How to Make Powerfully Effective Wise Choices in Life

Updated on November 12, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Over 35 years running a business has given Glenn Stok strategic management skills in organization, planning, logic, and policy development.


How often do you want to make a plan to resolve an issue in your life, but don't know how to begin? Or worse, you find it too difficult to carry out the plan and you're waiting for someone else to guide you?

It's important to put some due diligence into the decision process. This can lead to a powerful life-changing goal that leads to a favorable future.

Three Steps to Life-Changing Decisions

You need to make a resolution to achieve your goal. Here is my three-step process:

  1. First of all, give some thought to what you want to do.
  2. Based on your answer, think about what you can do—things that you know you are capable of doing.
  3. Finally, ask yourself, "What's the point?" Does it have value to you? What are the long-term benefits? Are you overlooking something? Are you waiting for others to make decisions?

What’s The Point?

I'll elaborate in this one first.

While contemplating every step along the way, always stop and ask yourself, "What's the point?"

If you can't answer that question with an honest and realistically meaningful conclusion, then you might want to consider an alternative. Or you might just suddenly realize you'd be wasting your time.

We go through life constantly making decisions, choosing one thing or another. Whatever we choose, we are eliminating all other possibilities—and yet some of those options may have been better. However, we sometimes make hasty decisions because of limited time and attention to detail.

Always try to consider if you are doing something meaningful that serves the purpose you set out to accomplish. Minor irritations may cause you to reevaluate, but the goal must never be forgotten.

What's Your Plan For That?

No matter where you are in life, you can change course. Remember that while you are involved in any endeavor that you chose to do, you are losing out on everything else that you could have been doing at the same moment.

Once you make a decision to do something, or to get something done, you need to develop a plan. Think of what’s required to get started and the steps you need to take to move along to completion.

Write these steps down in the order that they need to be done. This list will provide a visual representation, which makes it much easier to plot the required tasks.

Once you have the design of your plan, get started and check off each step as you complete them. This works for most any aspect of life.

The Importance of Considering Value

All the choices we made throughout life have had value. There's a reason why we chose the friends we have, the job we perform, the person we married (or didn't marry).

All these choices had been considered wisely. We didn't just randomly go through life. The choices may not have been obvious at the time. Nevertheless, we do things for a reason, and that reason is for the sake of value.

Even if it was done subconsciously, our minds are made up for one reason or another for survival. Although we may make drastic mistakes in our judgment from time to time, the main purpose of our choices is to improve our position in life in relation to our desires.

Desire! I threw that at you, didn’t I? You didn’t see that coming. What it means is that just because some decisions we made in the past might seem to have been mistakes, they may very well be exactly what we wanted at the time.

All you have to do at this stage is to determine if they had value to you. If not, consider making a change. Analyze your options and consider making a life changing alternate decision.

Few things in life are so strict that we can’t change it. Contracts, commitments, and caring for others—those are things that we need to abide by. Sometimes we just need to stick to it. Hopefully those decisions had value.

The Long Term Effect of Every Choice

Consider choice of friends, for example. We spend days, years, maybe a lifetime with certain people we have accepted into our lives.

If we think about it, tracing back to whom we met from whom—a friend of a friend whom now we became friends with. If we trace all the way back, we realize that every decision had a turning point where we might have met some other person instead. Then from that person we would have met others, different people from those we know now.

We would have had a completely different life at this juncture, knowing completely different people.

You may not have been aware of it, but every person you know, every one you have been in contact with, has had an affect on your life. One friend may have introduced you to a new venture that you followed. Another may have made a comment that caused you to change your direction in life. You might have had a totally different life than you have now. Maybe better, maybe worse, maybe just something different.

Now I'm just using friends as an example. The same analysis can be applied to choice of profession. Do the thought process yourself on that one. Track back in your mind about career choices you’ve made, and what choices you put aside. Then consider what alternative life you might have had.

Play it through as if you were writing a screenplay. See what alternate life you come up with.

