sometimes our reactions ensure that we don’t reach those outcomes. You always have a choice about how to react to adversity, and you want to choose wisely. For example, if you want to have a good day, you have to choose a productive response to adversity. You have to choose to be in a good mood no matter what happens during the day. At first, you’ll find that’s easier said than done, but after a while, you begin to realize that it makes no sense to let your daily mood be driven by other people and events. So choose to be in a good mood! You’ll have many more good days that way.

Idea #35 – Be first

Be first. That sounds like a good idea. Who doesn’t want to be first? But let’s put a different spin on it and add choice to the equation. I want you to choose to be the first person:

  • To smile
  • To say hello
  • To introduce yourself
  • To help someone out
  • To clean up the court, field, facility, etc.
  • To do something positive

This is an incredibly powerful way to build positive relationships. And while being first takes a little bravery, it gets easier as you go along. It’s also very rewarding.

A few weeks ago, I introduced this concept to some junior tennis players at a sectional training camp. The character theme for the weekend was Respect, and one of the benefits of being respectful is the development of positive relationships. During my talk with the players, I talked about how being first could foster building relationships and how they should look for opportunities to be first over the weekend.

A few hours later, three girls from the camp approached me in the lobby of the hotel and introduced themselves. They told me that they wanted to be first! That absolutely made my day, and I have repeated that story several times since because it’s a perfect example of how to be first. It was inspirational. Based on that story, what can you choose to be first at?

Let me know your thoughts on choice and control in the comments. And of course, I’d love to hear some stories on how you chose to be first.

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About the Author

Brian Lomax founded PerformanceXtra™ in 2009 with a mission of helping athletes achieve their goals and their top performances more consistently through a progression of mental skills that enables them to focus on what is truly important.

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