?Life and Business is All About Choices
Only the victim thinks he has no choices. For years I blamed my plight on the economy, my lack of education, my upbringing. We’ve all had times in our lives when we just didn’t want to admit that if we had made a better choice we would have had a better outcome. Now I’ve come to understand and believe that in life, as well as business, it’s all about the choices.
When you make good choices you reap good results. Bad choices may not bring bad results immediately but eventually it catches up with you. We all have the freedom in this country to screw up or excel. So it comes down to this: we all have choices. Whether it is in our personal lives or whether it concerns our business or employment, we all have choices. It’s as simple as that.
So if we have all these choices how do we make good one’s? When you find out let me know. I’ve made my share of bad ones over the years. Let me cite an example. Back in the mid eighties I had saved up a little money. My employer at the time had a 1979 white Cadillac for sale. It was a beauty and I knew if I bought it I would look good driving it. Not one to just jump into things I ran the deal past a buddy of mine that I trusted and he went on a test drive with me. I had the cash to buy it, it was at a bargain price, and I wanted it. My buddy green flagged it so I made the deal.
Well, to make a long story short, it was a diesel. GM in their rush to produce a fuel efficient Caddy converted their gas engine to diesel. This was a big mistake on their part and even bigger mistake on mine. Over the two years I owned it I replaced two injector pumps and a vacuum pump. All three were very pricey making my “”bargain”” a nightmare. There’s nothing like being in the middle of Texas on your way home from vacation with little or nothing in your pocket and have the oil light come on.
The car was stolen in Tulsa a year later while on vacation again. I nearly did cart wheels in the motel parking lot when I realized it was gone. My family and I were inconvenienced but we didn’t miss the car.
Now fast forward to just a few years ago. I again found myself looking to buy a vehicle. I was looking at a bright red four-wheel drive four-door Chevy Colorado pickup. I had bought several cars from the salesman and trusted his advice. He asked me point blank why I wanted the pickup. I told him I’d look good driving it (notice it was the same reasoning I used to buy the Caddy.) He then made me evaluate my true needs and then showed me a RAV4, which I test-drove and then purchased. I still own it five years later and am really happy with it.
My purpose here is not to dis Caddy’s and promote Toyota’s. We all know the troubles Toyota has had lately. What I’m trying to illustrate is that I had choices both times. The first choice was based on faulty thinking and reliance on a friend who wanted to see me happy. Though I thought I used a good system to make the choice it had failed me. Later when I found myself facing the same situation I listened again to someone I trusted but this time he made me stop and think and evaluate my true needs. He could have just as easily sold me the pickup, as I was ready to buy it. The vehicles were priced about the same so his commission would not have changed any. The difference is that I did stop and think and realized that I didn’t need that truck. This past weekend I read in a recent Consumers Report that they didn’t recommend that particular pickup in four-wheel drive due to the high repair rate and cost. By being made to stop and think I made a better choice and averted having another white Cadillac experience.
So as you can see, life is all about choices. We make many choices everyday, some good, and some bad. The trick is to make more good ones than bad ones. Maybe my example can help you make a few more good ones.