We often agonize over the “big decisions” in our life: who to marry, what job to take, to move or not to move, etc. Yes, these are important decisions and they should be made carefully with sufficient weight given to both our left and right brains’ input.  BUT “big decisions” often have less impact on our lives than the seemingly insignificant small ones. 

So called “big decisions” may matter less than we believe for three reasons:

1) The outcome, the results, of most decisions is determined as much by the quality of the EXECUTION of the decision, the process that follows the decision, as by the quality or “correctness” of the decision itself. A perfect 10 decision with a mediocre 6 execution yields a 60 outcome, 7 decision with a 10 quality of execution gets a 70 outcome. The good news is that execution and related feedback generally occurs over time, creating an ongoing opportunity for improvements in effort.

2) Furthermore, a bad outcome doesn’t always mean a bad decision and a good outcome doesn’t always mean a good decision, chance can play a huge role. “Investing” your rent money in the lottery and winning is a bad decision with a good outcome; closing on a downtown NYC office building on September 10, 2001 may have a good investment decision but, at least in the short run, the financial outcome would be dicey.

3) The impact of the “big few” decisions are often outweighed by the multitude of everyday small decisions we make: take the stairs or the elevator, get the salad instead of fries, hold the dressing, journal a bit before bed or have a nightcap, flip on the one eyed god or read some from an inspirational book, schedule an after work tennis match or agree to meet friends for happy hour, share smiles or frowns, see the best in everyone or look out for the worst, see the stars in the sky or the muddy field below?

Closing quotes:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle, 384 BC- 322 BC

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier, 1885-1950

“I am the product of my decisions, not my circumstances.” – Stephen R. Covey, 1932-2012

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier