10 Things You Need to Know about Choosing

Mar 30 08:26 2005 John R Dempsey Print This Article

Choosing is like breathing. You do it – indeed, you must do it – all day, every day.

Whether waking or sleeping,Guest Posting whether deliberately or habitually, whether in matters big or small, you live by continuously choosing. You are always choosing – what to do next, what to do now, what to do if, what to do when.

And just like breathing, your choosing can become so routine and so automatic that you may not be certain how or why it works. You may not understand how or why it sometimes fails to serve you well.

These ten things you need to know are the ABCs of choosing.

Learn these ten things, remember these ten things, and you can breathe easier, secure in the knowledge that you have a better understanding of how and why your choosing works, and of how and why it sometimes fails to serve you well.

When you know these ten essential things about choosing, you become better at weighing your options in every situation. You become more efficient and more effective in all of your choosing, deliberate and habitual, big and small. Your choosing gets better and better.

Here are the essential messages of the ten things you need to know about choosing:

1.You can only interpret what you can perceive – choosing requires both.

2.You perceive consciously and non-consciously – choosing requires both.

3.You interpret logically and non-logically – choosing requires both.

4.You choose what’s possible to make what is – choosing changes both.

5.Risk and reward are two sides of the same coin – choosing engages both.

6.You put some time, energy and attention into every choice – big or small.

7.You delay choosing when you focus on perceiving.

8.You hasten choosing when you focus on interpreting.

9.You allot your time, energy and attention to choosing according to the risk and reward that you perceive and interpret.

10.You cultivate habitual choosing to free up time, energy and attention for higher stakes choosing.

That is the essence of the ten things you need to know about choosing. Each message is explored here in a little more detail, and explained in a little more depth.

Each message is also countered with a caveat – a cautionary pointer to the consequences of heeding the message without the proverbial grain of salt.

1.There are two sides to every story.

The story of choosing has two sides – perceiving and interpreting.

To choose well, you must always consider each side of the story independent of the other. You must consider the whole story, of course, and yet you must always have clear distinctions between what you perceive and what you interpret.
The classic example of different witnesses describing different versions of an event illustrates the roles of perceiving and interpreting. The witnesses all perceive exactly the same thing; it is only when they interpret that different versions arise.

The caveat: The line between perceiving and interpreting can be very thin, and very flexible. You can easily mistake one for the other.

The essential message: You can only interpret what you can perceive – choosing requires both.

2.The story of perceiving has two sides – what is and what’s possible.

To choose well, you must always consider what is that is relevant to the situation and meaningful for you. You must also consider what’s possible that is relevant to the situation and meaningful for you.

You perceive what is through your physical body – your direct experience of the world around you. This is the linear world of apparent cause and effect, sometimes called immanent reality, and your physical body can perceive this world fully, accurately and consciously.

You perceive what’s possible through your intuitive “body” – your experience of the latent world, sometimes called transcendent reality. Your intuitive “body” can perceive this world fully, accurately and non-consciously.

The caveat: Your beliefs, preferences and habits may limit your capacity to perceive fully and accurately. You can perceive fully and accurately, both consciously and non-consciously. You may, for example, prefer your direct experience of the immanent world to your experience of the latent world. You may prefer your five common senses to the body’s deeper perception of what is. You may prefer one or two of your five common senses over the others.

The essential message: You perceive consciously and non-consciously – choosing requires both.

3.The story of interpreting has two sides – what you think and what you feel.

To choose well, you must always consider the thoughts that you generate in response to your perception of what is and what’s possible. You must also consider the feelings that you generate in response to your perception.

You interpret logically when you apply your mental awareness and intelligence – your thinking – to consider the meaning and relevance of what you perceive.

You interpret non-logically when you apply your emotional awareness and intelligence – your feelings – to consider the meaning and relevance of what you perceive.

The caveat: Your interpreting ability is designed to process full and accurate perception. When you limit your full and accurate perception, you may generate plausible and false perceptions to fill in the blanks.

Another caveat: You may generate thoughts in response to your feelings, and you may generate feelings in response to your thoughts. You generate your first thoughts and feelings in response to your perception of what is and what’s possible – you may generate later thoughts and feelings in response to your immediate interpretation.

The essential message: You interpret logically and non-logically – choosing requires both.

4.Every choice affects both what is and what’s possible.

Choosing is a creative act, generating change in both the immanent and the latent worlds.

Your choices lead you to action – your actions lead to outcomes. Your actions and outcomes create ripples that change both what is and what’s possible, both for you and for others.
Just as living and breathing are continuous, you can now see that perceiving must be continuous. You perceive the continuously changing landscapes of what is and what’s possible. Continuous perceiving requires continuous interpreting and leads to continuous choosing – more choosing, more actions, more outcomes, more perceiving, etc.

