The power of choice – be a decision maker

Choices we make, or fail to make, define us both as individuals and as society. Choice is not a philosophy but a reality. We are faced with unavoidable decisions every day. Some are as simple as deciding what to eat or what to wear.

Decision Making – BOSASA Blog	These are easy choices. Other choices are defined as “hard choices” such as “Should I pursue this career?”, “Should I marry this person?” or “Where should I live?” These choices can be life altering, and often agonisingly difficult.

In this week’s blog we are going to focus on the power of choices. Making a decision between various choices offered to you, is not as simple as guessing a right answer. It is a process that involves weighing up the outcomes and it should be a process that is long-term orientated and not propelled by instant gratification – Many incorrect choices are taken due to our very nature of instant gratification. As a team leader, you should know that the choices in life and the decisions you make, do not only impact your daily life but the lives of your team members. Your decisions are building blocks for where your team will be in years to come. If you make decisions based on wrong motives or incorrect information, you are not creating a strong foundation.

We often hear people say “If only I knew the future” then the choices would be easy. But we do not know the future and therefore we have to be more careful, thoughtful and wise when we weigh up various choices. In the space of making hard choices we exercise creative power to make ourselves who we are. In the end, our choices should be supported by reasons created by us, not for us. We are to be the authors of our own lives.

When we understand “hard choices” it uncovers a hidden power each one of us possesses. We do have the power within us to choose correctly in order to determine positive outcomes.

“We start life with many big dreams of things we want to accomplish, create, build and experience. But if we ask anyone past the age of 40 what happened to all the dreams they had, they will most likely answer: “Life”. This is true, life has a tendency to just happen. But it happens because we make choices. The life you create and design for yourself is going to accumulated from the choices you make over time. Sure, there are unexpected things that can derail dreams. But we can control where we put our focus and choose to put one dream ahead of another. Those are all choices we get to make individually. Bill Gates knew that to meet his dreams and see his most important work achieved he would need to take a different route than most people. To do that, he put some other dreams on the back burner. Ask yourself: are the choices I am making today truly supporting the dream I have for tomorrow?”

Not all people have the ability to be decisive and accountable.


Research has shown that people that do not have the ability to make choices are called drifters. They avoid making hard choices, they often allow the world to dictate, they are motivated by mechanisms of either reward or punishment, and they are fearful and would rather take the easiness of an option than “the road less travelled”.


As leaders, we are called to be decision makers. There will always be the “for” and “against” argument for the choices we have to make. You have to take a long-term view of the alternatives and see which option will bring you to the desired outcome and the fulfilment of your individual dream.

Choices can be problematic. They are filled with risk and the “what if?” factor. But what should drive you in making choices should be your inherent values. Your world of “values” is difficult to quantify. But if you know the intangible value of certain factors in your life; you will be empowered to make better decisions. Many choices money cannot buy and they are imperative to a happy future. Therefore in making choices, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. What motivates me?
  2. Am I afraid to make a decision?
  3. Am I taking the “safest” option?
  4. Have I thought this through?
  5. Am I doing the acceptable thing or am I doing the right thing?

Choices have to be knowledge based and value driven. We live in times with a lot of information on the Internet, terabytes of data and knowledge about the world around us. To stand out in our society as a leader of significance, choices and decision-making will be one of the greatest responsibilities you undertake. You need to keep yourself informed and knowledgeable.

A few points on choices:

  1. Choices are always linked to change.
  2. Choices have pro’s and con’s.
  3. Choices have an impact on your life.
  4. Choices require a preparedness to be accountable and responsible.
  5. Choices are part of life!

Samuel Johnson said, “When making your choice in life, do not forget to live.”

“Re-think what kind of society you want to live in. Imagine your future. This will propel you to make different choices today.” Gavin Watson

Choices give us the opportunity to celebrate ourselves. If you want to be a leader of destiny and significance, you need to have a long-term vision and not instant gratification as your motive. You need to make the right choices, even if they require sacrifice. Life is not merely a sprint, making choices for immediate enjoyment, but life is a marathon, preparing you adequately and making the right choices for the right reasons. When you have this attitude, life happens and you have the ability to live it.

Gavin Watson

Gavin Watson

Gavin Watson is the founder and Group Chief Executive Officer of the BOSASA Group of Companies. Watson has successfully navigated all aspects of BOSASA since inception and continues to ensure deliverables of excellence. He established a client-focused, system driven Group that operates on Word Class standards. Gavin Watson is known for his historical contribution to the transformation of South Africa at great risk to himself and his family during the Apartheid years, leading to a new democratic dispensation. Affectingly known at “Nkokheli” which means “leader, Gavin Watson is a powerful motivator, an exceptional entrepreneur and a force for positive change in South Africa.
Gavin Watson

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