Making Good Decisions

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Reflecting on past experiences, I think we tend to fear what we cannot or have the inability to control. I believe most, if not all, like to have control over decisions which directly influence their lives. For most, constantly leaving fate to twist in the air makes for an uncomfortable existence. Though it may be driven by either physical or mental trials, our inner-strength grows by forging it through difficult circumstances. When confronted with a difficult decision, one generally fears the outcome of the decision rather than making a decision itself. The counterbalance of determining positive and negative outcomes is what causes our agony. Many times, whether it be trivial or profound, the result of our decisions becomes absolute.

A common way to determine the counterbalance is by making a physical “Pros vs Cons” list. If the “Pros” wins out, it is a good decision. If the “Cons” wins out, it is not. Unfortunately, writing an extensive list in real time is not always practical. Thankfully, we have cognitive abilities that very much do the same thing in milliseconds. For most, the ability to determine positive versus negative outcomes is innate. Unfortunately, we are stubborn and do not always steer our will toward reasoning. Many times this leads toward regret and disdain. Our inner-voice has a purpose. Listen to it, but also allow for the possibility of error. A lack of understanding or information is always possible. By using common sense and reasoning, one usually strengthens the probability of making a good decision.

By conditioning, our decision-making processes become more refined. Much like a child burning their hand on a hot stove, the greater the magnitude of a situation, the more likely one will remember and use the knowledge gained in future decisions. Having been in countless situations throughout our lives where we have advised another not to make a silly or poor decision, we sometimes have to let the process play out. Sometimes, we have to allow others to make wrong decisions; even though our own experiences tell us, otherwise. This will result in the other individual building a cache of experience and knowledge based on their own tribulation and not yours. You may be surprised at the amount of knowledge you gain, yourself, by witnessing the experiences of others.

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Like it or not, our state of being provides many opportunities to make decisions-some life-altering, some banal. Anyone who tells you decision making is easy is not being honest. Follow your heart and not your brain, or vice versa, and see how easily you become disappointed. One is not a compass without the other.

I offer the following words of encouragement. Do not always fear what you cannot or have the inability to control. Learn from experiences both good and poor. Give advice, when appropriate, but do not always expect it to be well-received. Help others when you can, but also stand back and let them learn independence and self-reliance. Decisions that intentionally hurt or harm others are almost always wrong. Know your limitations, but do not let them define you. Sometimes you will be surprised at what you can accomplish when you push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Do the best you can with what you have been given. Never stop seeking knowledge. Allow the many challenges of your inner truths to either fortify or dismiss your current beliefs. By widening your personal horizons, you increase the odds of making good choices. Good decision making will soon become quotidian.

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