The caveat: You may sometimes experience extreme responses to this continuously changing being and possibility – you may feel the pace of change is impossible for you to keep up with, or you may feel paralyzed, unable to choose any action or outcome.

The essential message: You choose what’s possible to make what is – choosing changes both.

5.The story of possibility has two sides – risk and reward.

As you perceive and interpret what’s possible, you naturally find some actions and outcomes that appeal to you, some that repel you and some that move you neither one way nor the other.
Your affinity for a particular action or a particular outcome is a measure of the risk or reward that that action or outcome holds for you. An action or outcome that repels you is a risk; an action or outcome that appeals to you is a reward. Actions and outcomes that move you neither one way nor the other are less risky, and also less rewarding.

The caveat: Actions that appeal to you may have outcomes that repel you, and outcomes that appeal to you may require actions that repel you.

Another caveat: Many different paths may lead to a particular outcome, and a particular action may be a step on many paths.

The essential message: Risk and reward are two sides of the same coin – choosing engages both.

6.Every choice is made over TEA.

Choosing takes time. Choosing takes energy. Choosing takes attention.

You consume a brew of your own time, energy and attention while perceiving the situation before you. You consume more of your time, energy and attention while interpreting the situation and your options. You consider the impact of each scenario, weighing the risks and the rewards. You perceive some, you interpret some – back and forth – all the while consuming more and more of your precious TEA.

You may consume only a sip or a cup of your TEA; you may consume a full pot or an entire plantation.

You may sip your TEA in solitude; or you may share it in quiet conversation with a trusted ally; or you may serve it freely at a party of your peers.

The caveat: Your time, energy and attention are limited resources, continuously consumed by necessary perceiving, interpreting, choosing and living.

Another caveat: When you share your TEA with others, you perceive their interpretations, and they perceive your interpretations.

The essential message: You put some time, energy and attention into every choice – big or small.

7.Perceiving is a divergent story.

Perceiving is a necessary part of choosing. Being the first part, perceiving determines how long the choosing process continues. You must perceive what is necessary and sufficient to complete the choosing process, and yet you must interpret to know what is necessary and sufficient.

You delay choosing when you devote more time, energy and attention to perceiving what is and what’s possible, and less to interpreting what you think and what you feel.

The caveat: You must know when to stop perceiving and when to start or continue interpreting.

The essential message: You delay choosing when you focus on perceiving.

8.Interpreting is a convergent story.

Interpreting is a necessary part of choosing. Being the last part, interpreting determines when the choosing process ends.

You hasten choosing when you devote more time, energy and attention to interpreting what you think and what you feel, and less to perceiving what is and what’s possible.

The caveat: You must know when the time is right for interpreting and when you need to continue perceiving.

The essential message: You hasten choosing when you focus on interpreting.

9.TEA and possibility.

The amount of your time, energy and attention that you devote to choosing naturally varies according to the amounts of risk and reward that you perceive and interpret.

Some choices need only a modest serving of TEA – for example, you easily choose in favor of big reward, small risk options and confidently ignore small reward, big risk options.

You may naturally serve less TEA in consideration of small reward, small risk options. When neither the risk nor the reward moves you much one way or the other, you may find yourself moving rhythmically in a kind of a trance dance.

You may often serve lots of TEA in consideration of big reward, big risk options. When the reward is very appealing and the risk, intimidating, you may find yourself rocking back and forth in a kind of approach and avoidance dance.

The key to serving proper TEA in the company of possibility is to remember that you are responding to your own perception and to your own interpretation of risks and rewards that are meaningful for you.

The caveat: Your capacity for full and accurate perceiving determines how well you understand the risks and rewards involved when you are choosing.

The essential message: You allot your time, energy and attention to choosing according to the risk and reward that you perceive and interpret.

10.TEA for two.

You may find that much of your continuous choosing becomes that routine, everyday, little sips and cups of TEA kind of choosing.

You may create habits for most everyday choosing, such as what you eat, how you dress, where you go, who you see. For these things, you may consume less and less TEA perceiving what is and what’s possible, and interpreting what you think and what you feel. You may put yourself in low or no maintenance mode for many routine actions and outcomes.

You may find that a lot of your choosing is still that special occasion, bring out the good china for TEA kind of choosing.

The frequency and quality of your special occasion choosing depends greatly on the amount of TEA you have spared from everyday choosing.

The caveat: Choices that serve you well one day may not be suitable the next.

Another caveat: “Big and scary” special occasion choices can seem bigger and scarier when you hardly ever entertain them.

The essential message: You cultivate habitual choosing to free up time, energy and attention for higher stakes choosing.

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

John R Dempsey
John R Dempsey

John is a personal and professional coach, and Director of Optionist (http://www.optionist.com), conducting research, and offering education and support, for understanding how we choose. John works as a professional consultant in public and private sector organizations in the US and Canada, developing and delivering effective educational and experiential workshops.

View More Articles