The Art Of Decision Making {or, How To Adult}

What sort of decision maker are you?

  • Can you make a spur-of-the-moment decision and feel 100% confident that you made the right choice?
  • Do you need some time to weigh pros/cons so that you can make an informed decision?
  • Do you put off deciding anything for a while, hoping that someone else will make the decision for you?
  • Do you ask everyone’s opinion and go along with the most popular choice?
  • Do you consult an 8-ball or some other such method like flipping a coin or looking for coincidental “signs”?
  • Do you obsess and vacillate back and forth over the possible “outcomes” of your decisions, taking months to decide on anything?

It’s true, making decisions can be a very daunting task. Nobody wants to make a wrong decision that results in a train wreck. Nobody wants to be blamed for a “poor choice”. In most cases, we agonize over our choices because we want the easiest, most cost-effective, painless, no-fuss, risk-free, most convenient result possible, complete with a happy ending and the accompanying boost to our confidence. If every decision were that easy to make, life would be easy and good.

The reality is, life doesn’t work like that. And it shouldn’t. We’re not here to breeze through every given situation. There’s a reason for the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” The easiest choice is not always the best one, either. More often, we must choose a more difficult option, knowing the outcome may not be the one we want.

Someone I know never had to make decisions throughout this life; for this person, {someone else} always took care of everything, exempting him from the responsibility of deciding anything. Every “what should I do?” question rewarded him with the guidance he sought.

As easy as that sounds, {letting others make all the decisions} does not bode well for anyone in the long run. At 18, we become adults in charge of our lives. We assume responsibility for the choices we make in our lives. That brand of power belongs to nobody except us, even in a committed relationship. People share their lives together; the parent/child dynamic ends at 18 and should never see the light of day again.

Further, although we may feel terrified of making mistakes in our lives, we can’t allow those fears to take hold of us, preventing us from truly living. Life is about learning from experiences and gaining wisdom. It’s about learning what not to do in future situations and relationships. It’s about learning what we don’t want from other people in our lives. It’s about accepting that people, good and bad, will cross our paths to teach us something of value. It’s about recognizing that the yin/yang balances help us appreciate life’s opposites.

What we must remember is that the outcome of a decision often takes a while to manifest and it may not be until years later that we see whether the choice we made was good or bad. Life is not a test of “right” or “wrong” answers. We make decisions based on what we know and what we think is best at the time.

And that’s all we can really do.

Until next time…

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