Today I had lunch with a friend, a company director, who complained that he had no choice but to accept a price cut imposed by one of his biggest customers. This will force him to outsource part of his business to low-cost countries.

This is completely contrary to his values and to what he wants to build. They want to anchor their company in France and work with suppliers whose social and environmental working conditions they can know precisely.

Who among us, however committed, has not experienced this inconsistency between our most deeply held ideals and our decisions under the pretext that we have no choice?


I reply: “Today you say you have no choice…. And if you had a choice, what would you do?”

Let’s go back to the process of making this decision.

A decision involves a choice between at least one option A and one option B, and possibly multiple options.

In my friend’s case, he can choose to refuse the price cut or accept it. If he refuses, it will have certain consequences for his business, but what are they? Perhaps it will force him to diversify his clientele, to develop innovative solutions, to find new partnerships…

Do we take the time to make this choice?

Without choice, there is no real free decision because discernment cannot be made.

What does this word mean and why is it so little used in our contemporary vocabulary?

Discern comes from the word crisis: judgment, and from the Latin, discernere: to separate.

Discernment is a process that involves both the analysis of the situation, the formulation of a question or problem that merits a judgement and a decision, the implementation of a process of deliberation on this question and the final decision.

Are we giving ourselves the possibility to choose and therefore to discern?

Do we ask ourselves the question, do I have a choice between building a swimming pool or another alternative such as designing an ecological, aesthetic and recreational garden for my children? Do I have a choice between going to Japan or experiencing a real change of scenery and deep encounters around my home?


We are often very conditioned by our environment, the injunctions disguised in advertisements. We can regain a certain inner freedom by offering ourselves this time of discernment by making a real choice with two positive alternatives that each make us want to go.


The discernment will then consist in rationally analyzing what each choice brings to me personally, to my family, to my environment and where it loosens these same dimensions without prejudging the answer. If a spontaneous attraction directs me towards one or the other, I slow it down and give myself time to consider “coldly” a rational analysis of the various options.


Once the analysis is done, I am interested in the emotions that each option brings me. I imagine myself living this or that option and I pay attention to what it generates in me.

If an option gives me more energy, dynamism and life, then it seems to be more in line with myself and my project.

If, on the contrary, it generates in me a lack of energy, a brake, a lack of life and dynamism, then it seems to be moving away from what I deeply desire.


Fast does not necessarily mean good and efficient. Taking the time to contemplate our reality, to feel what it tells us and to make a real choice by being attentive to our inner moods is a precious tool to decide with true freedom.