Do you suffer from indecisiveness? From how I see it, it is a kind of mental shortcoming, a weakness. Those who are afraid of making choices often keep postponing their decisions. There is a false belief that the longer you wait to make a decision the better it will be. I am not suggesting you become impulsive but at the same time it is just as daft to keep waiting forever.

At every step of our lives, we are faced with choices. If you reflect on the matter, you will find it is not so much about making right or wrong choices as much as it is about making a decision with the awareness that you are willing to take the responsibility of your choices. You can deliberate and cogitate eternally, it still does not guarantee you will make the right decision. After all, there is no way of knowing whether a decision is right or wrong at the time you are making it. It is mostly from the outcome you can gain such knowledge.

What drives your decision making?

At the heart of almost every decision you make, there are three factors: desire, fear, and conditioning. Deciding one way or the other is often dependent on the benefits you get versus the loss you may incur. If the desire of benefits outweighs the fear of loss, you will choose in favor of the benefits, and vice-versa. There is nothing called not making a decision, this in itself is a decision. Beyond the gain and loss, material or otherwise, conditioning, by society, religion, culture, plays a critical role. What will others think? Others’ opinions can influence your decision, especially if you are not careful in filtering them out.

It is impossible to factor in all the variables of future, it is in fact juvenile to even try that. When you have to make a decision, do so based on what you know and get on with it. If your decision yields the desired results, rejoice and share. If it does not, remind yourself that it was a conscious choice you made and that you are willing to bear the consequences. It is not the end of the world. You cannot expect to make only those choices that lead to the expected outcomes. No matter how intelligent, intuitive or ingenious one is, it is normal for some decisions to be flawed.

Before making any decision ask yourself two golden questions:
1. Why am I making this decision?
2. Am I prepared to take the responsibility of my decision?
Every choice you make will have a consequence. As long as you are bold enough to take the responsibility of your choices, life will present you with enough opportunities to make better ones.

The Hindsight Trap

When our choices do not lead to the desired outcome, it is natural to believe that we should have done this or we could have done that. Somewhere you want to believe that you could have corrected your choice, you could have listened to the one who was advising you against it, you could have analyzed better, you could have waited and so on and so forth. I call this the Hindsight Trap. The fact is you made the best choice at the time. As they say vision is ten-by-ten in hindsight. That is all good but you are not driving in the reverse gear on a freeway, you cannot afford to settle your gaze on the rear-view mirror while you drive forward.

Living by your decision is comparable to driving on the road: you occasionally check your side-view and rear-view mirrors, you pay attention to the traffic around you, you may change lanes but you keep moving towards your destination. There are going to be distractions and doubts. It is part of the game. You are good if you can say to yourself, “Given what I know, I am making the best possible choice.” Over a decade ago I read “Who Moved My Cheese?”. It is a nice read.

“Clearly your marks show you haven’t been studying geography at all!” said the teacher, “what’s your excuse?”
“I don’t have any excuse, Ms. Johnson,” the little Johny said, “it’s just that my father says the world is constantly changing. So, I thought I should wait till it settles down and then study it.”

Do not keep waiting till eternity. When eternity comes, you will be dealing with a different set of challenges. If you want to do something, go ahead and go for it. Only actions create results. Thoughts alone and ceaseless planning lead to an endless path devoid of the joys of journey. Such path has no guiding milestones nor the euphoria of any destination. Only empty words, hollow plans.

If you are serious about learning how to swim, you will have get your feet wet sooner or later. There is no other way that I know of. Someone may guide you, you may use floaters at the beginning but eventually, you will have to be there on your own, you will have to take charge. If you are bothered by other people’s opinions, watch this short discourse.

It is okay to make mistakes, to make wrong decisions. Accept them, correct them to the best of your ability and move on. Do not punish yourself. Change is happening now. You are making your decisions in the dead past and the ever-elusive future. All statements with “could have”, “should have”, “would have” denote dead decisions. All statements containing “will” and “shall” reflect your decisions of the future. Now is the only truth. In the current context, the simple present and the present continuous are just about the only two tenses with any substance. All the other ones are simply there to tense you.

Peace.
Swami

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