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How many choices do you think you make in the course of a normal day? Studies have shown that the average person makes over 35,000 choices!

That’s great news because every one of those choices provides you with an opportunity to make a difference in your life or the life of someone else.

In today’s episode, I discuss how to set yourself up for good choices and how to use your daily decisions to make the world a better place.

Show Highlights Include:

  • The most single important skill you can develop for a healthy and fulfilling life (1:19)
  • The surprising reason that even the choices that seem insignificant have a huge impact on your life (3:25)
  • How “Good Company” makes every area of your life better (4:25)
  • Why the choices you make are directly linked to the hope you have in life (8:37)
  • What the Ice Bucket Challenge can teach you about the power of choices and hope to change the lives of millions (9:52)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. So glad to be with you today. I couldn't wait to discuss this particular topic with you. I've titled our talk today, “Choices”, and I want to kick off with this question: how many choices do you think you make in the course of a day? I'll tell you something, the number just might surprise you.

Then the critical question that I’ve been asking myself lately is this: of the choices we make, how many are good choices? May that be our goal to make sure that the far majority of the choices we make every day are good. [01:01.0]

In a 2018 article titled The Power of Choice, blogger, Chris Loper, wrote:

“I believe the most important skill we can develop is the capacity to make good choices.

“The choices we make about food and exercise influence our physical health. The choices we make about how to respond to life’s adversities affect our psychological well-being. And the choices we make about self-improvement direct the very course of our lives.”

He cites prominent psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who wrote in his book, Motivation and Personality, that each moment presents us with a choice. We can either step forward into growth, or we can step backward into safety.

According to an article written in the Mirror, which is a major paper in the United Kingdom, the average person—are you ready for this?—will make over 700,000 decisions in a lifetime. By the way, the mirror reports that of those over 700,000 decisions, we'll regret about 143,000. [02:12.0]

In an article in Psychology Today, the average person—hold onto your hats—makes about 35,000 choices every single day. That's one decision every two seconds.

Now, I really questioned that and then I went through the day consciously aware of the choices. It started even before I got out of bed. Do I hit the snooze button? Do I not hit the snooze button? That's a choice. Do I sleep in a little longer? Do I get up? Do I make my coffee first or do I start my shower first? And it went on and on and on, and before you know it, hundreds of choices, thousands of choices. [02:56.4]

Now, don't get caught up in the number 35,000. Get caught up in this. We make a lot of choices every single day. I want you to listen closely to what John Maxwell said. I love his leadership approach. He said, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.”

I need to say that again and I want you to think about Maxwell's words for a moment. “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” Just look over your life and realize the truth in that statement. The statement is not only profound, but it also serves as a cautionary reminder that all actions have consequences. Momma was right. Every single action has a consequence. All choices have consequences. Shouldn't our goal then be to make better choices? Good choices. I have discovered over my 64 years on this earth, good choices keep you on the right path. [04:05.4]

Good choices come from our values. How are our values shaped? I believe they're shaped by our beliefs, obviously. They're also shaped in large measure by the voices we hear and the influences that we have in our lives. Good company tends to breed good values. Bad company tends to promote bad behavior.

I had a grandfather that used to say, Son, if you lay with dogs, you'll get up with fleas. Thus, it becomes very important who we listened to in life and who we associate with in life. There's a wonderful scripture that reminds me of this on a daily basis. It's in Psalm 1 where David wrote, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the path of sinners or sit in the seat of scoffers?”

Listen to me very carefully, friend. Be careful where you walk. If you walk with folks that are walking without wisdom, you could actually start believing like them. [05:09.3]

Be careful where you stand. If you're standing with folks who lack good judgment, who lack discernment, you could actually start acting like them. Not just believing like them, but acting like that.

And be careful where you sit, for if you sit too long with somebody without good common sense, without good values, you'll actually start to feel like you belong with them. Your allegiance will lean toward being with them.

Here's the goal. Not only should we be careful where we walk and where we stand, and where we sit, but we ought to make good choices as a habit. A habit. A habit. We ought to make good choices as a habit. What a great habit to have. [06:02.8]

What a great habit to form every day that I am going to make choices, and not just choices that benefit me. Oh, that, no, no, no, no, no, no. I learned from a third-grade dropout, “Son, you want to be great?” he once said. “Yes, Daddy, I do.” “Son, here's my definition of greatness. Uplift people all around you.” Hmm.

How does that inform me with regard to the habit of making good choices? I don't want to make choices that merely benefit me, but I want to make choices that impact those around me, that uplift those around me, that encourage those around me.

Also, let me just say this. Our choices should never be limited to or relegated by the situations in life or the feelings that we might presently hold. Say it again, Rick. Our choices should never be limited to or relegated by situations in life or feelings inside. [07:05.2]

When we choose to uplift, we uplift people regardless of what we have or what we don't have, regardless of the circumstances or the situation. When we make choices and especially choices to uplift others, we're actually offering people hope.

Remember what Helen Keller said, “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” I watched a mother and a father with very little when it came to material things, offer people hope. It started in our family. It extended on the block that we lived on in Northern California. It continued to play out in our community, at our church, at our Little League field, at our schools. I watched parents until the day they died offer people hope. They simply made choices that had other folks in mind. [08:08.1]

Oh, friend, you talk about leaving a legacy. Try making that kind of impact every day, but it requires something you've heard me say many times on these podcasts. Hope requires courage. Hope requires faith. Do you know what I want to talk about today? Hope requires an immediate decisive response.

