February 28, 2008

Decision or Choice: Is the Difference Stealing Your Focus and Your Time?

published this at 7:35 am

Possibilities and Direction

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You walk into an ice cream store. So many flavors sit in the case before you. You consider or you know right away. You place your order.

You have a meeting with your boss only to find out that the job you love is likely to be gone in six months. You have an opportunity to take a higher position in another state or you can stay in the city you love with a fair certainty that your job is going away.

One is a choice. The other is a decision.

One is about possibilities. The other is about direction.

Decision or Choice

Whether we’re thinking about sending a child to private school, where to go on holiday, or buying office supplies, every day we opt for one thing over another. Sometimes we’re choosing. Sometimes we’re deciding. Doing one when the other is called for can get in our way.

Do you know the difference between a choice and a decision? Consider what the words mean and how that might apply to your business and your life.

The Definitions [via Answers.com ]

The Etymology — History of the Words [via Merriam-Webster Online,]

Synonyms [via Thesaurus.com]

When we choose, it’s like picking an item from a menu. If we come back the next time, we can make another choice. But a decision, cuts off — kills — other options. By its very definiton a decision is a turning point.

Is the Difference Stealing Your Focus and Your Time?

Decisions and choices build our character, form our life path. They’re the sum and substance of what makes our resume and our business success. Even so, what is a decision or a choice for you, me, or anyone is, in itself, a decision or a choice.

How we handle decisions and choices deeply affects our lives.

Those two mistakes steal time and focus and often generate stress.

The difference is fairly simple.
A decision marks a direction.
A choice marks an option until we return to choose again.

How will you use this information?

It’s your decision . . . or your choice.

Be irresistible.
–ME “Liz” Strauss

Related:
When Is Being Good Not Good for Business?
7 Ways to Carve a Path to the Future of Your Dreams
How to Know If You’ve Lost Track of Your Vision

Filed under Business Life, Inside-Out Thinking, Successful Blog | 19 Comments »


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19 Comments to “Decision or Choice: Is the Difference Stealing Your Focus and Your Time?”

  1. February 28th, 2008 at 11:04 am
    Tammy Lenski said

    Terrific distinction for us to consider, Liz. I find myself working frequently with that distinction when I’m mediating and your ideas really resonate and help.

    Your article also reminded me of the overwhelm of too many options and so I thought I’d share this article from this week’s NY Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/26/science/26tier.html?ex=1204693200&en=9f062ddbf4e2d896&ei=5070&emc=eta1

  2. February 28th, 2008 at 12:30 pm
    Beth Robinson said

    This is the post that’s been most relevant to me in the six months I’ve been reading your blog. I never thought about the distinction before and it brought into focus a number of choices and decisions that I’ve made in the last year or so, including choices that were the results of decisions. Thank you. And Tammy, great article to add in.

  3. February 28th, 2008 at 1:24 pm
    ME Liz Strauss said

    Hi Tammy,
    This particular distinction has been coming up a great deal lately as I talk with folks abour focusing their businesses. It’s amazing the change that occurs (and how quickly) when people and teams learn to look at questions they face in this way.

    The time saved and the focus gained is immeasurable. It also takes the some of the anxiety away.

    Love the link you left. Thank you!

  4. February 28th, 2008 at 1:26 pm
    ME Liz Strauss said

    Hi Beth!
    That sort of feedback is so helpful to hear!

    Great point you make that decisions can lead to more choices. I hope no one misses that. :)

  5. February 28th, 2008 at 6:26 pm
    SunnySchlenger said

    This is a wonderful article,Liz. I know several people, personally, who will benefit from it.
    Thanks!

  6. February 28th, 2008 at 11:27 pm
    ME Liz Strauss said

    Hi Sunny!
    It was great piece to write. I’m glad you find value in it. :)

  7. March 2nd, 2008 at 8:43 am
    Michelle Vandepas said

    Woaw! Brilliant. Liz I’ve been reading you on and off for a long time. This article really hit home. I’m always talking about ‘making choices’ just choose and move on, don’t be paralyzed by choice. This post has given me a new perspective! Thank you.

  8. March 2nd, 2008 at 9:54 am
    Inspiration on Living Divine Purpose | Divine Purpose Unleashed said

    [...] insightful Liz at Successful (and outstanding Blogger), got me thinking about the difference between choices and decisions. Liz takes you through the [...]

  9. March 2nd, 2008 at 2:16 pm
    ME Liz Strauss said

    Hi Michelle!
    This one seems to have resonated with many folks. I guess that means that we all need to take a longer look at how we select what we do. :)

    I’m delighted that I could help in this way. :)

  10. March 5th, 2008 at 6:21 am
    Invincibelle Column » Decisions, Choices, and Just What Comes Next said

    [...] Some choices will lead us to stronger decisions. Some decisions will open a world of choices. Not thinking about which we do steals our focus and our time. [...]

  11. March 15th, 2008 at 4:32 pm
    SOBCon08: Business Is Decisions - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once. said

    [...] thinks, “Oh it doesn’t matter if I RSVP.” But business is about being able to make a decision. We made our decisions. Can you make [...]

  12. March 15th, 2008 at 4:41 pm
    Invest One Day of Experts to Be a Winner? said

    [...] thinks, “Oh it doesn’t matter if I RSVP.” But business is about being able to make a decision. We made our decisions. Can you make [...]

  13. April 13th, 2008 at 10:55 am
    Critical Skill 9: How to Have Positivity and Confidence Making Tough Decisions - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once. said

    [...] when the choices are simple or they can choose again. Decisions are a little trickier, because decisions cut off other options. Most adults don’t like big decisions any more than children [...]

  14. July 20th, 2008 at 10:40 pm
    Why It Takes a Personal Plan to Be Outstandingly Successful - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once. said

    [...] If you want to be outstandingly successful, plan for it. Outstanding is a stake in the ground that we keep our eyes on. It’s a path that we plot for the life that we want. It’s as easy as a decision. [...]

  15. November 3rd, 2008 at 6:49 am
    Why Play the Game, If We Aren’t Playing for Keeps? - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once. said

    [...] I took time to map out how to solve the blog problems. I took even longer to work out the same things about me. That done, I started looking for how to get the work done and get my life in order. [...]

  16. November 10th, 2008 at 8:44 am
    Credibility: How to Connect with New Arrivals to the SocialSphere - Liz Strauss at Successful Blog - Thinking, writing, business ideas . . . You’re only a stranger once. said

    [...] decision making ability … decision or choice — know the difference? [...]

  17. January 29th, 2011 at 7:27 am
    Kyra D. Gaunt, Ph.D. said

    I learned this distinction about 8 years ago. Corvida Raven and I were distinguishing it further from recent events. She tried it on a hypothetical. These kinds of things are best when applied IRL not as intellectual ideas. She then googled and find this post. It added a new level to my understanding. And a great post to share from now on. thx!!

  18. January 29th, 2011 at 12:35 pm
    ME Liz Strauss said

    Hi Kyra,
    What fun to be having that discussion with Corvida. Wish I could have been there … but then, maybe it’s better than I wasn’t heh heh.

  19. June 21st, 2013 at 2:25 pm
    Moana Robinson said

    Great blog on choice and decision – it helped me heaps when dealing with something important relationship/business based … A choice leaves options open for me and allows both to evolve naturally – a decision would definitely have cut off a lot – basically I just chose!! Just like that and feel good about it

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