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What's the Difference Between a Preference and a Decision?

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Spoiler alert, this is not a joke!

While doing my morning reading I was struck by a sentence which considered the change that referred to the contrast between understanding our preferences, or what we want and making a decision that we will go after what we want.

For example, you might really want to exercise more, provide a better service in your organisation, overcome your anxieties, or perform better in your sport, or life. That's a good start but until you truly decide that this will be your future reality it won't happen.

The difference between thinking about what you want and deciding that you are going to achieve what you want is a subtle yet vital difference in perspective. It's much more fruitful to choose thoughts of commitment over wishful thinking. One view lets you remain passive and the other stokes your motivational fire.

No harm can come to you if you take your preferences, your wants, and your goals, and commit to thinking in ways that are conducive to achieving them. The trick is to hold the preference and the commitment in one lovely partnership. Committed thinking alone comes with the hazard of self-pressurising because you forget you started with preference and not an absolute demand.

For example, committed thinking done badly sounds like "I have to overcome my anxiety" or "I should exercise more" or "I can't stand the results of my performance".

Alternatively, committed thinking done well sounds like "I can overcome my anxiety, what can work for me to achieve this?" or " I am going to exercise more, let me see when and what I will do to achieve this and how it works out when I try" or " The results of my performance aren't what I have decided I want them to be, are there any processes that I can put in place to enhance my results?"

You are one decision away from getting what you want. You sound so close! but we don't measure our progress in decisions. Maybe we should because when we make a true decision we are cutting ties with all other courses of action and committing to the pathway of our decision. When you do this and continue to do it you are guaranteed to reach your destination.


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