by Dan Waldschmidt

November 19, 2018

Most of the decisions that you make are automatic.

It’s actually pretty rare that you consciously make decisions for yourself.

Even though it seems like it’s all you ever do, deciding is mostly a subconscious activity.

When was the last time you thought about breathing? Probably not ever. Unless you find yourself trapped underwater or maybe just after you’ve run a difficult 5K race.

The rest of the time, you just make the decision to breathe without any conscious thought at all.

But your subconscious decision-making process isn’t just limited to internal bodily functions like breathing. How you react to thousands of seemingly insignificant situations are subconscious decisions that you’ve wired into your personal operating system over time.

You don’t even think about it.

Decisions like avoiding people when you’re in a large group or how you automatically take the side of the person who is being picked on, the way you keep your head down when you’re walking, how you schedule your daily activities when no one is telling you what to do, and the first few thoughts that goes through your head when you are faced with a particular situation.

“YOUR IMMEDIATE AND AUTOMATIC DECISIONS ALMOST ENTIRELY CREATE THE RESULTS THAT YOU EXPERIENCE ON A DAILY BASIS — WHETHER GOOD OR BAD.”


The big scary decisions that you have to make, when you’ve reached the point that automatic decisions will no longer suffice, aren’t as impactful as you make them out to be.

They aren’t as all consuming as you imagine them to be.

It’s the small, subconscious decisions you are making all the time that have the most impact on your life. Which is why you have to make time to upgrade your internal operating system.

You wouldn’t buy a brand new iPhone that had “years old software” on it. It’s a waste of your money. The new hardware doesn’t make the slow and sluggish and mostly outdated software run faster.

It’s the other way around. The old software brings down the experience of buying a brand new phone.

Your decisions work the exact same way.

Don’t be proud of the fact that you haven’t changed the way you think in decades of being alive. There is no honor in holding on to your outdated thinking and unevolved mindset.

Life changes. The people around you change. But if you’re not careful about it, you’ll continue to make subconscious decisions that don’t help you get closer to where you want to be.

Your auto-pilot might be taking you to a destination that is harmful to your goals.

And before you shrug this off as something that you don’t need to do, consider the negative impact of ignoring small upgrades.

“A SINGLE DEGREE OF MISALIGNMENT BETWEEN THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE THE AND THE GOALS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE HAS LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES.”


When flying around the equator, aiming one degree off course will put you almost 500 miles away from your intended target. Or nearly 50 miles off course, when flying from New York to Los Angeles.

Small changes have a significant impact over time.

Which is why it matters that you take time to think about what you don’t think about.

  • Are your automatic responses ensuring that you make steady progress towards where you want to be?
  • Do you find yourself slipping back into harmful behavior when you aren’t consciously thinking about your choices?
  • What do you think about when you don’t know what you should be doing to make progress?

You got this. Take some time to plan and prepare for the success you expect. Be deliberate about what you do when what you do just happens automatically.

Life is too short to hope everything works out.

Make sure that it does.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker, author, and extreme athlete. His consulting firm solves complex marketing and business strategy problems for top companies around the world. Dow Jones calls his Edgy Conversations blog one of the top sales sites on the internet. He is author of Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Outrageous Success.

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