So many choices

We are faced with a plethora of choices and decisions every day. A walk down the average supermarket aisle is a perfect reminder of this. Just consider toothpaste and how many variations there are on what could be a fairly straightforward choice. Countless brands with many ‘varieties’ from tartar control to tooth whitening, to name a few. I mean really, when did toothpaste become so complicated? The marketers among you will have an answer for that… And, there are impacts on you, whether you are aware of them or not.


Know yourself

So, what does toothpaste have to do with knowing who you are and how you make choices? Knowing your values make life simpler. When you are clear on your values, (what you value and what is important to you) choices and decisions become easier. Knowing your values will literally take a swathe of decisions out of play, eliminating them from the get-go. For that to be the case, you need to be crystal clear on what you stand for. It makes it possible to simply and quickly know what to say yes to and what to say no to without deliberating. It comes down to the value of knowing who you are, what aligns with you and your stated goals and intentions. Frankly, all the rest is just noise. 


Limit your choices; avoid fatigue

Beyond the noise, there is another issue you are contending with: Fatigue. Specifically, decision making fatigue. Every time you harness your attention and focus you use some of it up for the day. You also engage your willpower, which is finite and won’t be replenished till the following day.

Simplify your life. Learn to say NO!
Learn to avoid, or better yet put in place a strategy to manage situations that demand a constant no of you. Weed out the ‘unnecessary’, put structures and systems in place and conserve your willpower for when you need it.


Create yourself

Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself, and you can even create your values; make them up if you will. You’re not lost after all, and without a map, it is impossible to both know where you are and to plot a course to where you want to go. Where you’re going will depend on what you want and what you want to achieve. Again, here is where the choices in front of you can become overwhelming. How do you distinguish which option is the “right” one for you? How do you make the process of choosing easier?


Values as a yardstick

One way to do that is to have a yardstick. Your values can provide you with such a yardstick. This process can be both a process of discovery and one of creation. Some values will be intrinsic; they are the ones to discover or uncover, they are natural to you and are born out in your everyday activities, conversations and situations.  They become evident when someone ‘cuts across’ your values.

An example of this will be getting very upset when being lied to. This may be a reliable indicator that you value the truth. Any time you have a strong reaction to something, this might be an indicator of a value you hold.


Alignment matters

If you are clear on your values, whether they are intrinsic, created or a combination of both, then a pivotal question to ask yourself could be “Does this fit with my values and is there alignment?” Now, you might be thinking something like, tell me again what this has to do with toothpaste? There is even a fit with toothpaste, or at least there can be. For me, I value keeping my expenses down, and so then the brand matters less to me. As far as I am concerned, toothpaste is toothpaste; marketing be damned. I am simply after the least expensive one I can find.