We always think in terms of making a decision about something. The truth is, there are always two decisions to be made. To not only choose the one path to pursue but to also convince yourself to not choose the one you don’t pursue.
Is this double talk? Not when you think about what is involved in making a decision. Rarely, are two possible choices totally opposite each other. Usually, each possible choice has good and not so good things attached to it.
What I found very interesting this past week, was a decision my son had to make that caused him a lot of conflict internally. When talking to him, I realized that his emotion had blinded him from seeing the good and not so good things about each possible choice before making his decision.
Clarity can be a great friend at times like this. I challenged him to take two sheets of paper and to write down the consequences of making each choice. My hunch was that he had not really thought through the way the world would change for him depending on what choice he made.
On one sheet of paper I asked to him to say that he chose A. On the other sheet of paper I asked him to say that he chose B. Then I challenged him to write down what would be the next steps or things that would be important to him after making the choice EITHER way. (I wasn’t interested in ever seeing what he wrote. I was interested in having him do this for himself).
After four days, he enthusiastically called me up saying that this exercise helped him quite a bit. The biggest payoff was that it helped him discover what was important to him regardless of what choice he made. Knowing this then made it easier for him to make a choice between the two possible outcomes.
None of us do this enough in our lives. We like to rush and move on. We like to think that we know even when we don’t. While there is a lot of uncertainty in our lives, we tend to complicate things by not taking the time to be clear about what we want our next steps to be after making a decision.
It takes more work and time than you think to get clarity in our own mind as to what is important for us to get accomplished when making our next choice.
The funny thing that I haven’t figured out yet is why we like to fight ourselves by rushing and never taking the time to get to know ourselves better before moving on to our next new day.