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Not taking action is a choice

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Not taking action is a choice

Scott Miker

We all have choices.  Our days are filled with millions and millions of little choices that we make.  But most choices are made automatically with little conscious thought.   

Some choices are obvious.  When we sit down at a restaurant, we consciously choose the food we want to eat.  When we decide to go for an advanced degree we choose to go back to college.  When we get a call from a friend asking to go out for drinks we consciously choose to go or not go. 

But within these are still many decisions being made behind the scenes.  The human mind is a fascinating thing.  It is complex and processes information at an incredible rate.

But one issue that comes up is that we don’t always see our choice in a situation.  We assume it happened to us or regardless of our input.   

Sometimes it feels easier to not choose anything.  We either ignore a choice we have and assume we only have one option or we don’t even realize that we have a choice. 

In Work the System by Sam Carpenter, the author says, “In any context an omission is something left out, something not done.  Here’s the rub: It is a choice not to do something that should be done.  So laziness and procrastination are choices.  Not taking action is a choice!  No matter what we do or don’t do, we are always making choices.”

But most people who are lazy or procrastinate see their actions as their only choice.  They don’t see the myriad of options that they have.  They don’t see that they design their life through decisions made over and over again.

This is why habit can be tricky.  If we make the same decision over and over it starts to become habit.  If the choice is of the path of least resistance or one of instant gratification, it is easier to make that choice again and again and form a new bad habit.

While this can feel incriminating to some, others will hear this and feel empowerment.  Seeing that we have a choice, even if we have been making a bad choice, means that we have control over our life.  Having control means that we can change directions and choose a different path, but it is up to us.

If we consciously decide to start redesigning the systems and habits in our life, we can start to take control of our life.  We will naturally start to realize the power we have over our actions and thoughts. 

This will give rise to the clarity around our choices.  We can start to see how we play a role in the systems in our life.  Sometimes they impact us and sometimes we impact them but it all happens through our own choosing. 

So learn to take action.  Learn that if you want something in life, then you have to design your life accordingly.  You can do this through the systems and habits approach to improvement.  It will give you empowerment, control and the ability to move in the direction that you choose.