Making and Living With Decisions

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Life Proceeds According to Choices and Decisions We Make

Life is like a road through space. There are long and short roads; smooth and rocky roads; crooked and straight roads; roads that go in many different directions. In our life, many roads intersect with the one we are on as we journey through life. There are roads that lead to a life of single blessedness, marriage, or religious vocation. There are also roads that lead to fame and fortune on one hand, or isolation and poverty on the other. There are roads to happiness just as there are roads to sadness, roads towards victory and jubilation, and roads leading to defeat and disappointment.

Just like any road, there are corners, detours, and crossroads in life. Perhaps the most perplexing road that you may encounter is a crossroad. With multiple roads to choose from and with limited knowledge on where each road goes, which road should you take? What is the guarantee that you will choose the right road? Should you choose a road, or just stay where you are and go no further?

You do not really know where a road will lead you until you take it. There are no guarantees. This is one of the most important things you need to realize about life. Nobody said that choosing to do the right thing all the time would always lead you to happiness in this world. Loving someone with all your heart does not guarantee that your love be returned. Gaining fame and fortune does not guarantee happiness. Accepting a good word from an influential superior to cut your trip short up the career ladder is not always bad, especially if you are highly qualified and competent.  There are too many possible outcomes, which you cannot control. The only thing you have power over is the decisions that you make, and how you act in and react to different situations.

Had you known that you were making a wrong decision, would you have gone along with it? Perhaps not, why would you choose a certain path when you know it will get you lost? Why make a certain decision if you know from the very beginning that it is not the right one? It is only after you have made a decision and acted on it that you realize if the decision was sound or not. If the consequences or outcomes are good for you, then you have decided correctly. Otherwise, your decision was wrong. The best you can do is carry out good due diligence before acting on any decision. This means you study the situation carefully and in detail before deciding to proceed. But, proceed you must. Making no decision is sometimes the right thing to do. Just remember that no decision means no action. No action leads to no results, bad or good. Although it is true that one wrong turn could get you lost, it could also be that such a turn may be an opportunity for an adventure, besides opening more roads. It is all a matter of perspective. You have the choice between being a lost traveler or an accidental tourist of life.  Just take care that you do not make decisions haphazardly. Taking risks is not about being careless or stupid. Here are some pointers that could help you choose the best option in the face of life’s crossroads. These pointers are all part of your necessary due diligence.

• Get as many information as you can about your situation.

You cannot find the confidence to decide when you know so little about what you are faced with. Just like a news reporter, ask the five W’s: what, who, when, where, and why. What is the situation? Who are the people involved? When did this happen? Where is this leading? Why are you in this situation? These are just some of the possible questions to ask to learn more about your situation. This is important. Oftentimes, the reason for indecision is the lack of information about a situation. Yet, it is not possible to obtain perfect information about most realistic situations and opportunities. Here again is a place where balance is necessary.

• Identify and create options.

What options do the situation give you? Sometimes the options are few, but sometimes they are numerous. But what can you do when you think that the situation offers no options? This is the time that you create your own. Let your creative mind work. From the most simplistic to the most complicated, entertain all ideas. Do not shoot anything down when an idea comes to your head. Sometimes the most outrageous idea could prove to be the right one in the end. You can ask a friend to help you identify options and even make more options if you encounter some difficulty, but make sure that you make the decision yourself in the end. Nobody can decide for you since it is you who are responsible and accountable.

• Weigh the pros and cons of every option.

Assess your options by looking at the advantages and disadvantages each offers. In this way, you get more insights about the consequences of your options.

• Trust yourself and make that decision.

Now that you have gathered information and assessed your options, it is now time to trust yourself. Remember that there are no guarantees and wrong decisions are always at hindsight. So choose… decide… believe that you are choosing the best option at this point in time. As you implement your decision keep an eye on the situation so you can guide it. Don’t just “fire and forget”.

Once you have made a decision, be ready to face its consequences, good and bad. It may take you to a place of promise or to a land of problems. But the important thing is that you have chosen to live your life instead of remaining a bystander or a passive audience. Whether it is the right decision or not, only time can tell. But do not regret it whatever the outcome. Instead, learn from it and remember that you always have the chance to make better decisions in the future. About the well-managed risk we have been talking about, Dale Carnegie said, "The person who gets the furthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."


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