We are constantly making decisions.
Some of them are easy. Simple. Routine.
What to wear?
What to eat?
Which one to buy?
But every once in a while, we're faced with a pretty big decision.
A decision that might take us off the road we've been traveling. A road that we've grown to tolerate. Or even love.
A decision that has leads us straight into the unknown.
When to leave?
When to quit?
When to start?
Which way should I go?
These type of decisions can be paralyzing. The pros and cons aren't clear. The road ahead seems confusing. And we can sit here at the crossroads for hours, days, hell - even years, wondering which way to go. Checking the direction of the wind and looking for signs.
Indecisiveness creates tremendous suffering. And this suffering clouds our decision-making ability. It quiets our own voice and it amplifies our doubts. Deliberate decisions save us heartache, anxiety and time.
Here's a step-by-step guide for making a decision.
1. Determine what you think you should do.
The 'should' voice is the voice in our minds that wants to keep us safe. Secure. It's the voice that sounds afraid. This voice is scattered. It's wishy-washy. This voice tries to impress, it tries to appear better than it is, it is worried about what other people think. It's the voice of comparison. It's the voice of doubt. This voice is confused. It mistakes familiar discomfort for true comfort. These are not the same.
2. Determine what you really want to do.
The 'true want' voice is the deep down voice that has no fear. This voice believes anything is possible. This voice doesn't speak loudly. It's more like a constant whisper. It doesn't change its mind. It stays focused. Even if we don't want to act on what this voice says, we need to give this voice permission to be heard. Let it speak freely. Listen. This voice speaks about what is right for us. It takes away all the static. It speaks of our own life, our own desires, our own future.
3. Consider all consequences of the should and the want.
There are no good or bad decisions. Every decision just comes with a set of consequences. Some consequences are easier than others. Some last longer than others. Some mean more to us than others. Consider all the consequences of following the should. List the pros and cons honestly. Then, consider all the consequences of following the want. List the pros and cons honestly. Tell yourself the truth about each set of consequences.
4. The universe has the final say.
Ultimately, the universe decides which way and for how long we travel down our paths. It tends to block our shoulds. It makes those paths rockier. More and more impassable. It tends to open the way for our wants. For our true desires.
Making a decision means "I will." Not, "I hope." It means committing to our own choices and being willing to own the consequences of our decisions. It means ignoring the doubts, fears and rationalizations that want to take us back to the crossroads. Wavering takes us nowhere. It just makes us dizzy. By not making a decision we've committed to laziness. To commit, we've got to want it enough.
Deliberate decisions set us free. They unstick us at the stuck points. They bump us out of indulgent navel-gazing.
They change our lives immediately. They set the direction.
Great people don't become great on accident. And we're made of the same stuff.
Great things don't happen at the crossroads. Great people don't wait for the wind to change.
They set their course.
Own their consequences.
And set out into uncharted territory.
I'll meet you there.