Some Life Defining Decisions May Slip Your Attention. Are You Aware of Them?

“It is in the moments of decisions our destiny is shaped.” ~ Tony Robbins

I am a firm believer in the quote above. Decisions we make is the most influential things in our life. We make decisions all the time. even if you say you can’t make a decision, you are making a decision to stay undecided. Over the past two or three years my journey led me to exploring this area on a much deeper level. Decisions we make, why we make them, how they demonstrate in our life, how we perceive them and how to focus on the root cause of problems. These are the things that matter to me and should matter to most people, at least to you reading my blog 😉 While on one side we have theory, without practical application it would stay only a theorem. But you really understand things when you put them into practice. And this is what this blog post is about…

The big decision

From time to time we make big decisions that change the course of our life. Decisions like leaving job, getting married, moving to a different country. These are obvious and nobody argues about their impact they can have on your life. Often, this kind of decision is preceded by struggle, which is big enough for us to take action and move us forward and if they result in something good, it is always inspiring. People love stories about overcoming struggle. However, we forget to consider that most impactful decisions we make are in our childhood. For example a child is abused and decides subconsciously to put on weight and keep it to be unattractive. This is a way for the child to prevent sexual attacks in future. Or if we feel we are not loved and live in an emotional scarcity in our childhood, we might learn to handle it by staying detached. We close ourselves, we keep our love for ourselves and when somebody provides us with their love, we value it so much that if we are to share their love or attention with anybody else, even our own child, we are jealous. And we might not even understand why we do it, but we do it anyway, because that is what we learnt and what worked for us at some time,, long ago. We often take these “tactics” and behaviours from childhood and use them later in our life, still while we are in our twenties, thirties or even fifties. However, at that time they can become an obstacle preventing us from moving forward or living a fulfilled life.

Childhood to adulthood

adult-child Let’s take the example of jealousy. It is generally agreed that jealousy is an unwanted trait, even childish, definitely not anything attractive. When you have a child with multiple siblings and busy parents, the child might feel a lack of love. When there is a lack of love, lack of attention, the instinctive behaviour tells us to seek what we miss. The child starts doing things to get the parents’ attention. Sometimes by excelling or on the other hand, by rebelling. If one behaviour doesn’t work, it tries a different approach until the child finds what works to get the attention of it’s parents. It is super effective! The kind of behaviour can be supporting parents by cleaning house and always helping out. Parents are happy about it and they praise the child and even tell the siblings to be more like him or her. Fast forward to adulthood, the child, now an adult works in an office. He or she comes to office every day, makes coffee for the boss, cleans the table, schedule everything and makes everything run smoothly. But the boss is so busy he doesn’t notice. The young adult now starts feeling bad. He or she things that they did everything right and yet there is no love or what he or she would perceive as love (attention). It starts bugging them and later, if the people pleasing skill-set doesn’t work, they start getting frustrated. Yet they don’t have any idea why. He or she does as they learnt in the childhood, but it does not work. And so the struggle is created. Whatever he or she does, will be about people pleasing, unless they understand why they did it in the first place. Think about your life. What does manifest in your adulthood, that you learnt in your childhood? 

The small decision

Sometimes decisions that change our life completely can seem small simply because we are not aware of where they will lead in the big picture of things but

Having said that, let me introduce you to my inspiration for this article, which was actually my Spartan Race past weekend.

As you may have noticed, I do OCR in my spare time. I got addicted to it and with it came inspiration and life lessons to be learnt, great people to be met.

During the weekend I run Spartan Race Ultra Beast in Slovakia. For those of you who have no clue, it was about 48km long across mountains, creeks, muddy terrain, not a 48km walk in the park. On top of that packed with obstacles like multiple rope climbs, traverse walls, heavy carries up even steeper hills. Story told short, it was a pretty hard race and that is exactly why I do it! To challenge my comfort zone and my mind.

I don’t want to bore you with details about the race, but I felt strong the first half. However, very soon after, at about 30th km mark I started to weaken and had a crisis. I started failing obstacles resulting in a punishments in form of 30 burpees, which tires you down especially if you have to do it in a close sequence.

With tiredness, I had to start my inner demons. The voice in my head started telling me I was only half-way through and that I feel weak and should quit. Maybe you can recognize the voice even if you don’t tire yourself through physical exercise. You can know it from work, from pushing your boundaries…

Fortunately, I started to do what I always advice to my clients. I started to focus my attention on things that would move me forward, not lead me to quitting. I told myself I was not feeling that bad, which was an objective truth. I started replaying in my head words of David Goggins, who you can find mentioned in some of my articles. And most important thing, I took it one step at a time. This is the kind of small decision that compound over time. Instead of focusing on the next 10 or 20 kilometers, I focused on the hill I was climbing. Was that too long and overwhelming? If it was I focused on sections of only 10 steps. I would carry a sandbag on my shoulders counting 1,2,3…10, 1,2,3…10 over and over again. This was my decision in the moment to walk next 10 steps and then again until I was atop the hill.

I also knew that choosing to quit in the race would be very dangerous for my mental health. It would essentially plant a seed of failure in my mind had I quit without fainting. I knew my health was not in danger and that it was just my mind screaming. I bet you know similar situations as well. However I also know that many people choose the easy path. They choose to stay in a relative comfort zone and not push themselves. That results in them having doubts in themselves in unrelated areas of their life, i.e. by quitting the race I would not be able to rely on myself in business because when (mentally) hard times would come, I know I would react the same way – I would quit. I use exercise as a form of strengthening my mind.

Summary: Big decisions, small decisions…

We like to focus on big things. Maybe because they are so “visible” and exciting. We don’t get excited about small improvements.

In context of general happiness, we already know that the happiest people are often happy about small things. Likewise, focusing on small decisions that you make constantly will get you much higher marginal benefits.

To sum it up, start focusing on the small decisions you make as they are the most influential in the long term. They compound. If you keep adding to trash, you will end up with a big pile of trash that is hard to clean. But if you throw away small pieces without waiting, you will have your space and life clean. Don’t be like 90% people who underestimate the compounding effect. Build momentum by taking small decisions that favor you in the long run.


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