We live in an information-rich, time-poor world. As a result, it is easy for us to behave like rats. In other words, we see an opportunity (stimulus) and we jump at it (response). The great thing about being human (aside from our ability to use a TV remote) is that we can exercise choice. So unlike one of B.F. Skinner’s rats, our behavioral equation is Stimulus > Choice > Response.

The challenge is that sometimes we move so fast we whoosh right past our choice and feel like we are simply reacting to the multitude of stimuli–demanding customers, boss’ deadlines, screaming kids, requests to volunteer, Web page pop up ads, Linked In status changes, “you’ve got mail” notifications, GPS voices telling us to “veer right”, text tones, to name just a few. All of these can have the effect of making us feel like reacting rats vs. thoughtful humans.

So, to help you intentionally choose from the plethora of inbound opportunities and requests, here are four questions to ask before you respond:

  1. Does it interest me?
  2. Do I have the resources (skills, money, contacts, knowledge) to make a positive impact?
  3. Do I have the time (our most precious resource) for it?
  4. Can I make the personal commitment necessary to be successful?

These questions reveal a thought process that highly successful people use to live intentionally. They never lose sight of the “C”– choice.

The choice is yours. Your success can be accidental or intentional. Choose to live intentionally.

For more insights, check out our latest book, Getting the BEST from Yourself and Others: How to Orchestrate Your Attitude.