Choice and Control

a crow sits on a signpost and appears to be looking in the wrong direction

23 Mar Choice and Control

Welcome back and thank you for returning.


We are hoping that these short pieces will give you something that you might not be getting elsewhere: a space to take a step back, breathe and reflect. This may sound like a luxury. If so, it is a luxury you deserve and a luxury that will benefit everyone.

Do it now, breathe for a minute or two and notice your breathing. Notice what you notice about your breathing. Above all, keep breathing.

Confronted by COVID-19

Our first article in possibility suggested that we, as a society and as individuals, suddenly found ourselves confronted with the notion that we do not have as much control over our lives as we might have thought because of COVID-19.

The desire to have at choice and control is part of being human. Everyone in Health and Social Care knows its importance but how often do you reflect on choice and control in your own life? For many of us the answer will be that we have been blissfully unaware of the notion until we felt we were losing something or, worse, that choice and control were being taken away from us.


We want to reassure you. While we have all come to know and understand that change is one of the constants in life, this most recent crisis (COVID-19) has brought us face to face with the unexpected  and discomfiting reality of losing some of the control we had assumed to be our own. So, we want to reassure you that even when you don’t have control, you always have choice. Of course, understanding this comes with its own challenges.

When you know that every decision is a choice and that every time you move, speak, respond, request or demand, it is the result of a decision you have made, you begin to get in touch with the level of responsibility your situation demands.

Ask yourself

If we were to ask you to take 3 minutes at the end of a shift, or day’s work, to ask yourself,
“When did I make a decision without being conscious of doing so?
What did I decide?
What different decision could I have considered?
How would the outcome have been different”

You would begin to develop your awareness of your own biases, presuppositions and tendencies. Not that there was anything wrong with your choices, but that you are broadening your options for future decisions.

More at ease

We cannot control our circumstances but we do have control of our own responses. The reason we suggest spending few minutes each day reflecting on your choices is that it is a way of becoming more at ease with your own decison making. The good news is that this is not something you need to learn. All you do is practise.


This is a form of leadership that is available to us all. Most people will say that want clear, calm, decisive decision making from their leaders. Practise is the best way to achieve it.

Sali Mustafic
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