Q. Someone quoted you as saying, "life is a choice." Give me a break! Life is not a choice!

A. From my brain’s perspective that is exactly what life is, a choice. As Donald Sloat said, Just being on this planet involved choice. Not necessarily ours—but someone’s! Because of those choices I have the opportunity to write these words and you to read them. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word choice means the power and act of selecting, something we do continually on our life journey. Avoid thinking of this concept only in terms of weighty decisions. Life is really little more than a continuum of many tiny events, miniscule decisions, and small choices; the consequences or outcomes we experience result from their cumulative effect.

A seminar participant told me recently, “I’m afraid I’ll make the wrong choice, so I just won’t make one.” My response was: “You just did.” Ivan Bloch explained it this way: In not making the decision, you’ve made one. As time passes, we slowly shape ourselves in the direction of our choices. In brain-function language that means you usually move toward the freedom of being who you are innately or toward adapting to fit within the myriad expectations layered upon you.

Genuine maturity likely involves the practice of making each choice with an awareness of the potential long-term result of your decision. For most individuals, that’s a learned process. If you didn’t develop that skill in childhood you can reparent yourself. It takes practice so the more choices you give yourself the better. Create opportunities to choose. Even if you’re buying a package of gum, look at the possible options and consciously select one. Outline the pros and cons that influenced your decision because you always give up something to get something. Go through this process at every opportunity and you’ll soon find yourself gaining decision-making skills.