Our purpose and priorities shape how we grow our tree of life. They shape the choices we make at each fork in the road we face.
For years, I’ve been talking about the importance of the choices we make. Add up your choices and that’s your life. Change your choices and change your life. Sounds easy enough … except its anything but easy. Because we don’t just make choices like a computer evaluating logical alternatives. Well, at least most of us don’t think like a computer.
If we really want to change our life for the better, it’s not just our choices that have to change. Those choices are not going to change simply because we will them to. You can’t order yourself to change your choices. Choices are the effect. So what’s the cause?
Your choices are about what’s important to you
Your choices, whether consciously or unconsciously, are driven by something much deeper inside of you. If you look at every choice you’ve ever made in your life, the great, the good, the bad, and the downright cringe worthy, you made those choices based on what was important and unimportant to you. What was more important versus what was less important. What you considered a high priority and what you considered a low priority. What you cared about and what you didn’t.
You choose based on your priorities and purpose even if you’ve never taken the time to actually think about what those are. Or you know what they are and just assume they’re fine the way they are. Choices grow out of what is deep inside of us. Everything we do, everything we see, everything we respond to all grows out of what’s inside of us.
As the things that are important to you shift over time, so do your choices. You will notice in hindsight you are making different choices than you used to. You will see things changing in your life. You will discover yourself looking at things around you differently and reacting to those you know differently.
Are you letting that shift occur without much thought or reflection? Or have you taken the time to reflect on whether this is really what is most important to you? And what happens when you force a choice that’s not based on what’s important to you because you thought that’s what you should do? How well do those choices usually work out?
Reflect on your priorities and what you consider important
If we actually want to change our choices, we need to start reflecting on our priorities and purpose. Why do we actually do what we do? We need to figure out what’s really important to us and what’s not.
Then we need to begin to ask ourselves some tough questions. Are those the priorities we want for ourselves? is that the purpose behind why we do what we do? Are those things really important to us? And are these other things really not important to us?
If you want to change the path you’re on, first, you have to change your priorities and purpose…what’s important to you. The journey you travel is all about what’s important and unimportant to you. That’s what determines the choices you make at every fork in the road.
What’s really important to you?
What’s most important to you? What’s least important to you? What do you value the most? What do you value the least? That defines your priorities. And when we are faced with a choice, we usually go with the one that reflects our top priorities and avoid the one that reflects things low on our priority list.
When faced with two less than pleasant choices, we will tend to pick the one that seems to address what’s most important to us. When there’s a trade off, we usually go with our priorities, what’s most important to us. When the choices involve something more interesting or exciting, we will lean toward that which captures our fancy … which fits what’s most important to us and our priorities.
When our choices involve something critical such as a relationship, we may be inclined to move in a certain direction because of what we consider important. Have you also considered what is important to your loved one? Have you explored the possibility you may both have unconsciously allowed different things to become important to you that now pull you apart? When you dig below the surface, you may discover that by aligning what’s important to both of you, the surface conflicts go away and you can build a stronger bond.
While we are usually aware of our choices, especially after we’ve made them and dealt with the consequences, too often we don’t dig deeper to discover what caused those choices in the first place. Your choices aren’t really about the obvious choice you are facing at all. They are about what’s inside of you that’s driving you to make those choices.