The quality of our lives is often a function of the accumulated consequences of the decisions we have made over a period of time. Our choices always have consequences not just on our pursuits of purpose but also on others around us. Sometimes, the advantages that should accrue to hard work can be sacrificed on the altar of our indecision. Andrew Carnegie was right when he said “Most people will lose more to indecision than they will to a bad decision.”
Now, the quality of our decisions is dependent on two issues: whether we made the right choices and whether we did so at the right time. If you were to speak with an elderly individual and ask him/her their greatest regret, his/her response would be about a decision he/she made a point in his/her lives. That decision may have been a wrong decision or a right decision made at the wrong time.
Thus, if we will maximise our potentials and achieve the results that are necessary to give expression to our life assignments, we must learn the art of making right and timely decisions. How can we go about this? Here are some thoughts.
Always Pursue Clarity.
One of the greatest lessons I learnt from my sojourn at the Nigerian Law School was that clarity is the first step to achieving excellence. Clarity births effectiveness. Oftentimes, we make the wrong or untimely decisions because we lack clarity about our circumstances and situations. So, when we need to make any decision, we should first ask,
What will happen if I do this?
What will not happen if I do this?
What will happen if I don’t do this?
What will not happen if I don’t do this?
These four questions will help you gain clarity about what will be the consequences of your actions and open your eyes to possible alternatives you may not have thought about.
Gratefully Learn from the experiences of others
Never allow anyone deprive you of the right to make mistakes. But always be grateful to people who allow you to learn from their own experiences. You cannot afford to make all the mistakes just so that you can become a sage. It is wisdom to glean and learn from the principles that others have extracted from their journeys.
Constantly Practise Divine Guidance.
To my mind, this is the most important of these three principles. Lot made the wrong choice of a place to settle when he broke camp with Abraham because he made the choice based on the limited scope of his human perception of the options available to Him. Should he had learnt to constantly practise the discipline of being led by God, he may not have ended at the brink of destruction with Sodom and Gomorrah. No matter how smart and calculating you can be, without the wisdom that comes from being led by God, your life journey will be punctuated by regrets and lessons from experiences you did not necessarily have to go through.
I’ll close with the story of Former U.S President Ronald Reagan who once remarked that he learned the need for decision-making early in life. An aunt had taken him to a cobbler to have a pair of shoes made for him. The shoemaker asked young Ronald Reagan, “Do you want a square toe or a round toe?” Reagan hemmed and hawed. So the cobbler said, “Come back in a day or two and let me know what you want.”
A few days later the shoemaker saw Reagan on the street and asked what he had decided about the shoes. “I still haven’t made up my mind,” the boy answered. “Very well,” said the cobbler.
When Reagan received the shoes, he was shocked to see that one shoe had a square toe and the other a round toe.
“Looking at those shoes every day taught me a lesson,” said Reagan years later. “If you don’t make your own decisions, somebody else will make them for you!”
For us who do purpose, we must learn to make right and timely decisions by practising divine guidance, pursuing clarity and gratefully learning from the experiences of others.
I want to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.
I call you blessed!