Friday, October 8, 2010

How to make a decision

Anybody know how to do this? I have some ideas, but sometimes lack the confidence to implement them and be secure in my ultimate decision.

This isn't about "paper or plastic", "white or whole wheat" or "soup or salad". This is the big stuff. The stuff that YOU have to decide and the stuff that has the potential to change the direction of your life, temporarily or permanently.

My mother has always encouraged me to make lists of pros and cons, and that is a good practice. Usually, it gets me to really think about all the possible aspects and outcomes of my decision, both good and bad. The problem I have is in weighing their value. There may be only one or two "cons" on my list, but they may be so significant that they outweigh the eight "pros" in the other column.

I know - I over-analyze a bit.

I've found that talking it out with others helps, too. Trusted friends whom you respect can shed light on your decision-making, bringing up points that you perhaps never thought of. A good friend won't make the decision for you, though, but will act as a sounding board for you to verbalize your conundrum. Talking about it out loud, whether with someone else or just to yourself, also gives you a sense of your attitude toward one decision or another. If I find myself getting into a debate about my options to the point where I'm defending one choice over the other, it somehow becomes very clear.

My last piece of advice is not all that tangible, but works for me. Sometimes, we don't realize that deep down, we KNOW what we want. It may not be the popular decision, or the choice that our friends or family would make, but in our gut we know it's the best for us. I know when I've made my decision because of how I feel when I finally commit to it. Sometimes it's like I was just punched and I feel defeated. Other times I'm excited and anxious. The key here is being able to LISTEN to your gut without having others' opinions about what you "should" do affecting that feeling. That's the rub right there.

Above all, know that decisions, while they seem very, very final, are not always. These are variable times we live in, and you never know what's around the corner or what kind of curve ball God's going to throw you next. Make your decision with an open mind that if circumstances change, you'll be open enough to revisit and reevaluate if necessary.

Some heavy thoughts for your weekend, and for mine.

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