Choices – Don’t we love them? Choice of phones to suit our requirements, choice of data plan to suit our needs, choice of clothes to suit the situation, choice of food to suit the mood and the list goes on. While too many choices might be overwhelming at times, a life without choices is unthinkable.
Choices determine our life. By choosing our actions, we determine the results. By choosing our thoughts, we determine our emotions. By choosing whom or what we pay attention to, we determine the quality of our lives. By giving choices to others, we determine the quality of our relationships.
Choice means freedom. While one might know the importance of one’s own freedom, are we aware of how we are giving others the freedom to make their choices too? Are we aware of the choices in our language and thoughts while interacting with others?
Choice and advice don’t go together. Without being solicited for advice, do we do things like the following?
Tell someone what they should eat, when they should sleep, what they should wear, how they should be, what they should say, who should they talk to or what should they do?
Advice is usually well received when it is given respectfully and more so, only when the other person needs it. But if we are telling others all the time, and want them to learn through our experience, we may limit their ability to choose and determine their experiences. We may limit their freedom. We may limit their ability to learn from their mistakes and experience. Nothing can substitute experience.
Can we give choices in our language? Can we seek to understand or find out their point of view before we state our opinion?
Imagine asking a child – “would you want to study now or after an hour?” or “What would you like to do now?”
Imagine asking your spouse – “what would you like to do over the weekend?”
Imagine asking your team mate – “how would you like to go about this?”
Choices can be win-win. We were sent on this earth to make our choices in order to learn and grow. We can aid the process but not take the process on behalf of others. We can help others understand that choices have consequences and help them understand what could be the possible consequences of some choices that they make. Choices don’t mean just giving two options that we think are best for them. Choice is only when we make it a win-win. Can we think win-win? Win for the other and win for self too?
“Do you want to study Physics now or Chemistry” – may not be a win-win.
“Do you want to study now and play later or play now and study later” – here’s where we are truly thinking win-win.
Choices are empowering. Giving someone a choice also makes them feel responsible and accountable for their decisions. Choices are compelling. People can’t resist choices. They resist rules or authority. And sometimes, giving someone what they want is more helpful than giving someone what we think is right.
Giving choices is a choice – nothing is mandatory always. But giving them often helps strengthen the person and the relation too. Have a flexible day ahead!