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CHOICE by Otitolaye Oluwatosin

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Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved – William Jennings Bryan. In my last column, “Identifying your temperaments”, I talked about how you can discern your temperament type and that of those around you. We all know that there is single force that shapes the quality of our lives and there is the power we have that changes everything and that is “CHOICE”.

Choosing is the process of selection and making choices which is what we do practically every day. In reality, making choices is really too much effort so, we mostly stick with a default choice(s) especially when offered too many choices. A typical sanguine who doesn’t have so much patience, restless and less of a thinker will like to shut down when poised with too many choices, pick a default choice and get the process done with. People need to bear in mind that there are no safe choices but other choices. While thinking and considering the title “choice”. I came to realise that some of the mistakes we make is not to consider consequences before making choices. As simple as going to buy a skin lightening cream fortified with hydroquinone is a very easy choice but on considering the after-effect of the product, you might choose to buy a moisturizer instead. This is the point; you can choose your actions, or you can choose your consequences, or you can choose your consequences, but you can’t choose both. Once you choose your action, the consequences follow with a will of their own. Even our dear God gave us a power of choice with their consequences in that he set before us life and death, blessing and cursing but he then went ahead to mention that we choose life, that both we and our descendants may live. You can’t choose to slack off at work and expected to be promoted or choose to be lazy and get food to eat. A typical adage says “you can’t eat your cake and have it”. People handle choices differently and I disagree with any clear – cut formula to handle choices. When faced with complex situations, people either don’t decide at all, or they employ ways of simplifying their decision – making process. Unfortunately, the simplification strategies they use don’t necessarily yield the best decision outcomes. According to Sheena Iyengar, decision making involves 3 distinct mental tasks:

  • Knowing what you want.
  • Understanding what options are available.
  • Making trade – offs between the available options.

People feel most confident in their decisions when they understand the available options and can comfortably compare and evaluate each one because as the number of options increases, the evaluation process can become overwhelming and intimidating especially when expertise or skill is needed.


“you can choose your actions, or you can choose your consequences, or you can choose your consequences, but you can’t choose both”.


People use a variety of strategies to simplify the decision-making process. Two common strategies are

  • Satisficing—when people adopt a satisficing strategy, once they find the first option that meets some predefined criterion or set of criteria, they stop considering new options. Since a decision based on satisficing depends on the order in which people consider options, a different ordering of the options may yield a different decision outcome.
  • elimination—When employing an elimination strategy, people use some criteria for the purpose of ruling out, or eliminating, options from the set of options under consideration, with the goal of reducing the size of the choice set and making a choice more manageable. An elimination strategy is a useful means of pruning down the number of options to a set a person can reasonably scrutinize in detail, thus facilitating a choice.

Take a pause here: Try to reflect on choices you’ve made before now, how you handled them and their consequences. Ok, just if you can’t think of all that, think of your decision to read this newsletter and the consequences of reading it or not. Atimes, some choices don’t have negative consequences, some just leaves you with regrets, while some comes out positively. This leaves me with my last point that “whatever you do, own your choice”, never blame regrets on the consequences because the moment you realise, you own your choice, you’ll be much more patient and think calmly when choosing next mindlessly of your temperament type and you need to also understand that consequences just come with a will of their own.

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