The reason I want to focus on that third one is this. When we make a choice to do something that benefits other people, and we have the courage and the faith to make an immediate decisive response, I want to tell you the results are seismic and I have a great story that I hope will reinforce this. This story is about Pat Quinn. [08:55.9]

Now, you may not know that name, but when I tell you that he was the co-founder of the ice bucket challenge, you'll probably remember the man. This ice bucket challenge raised money and awareness for ALS. Pat Quinn lost his battle in November 2020 to ALS. He was only 37 years old, but I want to tell you something. He was an absolute inspiration. He was diagnosed seven years before he died, so that would be at age 30, and he faced his diagnosis head on. Guess what he did. He turned a search for a cure into an internet phenomena.

What are you saying to us, Rick? Pat made a choice to activate his hope to do something. To do something. Let me stop right there. Remember I mentioned that hope requires courage? You can't really demonstrate hope unless you have the courage to get over yourself, unless you have the courage to put one foot in front of the other, unless you have the courage to make a change. [10:15.6]

“Courage”—I love what Winston Churchill said—“is a choice.” Think about that. The whole quote was this. Winston Churchill said, “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a choice.” Mr. Quinn had courage, but he also had faith.

I often think about that passage in the Bible, that faith is the substance of things hoped for, and I immediately think of the presupposition that you can't have faith unless first you have hope. Pat Quinn had not only courage, but he had faith. So, what comes next? A choice. That's right. His courage and faith combined, propelled him to take action. [11:02.8]

He could have just said, You know what? This is a fatal disease. I'm just going to count my days, fold up shop, check out early and just try to be as comfortable as I can. He makes a choice. Think about this. The circumstances didn't limit the choice, come on, y'all. The situation didn't limit the choice, come on now. The pain that he was probably in didn't limit the choice. His prognosis didn't limit the choice. Regardless of what he was feeling, that didn't limit the choice.

He made a choice to do something, to activate his hope, and as a result, many of us all over the world participated in those ice bucket challenges. Do you remember those? I mean, you had everyone from the White House to the small house on the neighborhood square. Everybody participated. Famous people, everyday folks, everyone participated, and I loved it. [12:05.2]

Listen to this. After Quinn was diagnosed—now, listen carefully—he could have simply quit. I want to ask you a question. Are you on the brink of quitting right now? Are you on the brink of saying, You know what? What good is it to go on? Are you at that point where you're thinking, My life doesn't matter, it doesn't make a difference? Keep listening.

We have to find the courage and the faith to make an immediate decisive response. Do you know what it will do? It will help people that we may never ever meet. Listen to what Quinn's choice resulted in. Millions of dollars, millions donated to help fund this critical research. It led to the discovery of a new ALS gene and it's leading to significant strides toward potential treatment. [12:57.7]

Before he died, Quinn responded to the news and listen to what he said. There’s a new sense of hope. There's a new sense of fight. There's a new sense of hope and fight in the community that was never known before. Think about what he said. There's a new sense of hope.

I really believe that because of our casual use of the word “hope”, it has been relegated to the basement of human emotion, because we will use it in sentiments such as “I hope it doesn't rain” or “I hope I get a parking spot,” and there's nothing wrong with those sentiments, but it literally has neutered the power out of hope, and so many of us will say hope is just wish fulfillment. It's just a fleeting thought.

I wrote a book titled, Afraid to Hope, and I got some criticism where folks would say, It's a good book, Rick, but hope is not a strategy, and it took a global pandemic for me to realize they're absolutely right. Hope is not a strategy. Hope is more powerful than a strategy. A strategy is a plan. Hope is a belief that somehow something good is going to happen. Now, somehow we're going to get through all this. [14:10.0]

I want you to think about these words for the next 10 seconds and ask yourself, Is this wish fulfillment? You've got Pat Quinn saying there's a new sense of hope, a sense of fight that was never there before. Friend, that doesn't sound like wish fulfillment to me. And here's the amazing part. It all began with a choice that Pat Quinn made. One of those thousands of choices that he made on a particular day has impacted the world, has impacted me unethical research forever.

Here's the conclusion to myself and I want you to listen to this. Let us choose wisely this day because we never know what one choice might produce, good or bad. So, why not choose wisely, so that our choice will produce good fruit? [15:14.4]

Let us choose wisely regardless of how we feel, even regardless of what we think, even regardless of the circumstances, the situations, or in Pat Quinn's case, the diagnosis. Friend, the words of John Maxwell, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” Oh, friend, what a great reminder, what an uplifting and encouraging reminder.

I walk away from this podcast on this day with this thought: of the thousands of choices I make today, I have a goal of making every one of them a good choice, not just for me—that's too small—but a choice that can impact, uplift, encourage, equip, and empower those around me. [16:17.3]

Now, that, my friend, is a great day and it starts with a simple choice. Think about that for a couple days, would you?

Oh, friend, what a thrill to be with you. What a joy to be with you. I hope that you are as encouraged as I am today, and until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking you the most important question I can ask today. How you livin’?

Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.

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