For example, working in a different company or choosing a different profession might have caused you to relocate. Your whole life might be different, having lived in a different town, state, or country—knowing different people and making different friends.

The conclusion you imagine might upset you. It might be a little overwhelming. You might suddenly realize you made the wrong choices.

Nothing can be done about that now, but getting in touch with this vision of how life carries out can help you apply the same process to decision-making going forward. It can have long-term benefits.

Overcoming Adversity by Considering Your Options

Life isn’t always a bed of roses. We can experience catastrophes and misfortunes. Tragedy can strike when we least expect it. It’s not always easy to overcome adversity in life, and sometimes it’s impossible.

However, the thing to do is try to analyze the options that we have available. When we become aware of the options we have, it’s easier to develop resilience to adversity and to deal with the trials and tribulations we encounter.

When you find yourself in the worst of times, and you know you need to find a way to pull though for survival, remember to stop and think of the options you may be overlooking. Put a plan together that will get you to a better place. Visualizing the outcome will also help construct a plan of attack.

Consider All the Data

As a computer programmer, I had studied logic in college. I find the practice of thinking logically to be a straightforward process. It's simple, unambiguous, and exact. Computers use logic to arrive at decisions, considering all available data.

So why do computers fail sometimes? We blame it on human error. Programmers wrote the code wrong. They didn't consider an important side-effect of a particular occurrence. They left it out of the code.

That’s exactly the same mistake we make in life! We make decisions without considering all the data.

When confronted with an important decision, try to logically analyze the available options to arrive at the best outcome.


Procrastination by Others Can Slow You Down

If an important decision is pending and your future depends on it, never wait for others to decide what to do.

Speaking for myself, I don't wait for people if they procrastinate. Life is too short. I have to think about my own plans and if others can't respond in time then I don't waste any energy on it.

That's something I learned late in life. It frees up a lot of time, gets thing done quicker, and it’s less complicated when you take control.


When we make decisions, we care about the outcome. We have desires, goals and compassion. We try to lead a better life, and we consider the choices we make even if we don't realize the missed opportunities being ignored.

As logical as we can be, we can't always consider all the possibilities. However, when confronted with confusing decisions, we have the ability to think logically to see things clearly and make the right choice.

Life is full of surprises. Some are good, and some not so good. Nevertheless, even bad decisions can be turned around if changed in time. Bad decisions provide positive lessons in life.

As long as you follow your dreams and focus on the value and long-term benefits of your decisions, you’ll be on the way to changing your life.

© 2017 Glenn Stok


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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 9 months ago from Long Island, NY

      FlourishAnyway - That's a great idea to teach young people to study more than one field in college. We never know where our future interests lie until we are introduced to new things.

      When I started out I majored in mechanical engineering because as a kid I liked to build things. But then I learned about computers, changed my major, and never looked back.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      I'm big into what I call "option development" because like you said it allows you to be more adaptable, employable and resilient. I encourage the young people I interact with to try to double major in college in very different fields, if possible (e.g., Engineering and Psychology). It widens opportunities.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 9 months ago from Long Island, NY

      MsDora - I'm glad you found that meaningful. I know it works for me. Every mistake we make is a lesson for improvement.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 9 months ago from The Caribbean

      Glenn, your article is very insightful. Thanks for reminding us so powerfully that "Nothing can be done about that now, but getting in touch with this vision of how life carries out can help you . . ." Very meaningful to me.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 9 months ago from Long Island, NY

      Jodah - You got the point very well, and you brought up another useful tip that I use but didn't mention. When I have a serious problem that needs to be resolved, I sit down in a comfortable chair in my living room (I call it my thinking chair) and I contemplate the situation and figure out a solution. It funny, but I always seem to get good ideas in that chair. I'm sure it's just because I gave the issue my attention and thought it through.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Very good advice here Glenn, and things we all need to take seriously. You don't always sit down and consider how different decisions, friends, acquaintances and situations could have changed your life so dramatically.

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