Bad Choices Make Good Stories

Good people make bad choices.  It’s a fact of life.  We are all human beings and we don’t always make decisions with our heads.  We’re lead by our hearts, influenced by pressure, and directed by ego.  One bad choice can change the path of your life, and bad choices make good stories.


Good People Make Bad Choices


As I write this post, I am watching one of the biggest cheating scandals in World cricket unfold on my TV.  Australian captain Steve Smith, one of the most talented cricket batsmen ever to have played the game has just admitted to pre-meditated cheating.  He’s no doubt a good person.  He’s an outstanding cricketer.  He just made a very bad choice, and his reputation is forever tarnished.

This match will never be remembered for the result.  Neither will it be for the individual performances of the players who influenced the result.  Bad choices make good stories.  Negativity sells.  As human beings we will focus on the negativity of the situation and history has shown that when good people make bad choices, we are unforgiving.  We judge harshly.


Nobody is Perfect.  Nobody.


I am reminded of my day spent in Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town recently.  Meeting inmates that day and chatting to them about their fears, I was intrigued to hear from them that they were more afraid of coming out of prison and facing society again, than they were of remaining behind bars.

When they get out, they know that their bad choice will be the good story for people to talk about.  It will affect every job interview, and influence every relationship.  It’s how every other imperfect human being will judge them, and it’s how our broken society will label them.

Bad choices make good stories, and who doesn’t like a good story?  Human beings are imperfect beings, yet we all judge others, and we judge the bad choices that good people make.  Nobody is perfect.  Nobody.

Good people make bad choices.  You and I are one bad choice away from a completely different life.  Today we talk about Steve Smith and judge his actions.  Tomorrow, we cast judgement on a former inmate trying to make good in society.  The next day it could be you.  Or me.


Write Your Own Story


Your life is the sum total of every single choice, every decision and every action step you have taken up to this point.  You’ve made many good decisions along the way that have seen you progress in your life.  No doubt, you too have made bad decisions that have set you back on your journey.

Your reality is that the bad choices you have made in your life are the ones you will tend to remember most.  Bad choices make good stories.  Even your stories.   As much as other people will judge your bad choices, so too will you.  The key is not to let these stories define your future.


You’re always going to be squeezed.


Like Steve Smith, there will come a time in your life when you are going to be squeezed.   You will be placed in some form of pressure situation.  It will involve you feeling either stressed, anxious, distracted, or lacking in focus.  Somebody you trust will let you down.  Maybe you will make a bad judgement call and let yourself down.  It will be during this time that you will be forced to make choices under pressure.  How will you react?


When you squeeze a lemon, you don’t get apple juice


I love that quote – it comes from my favorite real estate coach, Tom Ferry.  What you put inside, comes out.  When you squeeze a lemon, you get lemon juice.

When you get squeezed in a pressure situation, what will come out of you?  Will you react in a calm, calculated manner that will lead to good choices?  Or will you react with irrational emotion that will result in another bad choice, and create a great story for everyone else to judge?


  • Control what you allow into your mind during the good times in order to prepare you for your pressure moments.
  • Invest in your own emotional development by reading positive books and articles and listen to podcasts designed to build you up emotionally.  Meditate often.
  • Subscribe to a positive, consistent morning routine. This sets the tone for your day.
  • Surround yourself with people who build you up, and inspire you to grow.
  • Avoid having stressed out, emotional people in your immediate environment, as stress is contagious.


By placing yourself in the type of environment, you’re filling up your tank with the right amount of emotional influence for the inevitable big squeeze.


Delete your Own History of Stories


As much as other people judge your bad choices, so too do you.  As human beings we are hardest on ourselves and there may be really ‘good’ stories in your life that now need to be deleted.  Remember the lessons.  Remove the story that keeps playing over and over in your head.

Just like deleting a bad internet history, it may be time to forgive yourself for your own bad choices, and allow yourself to move forward with positive intention, and create new positive stories.

If I was to leave Steve Smith, any former prison inmate, or even you, any lasting advice today, it would be as follows:


  • Own your choices.
  • Accept that bad choices made in the past are now out of your control.
  • Deal with the consequences of your bad choices.
  • Allow the emotion and anger to surface, and pass.
  • Be clear on the leanings from the experience.
  • Remember that the opinion of others is none of your business.
  • Nobody is perfect. Not least those who judge the harshest.
  • Delete the story.  Move forward with positive intention.


Finally, go forth and write your own positive stories.  Bad choices make good stories.  Good choices however, will define the rest of your life.


Grant Gavin is an international speaker and award-winning entrepreneur, who coaches sales people to become better versions of themselves.  For more info visit his website, and make contact.

Leave a Comment