The Little Decisions Matter

It’s amazing what a big impact the seemingly small choices we make have on our lives. I’m not just talking about whether we develop a daily latte habit either, although that can certainly impact our pocketbook.

What I’m really talking about are the little decisions regarding what we choose to do with our time.

I was reminded of this when someone asked to borrow a book from me recently. They borrowed The Elements of Style, a guide on grammar and writing style. I’ve had that book on my shelf for many years, but I didn’t realize quite how long I’d had it until I flipped through it before lending it out.

You see, my copy was published in 1979. It was probably 1981 or 82 when I bought it for a writing class back in junior high school. I remember having a limited number of electives, and struggling to decide between writing, art, and computer programming. I was very interested in all three of those subjects, but could only choose two.

In the end, I decided against computer programming because I was a girl in junior high, and the only people who ever took that class to my knowledge were geeky boys. I wasn’t brave enough to join the class, although I really did want to. Instead, I used some money I’d been saving to buy a black & white TV, and my parents got me a tiny Tandy computer (that used a cassette tape to store data) to go with it. I began experimenting with BASIC on my own.

Today, I’m a writer, an artist, and a person who does things with computers. I don’t program though. Sometimes I wonder about what my career would have been like if I’d chosen to take the programming class instead. That would have certainly been the right time to get into it, and you never hear about struggling computer programmers, or having to break into the computer programming world the way you do the art and writing world.

Of course, I know that I can’t do everything — at least not all at once. But seemingly small choices like what classes to take, what hobbies we’re involved with, how we choose to spend our free time, etc. can have a big impact on our lives.

We can make decisions that will further our interests (and probably further our financial health to boot.) Or, we can choose to base our decisions on outside factors — like whether people will laugh at us if we take a class, or whether a certain TV show is on, or whether we’re tired — and not really develop to our full potential.

The little decisions really do matter.


  • Maybe one little decision hasn’t effected my life that much (I can’t seem to trace any line back to one thing), but a bunch of little decisions have decided my whole life!

  • Great article!It is amazing how the small things can matter so much sometimes, yet we never seem to know this until the moment has passed. Taking that computer class could have turned you off from computer programming completely, you never know. You just have to make one decision at a time and hope for the best.