Have you ever wrestled with something that was kind of in a gray (or grey for our British readers) area? Maybe it was a habit that you couldn’t really call “bad” – but, at the same time, you certainly couldn’t call it “good.”
Years ago, a friend and I were having one of those deep conversations that can only take place over pizza. In fact, it was just me, her, two tall glasses of Coca-Cola and an extra large pizza with mushrooms, onions, and green olives. That’s what I loved about her – she liked the same pizza toppings I did.
The girl had such good taste.
Although, like a fairy tale, it was a long long ago, I distinctly remember our conversation. We were both young mothers at the time, with lots of little girls between us – and the prospect of raising daughters, in what seemed at the time the toughest time period to do so led to many heart-to-heart “mommy conversations.” Little did we realize that late 1990’s and 2000’s would make our particular time period look like Little House on the Prairie. Even then, however, things kids were exposed to in music, television, and movies was reprehensible. We may have been pizza drunk, and we may have been incredibly young – but even we knew that life choices and decisions should be broken down into three categories: Good. Better. Best.
Sure, watching this television show (compared to the rest) is good… but is there a better option… and, then, is that the BEST option?
Over the years, a lot of things have changed. After frequent moving on both of our parts, I’ve totally lost contact with my pizza buddy. Thanks to gluten intolerance, I no longer sit in restaurant booths shoveling pizza in my mouth and, thanks to a metabolism that IN NO WAY got better with age, I no longer drink Cocoa Colas. What is it with metabolisms, anyway? Why do they turn on us?
What hasn’t changed, though, is the fact that we should all periodically take stock of how we spend our time, the choices we make, and the the way we’re playing this game called life.
First thing we need to do is to own the fact that everything we willfully do throughout the day is because we made a choice. If someone buys a Big Mac and large fries, they chose to eat something profoundly unhealthy. It didn’t just happen.
If we squander our time and, at the end of the day, realize that we didn’t get a darn thing done – we chose that path. Unless someone tied us to a chair, the choice was made by only one person – and that’s the person we see in the mirror.
Every action we make or inaction we take, we choose to do so. That’s why, whenever it comes time to talk about self improvement, self growth, or self help, the first thing we have to hold accountable are our choices.
They lead the way – everything else just follows.
One of the fastest and most efficient ways to get the most out of these choices is to give honest answers to these questions:
- Does anything GOOD come from this?
- If not, why am I doing it?
- If something GOOD does come from this choice, is there a choice I could make that would bring about an even BETTER payoff?
- If there is a BETTER choice… is it the BEST choice?
Let’s look at a quick example, because if you’re anything like me, that’s where things really begin to take shape.
I don’t have to tell you how important it is to eat healthy. You don’t look like a perfect idiot to me, so I know you get that. We tend to kind of “misplace” this bit of common sense as soon as we drive past a fast food restaurant, don’t we? We’ll see a sign that says something like Free Drink When you Buy Two Juicy Cheeseburgers and Large Fries, and automatically say through a smile, “Don’t mind if I do.”
While the convenience of this choice might appear GOOD, I’m pretty sure we can do better.
How about ordering just one burger and an unsweet tea? That’s BETTER…. but, can we do even better than that? Is there a BEST option available?
The BEST decision would be to either go home and have a wholesome, cheaper, lower calorie lunch or find a Subway and “eat fresh.”
Let me guess, it seems like a small thing, right? But that’s kind of what choices are – they’re the small brush strokes that paint the big picture. Now, which is going to make the best picture – the best strokes, of course.
Same thing with self improvement – if you want the BEST you, you have to practice making the BEST choices. Unless, of course, you just want to settle for a “good” you…
I didn’t think so.
If you want the BEST from yourself and the BEST from life, it all starts with making the BEST decisions. Like a single unit, they will all move in the same direction. May as well swing for the fences!