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Using Our Voices To Make Choices

· Communication

On two recent business trips, I encountered some experiences many of us can relate to. On the first one, I was boarding a flight, welcomed by loud rock music. In my experience, the norm seems to be classical or soft jazz; basically background music. It wasn’t so much that the music selected was not my personal preference but that the cabin crew was playing the music so loudly. I chose to do nothing.

On another flight that was transcontinental, an in-flight movie was being shown.  Being that it was a daytime flight, an announcement was made that those who were seated by the windows should kindly pull the shades for the comfort of those who were going to view the film.  The gentleman sitting by the window in my aisle seemed to be the only passenger in my area who wasn’t obliging.  I chose to do something. 

Politely, I asked him if he would mind adjusting his window shade, he did so halfway, thus eliminating some of the glare from the midday sun.

In every situation we face, there are choices to be made and not making a choice relating to our own preference is an example of toleration. Whether it’s with a co-worker with whom we must share a workspace, resources or a team project, or sharing domestic duties with our significant other or an occurrence in a more public space like an airplane, we are faced with making choices constantly. In working with many of my clients, they often feel that they don’t have choices to make and that they must accept everything as it’s presented. In our work, I attempt to present all of the options from an external perspective allowing them to see what choices there are to make and what consequences each choice has tied to it. Not all choices are easy when one tries to express their own need but the reward for not tolerating is often worth the effort.