Should I stay or should I go?
Should I turn left or should I turn right?
Should I pick up the phone and call or should I just remain silent?
Should I stay in school or should I drop out?
Should I keep this heirloom, or should I let it go?
“Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Sometimes choices we face every day are of little consequence or so it seems and sometimes we know deep inside that the choices we make have a great impact on our lives and those around us. I believe that every time we are faced with a choice to make the decision to make that choice matters very much. So how do we know when and how to make the right choices?
In his book, The Travelers Gift, author Andy Andrews tells a story of the 7 decisions that determine personal success. In a nut shell here they are:
1- “The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.”
2- “I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.”
3- “I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.”
4- “I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.”
5- “Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.”
6- “I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.”
7- “I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.”
Once you have “decided” that you want to be decided in the choices that face you straight on, the best thing to do is to practice making choices. Start with something simple and build from there. The question at this crucial first step is, “but how do I know that I am making a good choice? ” The answer: Know your personal values. If you don’t know how to do that, please visit https://www.viacharacter.org/ and take the adult survey to learn about all 26 of your values and the top 5 that most reflect who you are right now. At any time in your life you can change the values in the top 5 if you want to but just know that all 26 live within you.
“I find that the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.” – Steve Maraboli
You now have your values in action in front of you. You can now begin to practice making choices and empower yourself toward the freedom from getting stuck and walking away and that is the first step in making easier decisions.
The 2nd step is to talk through whether with yourself, out loud or with someone you trust. When we hear ourselves talk out loud about what is blocking us from making decisions it helps us process a pathway toward making that decision.
Step 3 is to ask for perspective of someone you trust completely. It doesn’t mean you have to follow someone’s advice, but it does give you something else to consider. Ultimately you are in control of the outcome.
Step 4 is to try to test out your decision on something small. Pretend with something you are considering letting go of and see how you feel. Whatever you are trying to decide on, use your imagination to bring that decision into play and talk about how you feel if it were to really happen.
And finally, step 5 is to do the same for others. Listen and watch yourself help someone else to decide on something important. How did that feel for you? Why was that seemingly easier than making your own decision? Not every step is going to be involved with making a decision but one of these steps will be more helpful and on target than another and knowing your values will help give you the foundation you need toward the confidence to make a decision that is right for you.
Some old school ideas for helping to make decisions is to make a pro/con list. Another option is to do research about the decision you need to make. Seek support or ideas toward the outcome you are thinking to embark on. Create a plan B if necessary. Be accountable to yourself and forgiving once you make the decision. There is no way to know if the decision you made is the exact right one but using these tools above will help you get as close as possible, then let it go. You can always learn from your experience and try again later.
Call to Action
What is one decision you are facing that is hard for you to make?
What do you think would be the hardest step to really get the hang of?
Image by bing.com/lifechoicemedical.com