The internet tells us we make 35,000 decisions a day, and over 200 about food alone. I haven’t verified these figures and I don’t plan to, but I’m confident it’s a big number.

Many of these decisions are made on auto-pilot. We follow our habits, instincts, and the social norms we live within. Sometimes we let our emotions make the decisions. Other times our analytical brain steps in. In rare instances, we follow our heart. Too often, we follow others’ advice.

Most of them are trivial. What color belt I wear today likely won’t have a huge impact on my life. But some of our decisions do matter. What job we take. How we spend our free time. Who we surround ourselves with. What we eat each day. These types of decisions are vital. They shape our day. They shape our life.

Who’s making those decisions?

I like to believe I am, but it’s not that simple. My decisions about food are being made by researchers, doctors, habits, and my taste buds. My response in an argument is way too heavily influenced by ego and emotions. My career choice is driven by my heart, head, and the opinions of a select few.

My point is simple. As adults, we make most our decisions AND each time we are influenced by a surprising number of external factors. When we get the sense a decision matters, it’s worth our time to think about who/what is making this decision? Is our ego behind our defensive response? Is someone else’s advice driving our career? Are we ignoring our gut?

Take note of who’s behind your decisions. Pay attention to the patterns. You’ll learn who/what to trust for different situations and begin seeing the red flags to avoid down the road. The goal is not to be perfect, but to stack the deck in your favor and be intentional with the decisions that matter. Because in the end you’re the one who will suffer the consequences and enjoy the spoils.