Decisions or Choices?

If you or I are given the opportunity to choose between different options, do we make a choice or a decision?
And what are the consequences of choosing or deciding?
Are they the same, or are they different?
And, if we make a choice, do we then need to make a decision to act upon it?
Or if we make a decision, do we then need to choose to act upon it?
Neither of the words imply action, that’s what comes later.
Action is only implied in the secondary sense that without it the decision or choice is pointless.
‘Three frogs siting on a lily pad – one decides to jump off’ is how the classic example goes.
Then the questioner asks either –
‘How many frogs are left?’, or
‘How many frogs are there sitting on the pad?’
Seemingly the same question, but they are not because there’s some ‘prestivoxitation’ involved here. (Thanks to Peter Thomson for the word).
By using the word ‘left’ in the first question the subject is guided to the answer ‘two’ because it has been implied that the frog who decided to jump off has done so.
The correct answer is ‘three’ but even that is subtly guided to by the form of the second question.
Of course, you could follow the same line of questioning with ‘chooses’ instead of ‘decides’.
In the dictionaries (usually) choices are made as a result of subsidiary decisions; and sometimes decisions don’t seem to involve choice.
Decisions are described as being more fact based – ‘you can’t make a decision before knowing all the facts’ – but you can it seems, make a choice without that pre-requirement.
In voting, you and I are always asked to ‘choose’ between candidates or options, often as a precursor to someone else identifying and laying out the ‘facts’ before a decision can be made.
It seems also that people expect that decisions, once made, are adhered to. Often regardless of any ‘new information’ or discovery that the ‘facts’ were wrong.
With choices you and I are more likely to be permitted to ‘change our minds’ and make a different choice.
But now, unlike the dictionary definitions, the decisions being made are guided as a result of choices rather than the choices being made on the basis of decisions resulting from factual discovery.
The thing is that when we allow the decision-making process to be guided by an initial choice it breaks down because very often vital information is excluded. We have only chosen part of the story to read.
You and I may choose to leave the pub we’re in and go somewhere else but have no idea what we’ll discover when we get there – the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ effect.
This choice may even be guided by a decision that there are things about the first pub that we don’t like so we choose to leave to go somewhere we know nothing about or by memories of what it was like several years ago when we were last there.
That’s of course if we do in fact take the action and do whatever we chose or decided.
In the sphere of personal growth and development there is a lot of discussion about decisions and choices.
There is usually a subtle distinction.
When you or I make decisions, we are expected to stick to them and implement them, some would say immediately.
Choices are less rigid and less immediate, but, ‘your life is a result of the choices that you make’.
If we make a choice, it’s recorded in our subconscious and whether we implement it r not that choice is ‘still there’ right or wrong, good or bad, however we wish to look at it.
So which is more important, choices, or decisions, and which ‘comes first’?
The truth is it doesn’t matter.
What matters, what really affects our lives is what we do, what action we take.
You and I can do one of three things
• We can take action, immediate or delayed implementing the choice or decision
• We can conduct further research before we implement and potentially change or amend the choice or decision
• We can revoke the choice or decision and start again where we were before
This of course is a further choice and we have to decide which option to take
And so on.
But for our own peace of mind and our own self-belief and self-confidence you and I must keep these under our own control.
Just because we once made a choice or decision which may well have been based on inadequate information, we should not be expected by anyone else to stick to it.
There is no dishonour in taking either of the second two options above.
It is after all our decision or choice; it doesn’t belong to someone else to be used as some form of ‘currency’.
We must not become beholden to someone else for ever for making an ill-informed choice in the past.
It’s our prerogative, yours or mine, to change our minds
Including when that ‘someone else’ is our own ‘self’ nagging us to stick by what we decided for fear of appearing weak in some way.
We should never be ‘afraid’ to ‘change or minds’.