Decision making is easy if you know what the choices are!
It’s Wednesday morning and the cake and sandwich tray is moving around the office, or it’s Friday evening and the menu has arrived, the decisions are easy to make!
Do I want to eat the pastrami on a cheese bun or have a donut with sprinkles? Perhaps the rump steak, medium rare, with a glass of red wine or the vegan salad with a glass of water.
The options before you are easy to work out and to make the decision. But what if there were no options in front of you and you were asked to make a decision – How then do you decide what you want?
What questions would you ask the sandwich person, or waiter? How would you work out if either prepared a certain food you liked or if they even had it in stock? Where would you start in trying to decide what you really felt like eating today?
A New Day
It’s Thursday morning the sun is shining between the curtains and you sit up in bed turn to face the window. Upon opening the curtains you realise you can do anything you want, you can have anything you want and you can go wherever you please. There are no limits, no repercussions, no impending doom. Everything is before you – what would you decide to do?
I think this is why we find it so hard to plot our way in life. First we need to isolate the decisions before us, but the problem is what are the choices? Then there are the preconceived ideas and fears that have to be factored in to allow us to refine our choice and finally, upon choosing, we come to another set of decisions about what to do next. It seems all very complicated in a world that seems very simple.
For example, a bird does not aspire to fly, it has the innate ability already within it to one day use those wings it has and fly! It does not debate whether it should or shouldn’t fly it merely does it! The question of food equally does not present an issue. It needs to eat in order to continue living and must find shelter for the night to be safe. There are no philosophical enquiries that a bird must undergo, it just does it!
Why then, are we as humans so caught up in the whole decision process? It seems easy enough for us to make a decision about what we want to eat or drink, and it does not impact our day…
What should I do?
There are many places you can go to for “inspiration” from church to wellness groups, to career guidance and your friends. Even your circumstances may dictate your decision but there are still decisions to make.
1. Isolate the choices
This must be the most difficult place to start. Some people I know have, from a very early age, decided what they would do in life and followed that path without blinking. How did they ‘know’ that was the right path to take for them? What appealed to them to make that decision?
Choices are increasingly difficult to isolate as you gain knowledge too. As a child the world is small to us and the choices limited. We note what our parents do and family around us do and we emulate it with a slight twist. As we gain knowledge and experiences we notice that there are further options available to us. Those options increase exponentially as we gain further freedom from our roots. No longer are there just a few choices but there are multiples of those choices.
We are Unique
Where do they end? The never-ending list of variable lifestyles and career choices available to us all. But, and this is a big one, each lifestyle, experience and decision is unique to the individual! Every single one!
Read that again –
“Each lifestyle, experience and decision is unique to the individual! Every single one!”
You cannot emulate another human being and expect to be fulfilled. It is impossible to find any happiness in such decision-making. Which is why it is so futile to say things like, “All I want is to be like (fill in the blank)” or “When I can be like (blank) then I will be happy”. There is no way that can bring happiness because you are aiming for another persons happiness.
Driven by advertising we are forced to believe we must keep up with the Joneses yet the Joneses are keeping up with the Joneses who are keeping up with the… and so on. The futility of such a belief system cannot result in happiness and hence the reason for unhappiness, depression and self loathing.
Lets wipe the board. Lets begin again with something far simpler to be able to handle. Remove away any obstacle or issues and lets rather see for ourselves what the choices are.
About now you will need a few pieces of paper, preferably white, blank, and easy to store in a large envelope or use an artists pad, and a pen or pencil. All set, lets go!
The Big Question
A guidance teacher at school used this expression to all pupils at the age of 16 to make them think about their choices for their futures. Along with saying that there would be jobs in 5, 10 and 20 years time that we would not even think of existing today, he asked this question:
You have accumulated all the wealth the world has to offer, you have bought the most amazing art, built villas and castles and own the largest yachts. You have dined in the most expensive hotels and you have worn the finest clothes money can buy. You have socialised with all your heros and you are popular beyond your wildest dreams. What do you want to do now?
WOW! What a question: What do I want to do now?
This question rings in my ears, it is not what you have, done or built, it is really down to you. You can see in the eyes of an artist the love they have for the thing they are creating right now. How they look from different angles, find the best products and push themselves further to create their masterpieces.
They are completely absorbed by their desire to create something meaningful to them. The passion flows through their work and on completion you feel the inner strength of their work radiating from it. Money does not equate to that passion in the slightest.
The programmer seeking to make the perfect code to run the best system, spend their nights trying new ideas and testing new thoughts. They are completely absorbed and when they complete the code they are fulfilled beyond any credit they may receive from another human.
It time to ask you the same question,
“What do you want to do now?”
- It begins with a small step
Begin by writing the ideas down first. All the things you want to do. Write, travel, teach, exercise, volunteer, etc. Write what you want to do without editing anything. Just write them all down. And begin to get a feel of what person you are.
There is no one else like you on the planet. No one who has your experiences, your desires or passions. Only you!
Go on, I can wait, take all the time you need, even bookmark this link for later or tomorrow…
In fact come back tomorrow and read about Preconceived Ideas and Fears.
Want to read then next post, click here.
Act Anyway for tomorrow may never come