Decision making requires wisdom, discernment & willingness to learn from past mistakes.
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We live in a complicated world, a World that’s busting at the seems with the latest gadgets, new shiny temptations, many distractions, ongoing disruptions, and no end of diversions that steer us away from our primary goals and life objectives.
Jose Ortega Gasset demonstrated great insight when he suggested that living is a continuous process of deciding what we’re going to do next.
Decisiveness is insight in action. It’s the choice to make the right decisions at the right time and in a way that benefits the greatest number of people possible. Decisiveness is the ability to know what’s right, but more importantly, to do what’s right.
When psychologist Barry Schwartz published his book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, he took aim at the central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. He suggests that having choices that ever before has made us less ‘freer’ in our thinking, more paralysed by indecision and less satisfied with our western quality of life.
He also mentioned that ‘Choice overload,’ as he calls it, makes us question and critique our every decision, set our expectations too high, and beat ourselves up for making decisions that we later regret.
Ironically, it’s this fear of making ‘wrong’ decisions that keep people stuck in a rut and unwilling to make any decisions at all – a behaviour which is today defined as procrastination. Indecisiveness.
In an interview, Schwartz stated that the global popularity of the social medias had heightened the agony of decision-making through the unique phenomena, a fear of missing out. As so few people know how to be decisive in their daily interactions, just as many people know how to find fulfilment and contentment in life.
Have you ever been in a relationship with an indecisive person? If so, you’ll be more than aware of how exhausting people who behave like this can be!
When it comes to deciding on a partner for life, someone to do business with, or someone to trust, indecisive people will often find themselves at the bottom of the popularity list, and frequently the last to be ‘chosen’.
Decisiveness is an acquired skill set that most people never bother to learn because it demands that the beholder commits a life to tough decision-making – on a regular basis!
Since the dawn of time (well, as far back as I can remember), poor decision making is a common trend that shows itself throughout all history books that have ever been written.
Politicians, religious leaders, bankers, World leaders – no-one is exempt from poor decision making. Wise decision making requires insight, patience and maturity of character, all of which unfortunately cannot be purchased through expensive private education.
Perhaps you’ve made some poor decisions in the past, of which you’re still living with the consequences today. Perhaps you’ve made some poor relationship choices, or no relationship choices, or too many relationships choices which have come at the cost of your fulfilment and happiness.
Perhaps you’ve made so many poor decisions in the past, that you’ve had too many knockbacks, and today, are petrified of making new important new decisions for your future. If so, you’ll probably agree that people who avoid making important decisions will consistently find themselves tied up in emotional knots.
Indecision walks hand in hand with paralysis, who is already in an adulterous affair with unhappiness. Indecisive people will seldom get what they want in life.
Often, those who find most difficulty making important decisions are more focussed on keeping everyone else happy, than what they’re willing to be on pursuing their own passions and purpose in life. Becuase indecisive people are so scared of making the ‘wrong’ decision; they end up making ‘no’ decision. The results speak for themselves.
You might be thinking to yourself right now, ‘Decisiveness is a gift that’s given to some people and not to others.’ If so, you are incorrect.
Decisiveness is a skill, like any other, that can be developed over time, enhanced, improved upon and sharpened like a razor sharp sword.
Every decision that we make in life is a values-based decision. By this, I mean that all people all of the time base their decision making upon whether they see themselves being able to ‘get what they want the most’ through any particular course of action (a decision).
Our values are the things that we perceive as being most important to us in life. What you’re willing to live for, and also what you’re ready to die for. Many people assume that their values are relatively straight forward, and if they can understand what they are, then that’s the ‘problem solved’.
A crucial point that I would like to make here, though, is that a person’s real values in life aren’t reflected through what person says, but are reflected through what a person does. You might have heard it said, that “Actions speak louder than words.” And if you have, this is true.
It’s easy to talk about what’s important to us in life, but if our actions don’t reflect these words, we are nothing short of a hypocrite.
In Scotland, many men take pride in being the ‘breadwinners’ for their family. People commit long days, evenings and even weekends to dead-end jobs that they hate, just to bring in money to provide their family with the ‘lifestyle’ they want to provide. Often at the cost of the time, they could otherwise spend with their family.
Most of us love nothing more than to talk about the noble things we value with others, for the reason being that if we say the right thing in the right way to the right people, we stand to impress those others whom we look to for validation and approval. No-one is free from this!
Regardless of what common culture believes to be true, it is considerably less difficult to talk about having high values than what it is to live by them. Talk is cheap; action will cost you!
For example, if you were to say that a particular relationship in your life is important to you, and if you genuinely mean what you say, you’ll gladly invest the time and resources that are required to make it work.
If you say that your family is important to you, but you spend more time in your place of work with your coworkers and peers that what you spend with them, then your actions do not speak louder than your words.
A wise man once said, ‘How a person spends their time, money and talents is a reflection of what they hold most dear.’
It’s crucial that we understand our values and set our priorities in life, because if we don’t, other people will do their very best to set them for us.
If your health is important to you, you’ll gladly set time apart to invest into yourself on a daily basis. If your mental acuity is important to you, you’ll spend time every day in reading, studying and reflecting. You might say that these things are important to you, but if your actions don’t reflect this, you tell lies, my friend!
Carl Sandberg once suggested that ‘Time is the coin of your life, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful, lest you let other people spend it for you.’
Growing up and maturing in life means making our decisions in complete alignment with our values. Growing up and maturing in life also means making decisions, to begin with.
The double-minded person is inconsistent in all of their ways, and will find themselves tossed around like a leaf in the wind, blowing here, blowing there, but never on course towards any well-defined destination. Don’t be one of these people.
Decision making is a core life skill that develops over time, and through practice. Practice will never make you perfect, but it will make you permanently better at making wise decisions than what you’ve ever been before in the past.
Decision making requires maturity, wisdom, discernment, good judgement of character and a humble willingness to learn from the mistakes you’ve made in the past.
So, don’t be afraid of making decisions, because whether you win or whether you lose, you’ll learn crucial life lessons that will help you make wiser decisions into the future. Every decision you’ll ever make is a win-win.
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