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Your choices in life define you

The-Importance-of-Decision-MakingDon’t leave everything to chance, says Vijay Batra, develop your ability to choose

Survival, in many ways, is a matter of chance. When a pack of zebras is outrunning a tiger or a lioness, a lot depends on chance. The zebra runs on instinct; its tunnel vision is to get out of danger, not thinking of other possible escapes. An ostrich instinctively buries its head in the ground thinking that if it can’t see the enemy, then the enemy won’t see it. This is a chance the ostrich takes.

When we are faced with challenges, most of us seek comfort in taking chances rather than making a choice. We have to realise that we are capable of making healthier and better choices than those we currently make. We need to overcome the tendency to be fatalistic, and not depend on fate or luck. What you are today is because of the choices you have made in the past and the choices you chose not to make. The future too depends on the choices you make now and those you choose not to make. The choices you make now are most likely to follow the pattern of choices you have always made.

What you really need to think about and ask yourself is: what choices have you made in the past, how you could have improved those and what you can do to improve the quality of choices you will make in future.

Some people are healthy because they make better lifestyle choices than others. Even though a lot depends on one’s genes, genetics has to be supplemented with healthy choices of diet and exercise. We don’t put on weight by chance; it happens because we choose to overeat and not exercise enough.

The more we exert conscious choice, the more we rise above the tendency to live by choice and design. We need to develop the ability to make our choices. It is simple to avoid making the right choice and later blame others when things don’t turn out the way we want them to. But what we don’t realise is that we could have improved situations by making the correct choice.

To become more aware and alert, ask yourself this question: am I living by chance or because of my choices? As students we took chances with our academics; we would ignore our lessons throughout the year and as exam time approached we would try to guess the contents of the question paper. When we don’t prepare for a client meeting, we take a chance which may lead to the client knowing how inefficient we are. The more chances we take, the more our instincts take over. This makes us anxious and we don’t enjoy ourselves because of the constant fear that we might fail.

If a pianist plays well it is because she has chosen to practise hard, which helps her play well. Realise the potential you have and make the right choice. Only then will you be able to enjoy yourself at work or when relaxing.