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Personal Life Coach Letter #7" from Shad Helmstetter; Daily Choices that Lead to Greatness!
This week I’m sending you a self-quiz on one of the most
important ideas you could ever practice. It has to do with
the choices you make every day. Not the big choices – the
Several years ago I wrote an entire book about those
choices. The message of the book was about how we are
taught to think about the big choices we
make, but we often forget to think through the little
choices – the ones that actually govern our lives.
Most of us spend plenty of time talking about, and thinking
through, the big choices – like marriage, our career,
having a family, or buying a home. That’s good.
But how much time, Eugene, do you spend thinking about the
smaller choices you make every day that end up determining
almost everything else about you? This isn’t the quiz, but
you can get the idea from just a few examples of the kind
of small choices you make on any given day :
What time do you get up in the morning?
What time do you go to bed at night?
How do you spend your spare time?
What do you do when an argument starts?
What friends do you spend time with?
What do you eat?
What do you watch on television, when you watch it?
What do you read?
How often do you put gas in the car?
When do you pay bills?
How do you talk to the people around you?
What kind of clothes do you wear?
What do you do around the house?
Do you smoke, or have any other bad habit you don’t want to
What do you shop for?
How much time do you spend on the computer?
Who do you talk to when you have a problem?
How often do you smile?
(etc., etc., etc.)
There are hundreds more small choices, like those, that you
and I make every day. None of those choices may seem too
important at the time we make them. But are they?
To find out, take a minute, and go back over the same list
you just read. But this time, after you’ve read each
question, ask yourself a second question. Ask yourself
WHY? (What time do you go to bed at night? WHY? How do
you spend your spare time? WHY? How often do you smile?
Suddenly, when you ask yourself, “Why?” you make those
choices, even the smallest choices you make each day start
to become more important. They start to define the
underlying basis of why your life is going the way it
is. And it soon becomes obvious that your smallest
choices – the ones you usually think about least – are some
of the most important choices you can ever make!
(In Part 2 of this letter, I’ll give you an incredible idea
on how to turn your small choices into a major advantage
Now, Eugene, here’s your quiz:
1. How often do you stop and think about each and
everything you do – every choice you make – as though it’s
important to you?
2. How often do you ask yourself, “WHY am I making this
3. Who, or what, do you believe is in control of most of
the choices you make?
4. How much control do you think YOU have over the choices
5. Do you ever put off doing some “small” thing
differently, because you don’t want to take the time, right
now, to change it?
6. Have you ever written a list of the choices you make
each day, and thought about – and acted on – what you would
like to do about each of them?
Your assignment this week, Eugene, is to write the list.
Write down any and every choice you can think of, that you
make each day, or often.
(I would recommend that throughout this week you keep a
note pad, and while you’re thinking about each of the small
choices you make, write down every choice that comes up.
The truth is, most of these choices are made for us, by
habit, and we don’t even remember them later.)
After you’ve written your list of the choices you make each
day, go back over it, and after every choice you’ve written
down, ask yourself the question: “WHY did I make this
choice?” Don’t just pass over any of them. Give yourself
real, well-thought-through answers.
When you write down that simple list of the choices you
make every day, and for each of them, you answer the
question, “Why?,” you’ll have a very good idea of why your
life is going the way it is.
I believe in you, Eugene, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Part 2 – Ideas and Motivation you can use:
In teaching goal-setting I’ve often said that it is the
small goals that count the most. That’s also true of most
of the smallest choices you make. The smallest choices
We’ve been told for years that it’s the little things we do
that count the most. But most of us weren’t taught
specific techniques on how to make those small steps
count. (We were just supposed to know.)
Here’s a technique that has helped me more than I can
imagine. Using this technique got me to keep my eye on the
bigger picture, but kept my feet grounded, and walking
forward. I could focus on my “goals,” but I learned to
care about the smallest choices I was making. Those small
choices turned out to be the real, everyday stepping stones
that paved the road to any success I wanted to create.
It works like this:
Every day, with every small choice you make, no matter how
small or unimportant you think the choice may be,
(remember, this can be about anything), ask yourself these
1. Is this a choice?
2. Is this choice important to me in ANY way?
3. What choice will I make?
4. Why will I make this choice? (Don’t forget to ask
yourself WHY you’re making the choice.)
I hope you’ll trust me on how well this works. Practice it
yourself until it becomes an almost unconscious habit!
Learning to ask yourself those four questions, every time
you make a choice about ANYTHING, could become one of the
most important personal success tools you will ever
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