Living Gently: Decision vs. Choice

There are some words that are separated by only a thin line of distinction. Such is the case when it comes to “decision” and “choice.” A decision is to make up one’s mind. A choice is a right or opportunity to choose. Roy Disney once said, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are,” while Albert Camus said, “Life is the sum of all your choices.” So, if we marry these two definitions and thoughts together, do our decisions, which are based on values, define our life’s choices? One could argue that it’s a matter of “tomato tomahto, potato, potahto.” But I disagree.

For instance, as parents, we may give our child three choices: “Would you rather have an apple, a banana, or a piece of cheese for a snack?” Three delicious options may be laid out before them, but you may turn your back for a moment to find your child elbow-deep in the cookie jar! You gave them three choices, but they made an entirely different decision.

See where I’m going here? You don’t have to be five years old to have this “decision versus choice” conundrum.

Decisions don’t necessarily imply a list of choices. In fact, a decision may be made that results in the presentation of choices. For instance, if you decide to move to another state, your choice of jobs and residency are based out of the decision you’ve made to relocate. Your decision to vote in this year’s election may come from the list of choices presented to you (though if you choose not to vote, I’m a firm believer in the adage, “you’ve lost your right to complain,” but I digress…).

A choice ultimately results in a decision, but it may be the result of a fork in the road. Do we go left or right? Take the road less traveled? Or do we merely stand there, staring at our options, and by our inability to choose, make the choice of indecision?

Let’s say you meet someone new. A person’s body language may result in a decision as to whether or not you like them. You may decide not to pursue a relationship with that person, or you may choose to wait and get to know them better before making a judgment call.

Decisions and choices surround us daily. Some are as insignificant as coffee versus tea (ALWAYS coffee), what to make for dinner, or which movie to watch on a Friday night. Some are more significant… where do we go on our summer vacation? Should we buy now or wait for the sale? Should we have our party this weekend or next?

Then, of course, there are the decisions that are truly monumental, and possibly life changing. Using myself as an example, decisions and choice have played pivotal roles in my life. First, when I decided to leave corporate America, my decision resulted in a series of choices that ultimately brought me to Forsyth Magazines. And a couple of years later, my decision to step outside my comfort zone and go on a dating website resulted in meeting my husband.  

Choose wisely when making your decisions.