Freedom of choice does not mean freedom from consequence

Published by Peter on

We all have freedom of choice, but none of us has freedom from consequence.

I said this to my kids frequently when they were in high school. They were not amused. But they understood.

Simple graphic saying "you have freedom of choice but not freedom from consequence."

You can do what you want, what you need to do, or what you think is right. No matter what, your actions will have consequences.

It’s best to think through what those consequences will be before acting (or declining to act).

And then own the choices you make, as well as the consequences that come from them.

If you can do that, you will find you are far more at peace with yourself.

It’s not easy. So, how do you do that?

1. Know yourself.

Understand what’s most important to you. These are your core values. Tough decisions often put your values in conflict; understanding yourself will help you be true to yourself. Strip away all the external influences and societal and cultural expectations, and get clarity on your innermost feelings. This doesn’t mean choosing yourself in every decision; it means understanding yourself, which will help you know why and when to choose yourself or choose something else.

2. Know your situation.

Understand the external pressures that are pushing you one way or another. Everyone around you has their own agenda, their own feelings, and their own biases. Only by identifying these with a clear mind can you be intentional in your choices. Will you honor those external pressures, capitulate to them, or resist them? There’s no right answer; the point is to claim your power over the decision instead of handing your power over to everyone else.

3. Think through the risks and rewards.

Do your best to think through how your action will affect others, and how they may react to it. It’s not always easy; other people are not as predictable as our fears and hopes tell us they are. Try to eliminate your fears, biases, limiting beliefs, and magical thinking when evaluating potential outcomes. Sometimes you can’t, but you must try.

I can help.

I work with top executives and middle managers to improve their leadership skills, their workplace culture, and the effectiveness of their teams. I also help individuals identify and achieve their personal goals. Would you like to become more aware, be more effective, be more empowered, and feel fully prepared for your next steps?

Let’s talk.

You can help.

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