Three Kinds of Choices

Three Kinds of Choices

[00:00:00] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Well, hello! This is The Daily Five with Aurooba, that's me, where we reflect on creating our best lives a little bit every day. Here we go!

[00:00:15] Choices are an interesting beast. Making one is a choice, and so is not making one. So, no matter what, you are choosing. Might as well make it your own decision then, instead of one of circumstances or one that someone else makes for you.

[00:00:32] Choices are an interesting beast because it's really easy to fall into one of the extremes. You realize the importance of choices, and so you hem and haw so long you never make one or make one after it ceases to matter as much. Or, you recognize that most choices are alterable, and so you don't think at all and you leap straight into an option without looking.

[00:00:53] A few days ago, I read a thing from James Clear which came at the heels of some podcast I can't remember right now, which was also talking about essentially the same concept in a different way.

[00:01:04] Generally speaking, there are three kinds of choices in life: the hats, the haircuts, and the tattoos. This is how James Clear described them and it really made sense to me.

[00:01:15] Choices like hats are easy. They're reversible decisions with minimal negative impact. If you don't like one, you simply take it off and you try another.

[00:01:24] Choices like haircuts are also reversible, but it takes a little bit longer to do so. The bad haircut will take some time to grow out and you'll feel a little bit silly for some time and have to do odd workarounds to feel presentable in public. However, eventually, the haircut will grow out, you'll get it adjusted to something else, and that'll be that.

[00:01:43] And then there are choices that are like tattoos. Tattoos are nearly irreversible. Once you get them, they permanently change your body. And even if you were to get a tattoo removal procedure done, it would leave a mark. Decisions like that are also sometimes called one way door decisions in business. Once you walk through that door, you can never walk back out of it again. The only way is forward, with whatever hand you are dealt.

[00:02:08] I have two tattoos, by the way. I didn't think about them too long because my own internal reasoning for getting them was extremely clear. One of those tattoos I've now had for over a decade, and I can honestly say there has never been a day in my life that I'd regretted getting it. So I know a little bit about irreversible decisions. There are of course also decisions just like that, which I do maybe regret a little bit. But as I said, onwards and upwards to the best of our ability we go.

[00:02:40] The trouble I think comes most with choices that are like hats and haircuts. I don't know why this is, and this is more of an anecdotal thing, an observation, recently especially, but we really do tend to confuse the two a lot.

[00:02:54] Haircut choices being treated like hats, and hat choices being treated like haircuts. In a very recent episode I said I wanted to approach this coming week with three ideas in mind, or perhaps three intentions, patience, openness, and impact. So far, I've mostly held true to these, although at one point I did lose patience. But you see, these are hat decisions. If I mess up and choose the wrong hat in the moment, the hat labeled impatience, for example, it's okay, I can put it down and grab the patient's hat again.

[00:03:27] Then there are haircut decisions, like, say the path of slabs we had the landscapers put into our yard last summer. I really should have insisted they add another slab. They are very spaced apart and I have very short legs. It's something we can fix, but we have to wait for the snow to melt and it'll cost some money to redo the path if we want to, and until then I take either very mini steps or really wide steps and often look just a tiny little bit silly when I'm walking there.

[00:03:54] I think more things are hat decisions than we realize, and more things are haircut decisions than we realize too. But here's the thing, regardless of the kind of decision it is, They all deserve some forethought, it's just that the amount of forethought needed is different. Put some thought into a ha decision, but if it's easily changeable, don't hem and haw about it so much, you can change it later.

[00:04:17] If it's a haircut decision, think a little more and think a little harder, or perhaps smarter. Make sure if you make the wrong decision, you will be able to live with it for a while. And when you're making a tattoo decision, like say an actual tattoo or getting married or something, think about it hard enough and long enough, and make sure you feel really good about it.

[00:04:38] Not just in the moment, but on a very base level beyond just momentarily fleeting emotions. And then, go do the thing. Make the choice. You know?

[00:04:54] Thanks for listening. Same time tomorrow?