Experiences, Happier, Peter's Posts

What are your Micro-Choices?

Man on the phone

Micro-choices are the quick, almost automatic reactions we have to what we encounter throughout the day. We make micro-choices all the time, and they have a huge impact on our lives.

Our micro-choices set us off on a cycle of thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. This cycle keeps us focused on our choice.

For example, if I see a new car, I can choose to admire it or be envious of it. If I admire it, the next set of thoughts I have will be based on how nice it looks and drives. If on the other hand, I choose to be envious, my next set of thoughts will be about why I can’t have a new car or who owns it and why they are better than me.

The micro-choice about the new car is important for three reasons.

1. I can listen to the feelings that come with my thoughts of admiration or envy.
2. It’s a chance for me to discover the beliefs that support my thoughts.
3. It will set the tone for my thinking now and into the future.

My world is a reflection of my thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. With each micro-choice, I influence all three!

Here’s a great example.

A while back, I was in a meeting that seemed to be going on forever. The people on the call didn’t have all the information to make a decision, but still felt compelled to continue their discussion. It felt like a complete waste of time. It’s also the type of meeting I often find myself in.

Then I noticed how impatient I felt.

I was upset at how useless the meeting was and how much of my valuable time they were wasting. I didn’t have to be impatient, but I made the micro-choice to react to the conference call with impatience.

Impatience was just one of the hundreds of possible choices available to me. I could’ve enjoyed the discussion, maybe find it comical or ironic. I could’ve been more engaged and tried to help the team reach a conclusion. I could’ve decided the meeting wasn’t going anywhere and excused myself.

The point is, I have choices. And for this particular meeting, and for many previous meetings, I chose to be impatient.

In the course of a day, I don’t consider this a big choice. What I’m going to eat, what I’m going to wear, who I’m going to meet with; these all seem to be bigger choices. But micro-choices have the biggest impact on my life.

Because I was impatient, I continued to think impatient thoughts. I couldn’t wait for the meeting to be over and thought about the wasted time, energy and resources. All this thinking reinforced by beliefs around impatience.

My impatience comes back to me as a reflection. The more impatience I think, feel and believe, the more I experience it. It shows up when I’m waiting in line at the store, and I end up in the line with the slowest cashier. It shows up when I just miss the traffic light and have to wait for the full cycle. These little things beget other little things that keep me focused on impatience.

It all started with my micro-choice to be impatient on the conference call and the next thing you know I’m waiting in the longest line at the DMV.

The micro-choices we make everyday highlight the importance of each choice and its impact on your life.

Your thoughts matter, and you can choose your thoughts – even the little ones.

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