Essentials of Quality Decisions

You can’t make progress without making decisions – Jim Rohn.

Power in Decisions

One of the most powerful abilities that a human possesses is decision-making. The impact of a decision can leave a legacy that future generations will either benefit from or suffer with. Decisions act as middlemen between desire and action. Without a decision, every desire remains in potential form. In life, ideas, as great as they might be, are never actualized without a decision. When problems surface in a family, community, organization, or even a country, decisions open the path to see the possibilities toward the solution. Top motivational speaker Tony Robbins says that destiny is shaped in moments of decision. The stakes are high when it comes to making decisions. So, what shapes quality decision-making? 

Knowledge

The Greek philosopher Plato is quoted as saying, “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” This does not mean you will know everything before you make a decision. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to prepare for the next decision by  consistently growing our body of knowledge. Learning how to assimilate information and pull it out at the time of decision making is a lifelong process that culminates in the skill of wisdom. First, we must have knowledge of what is important. This helps to trim down the fat. This keeps us grounded and not swayed by our emotions, moods, fears, or temporary circumstances when making a decision. Regret is the result of realizing, in hindsight, that a decision made or action taken was done based on temporary feelings or circumstances. Second, we should have knowledge of what is non-negotiable. When you make a decision, what will never change after that decision? I underpin every decision I make with the understanding that I am a follower of Christ, a husband and a father. If my decision compromises those non-negotiables, then the decision is automatically wrong.

Choices

Sacrifices and trade-offs are inherent in every decision. Quality decisions may cost you on the front end but they always yield greater rewards on the back end. The decision to become a writer has required me to sacrifice the area of time to carve out ample time to write. The sacrifice is worth the decision because of the outcome desired. Leadership expert John Maxwell refers to the pay or play concept he learned from his father, “You can pay now, and play later, or you can play now and pay later, but either way, you are going to pay.” What areas in your daily life are you choosing to play when you should be paying the cost by sacrificing now to reap later? What we choose to do daily is really a decision to progress or regress in life. Your choices today are a good predictor of the decisions you will make in the future. Choose purpose over fleeting pleasures. Choose to endure the slow cooking process of lasting success that comes with hard work and persistence rather than the temporal passing of material wealth that vanishes as quickly as it is acquired. Choose to be humble, show your scars, and share your story with others as a testimonial to encourage rather than being pretentious and over-inflated with self embellishment. Always remember that the present trade-off will lead to a future pay-off. Stay the course.  

Counsel

An old proverb says, “Where there is no counsel, people fall, but in the multitude of counselors, there is safety.” Here, the word counsel has little to do with words and more to do with steering a ship. With that picture in mind, we get the idea that the right counsel or people in our life will steer us in the right direction as we open our lives to them. When making decisions, learn to seek advice. Counsel is your school of thought. It is how you tap into the knowledge grid of others and draw vital information needed to make sound decisions. Find people who will not massage your mind with flattery but lovingly cheer, challenge, and even confront you with the truth. The aim always being to steer you to your designed destiny. Always have two or three but not more than five people you can call on when making a decision. 

Counsel will greatly increase your chances of making a quality decision. Prayer is also part of counsel, and for me, it is the first step when I need to make a decision. God’s instruction is always the best direction to making a sound decision. Most of the time, you will discover that your relationships serve as a confirmation of the direction God has given. People close to us serve as safety nets akin to what is placed to catch an acrobat or a performer in the event of a fall. The safety net gives the performer confidence to know that if they fall, they won’t get hurt, and they can get back up and perform again. Similarly, counselors give us the confidence to live with our decisions knowing they are there to catch us if we do fall. They also help us back on our feet to try again.

Final thought: Christian novelist C.S. Lewis remarked the following about decisions:

We are not living in a world where roads are radii of a circle and where all, 

if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually  nearer and finally 

meet at the  center; rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, 

 forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork, 

 you must make a decision.

It is by decisions that we write the story of our lives. Like I said at the beginning, the stakes are high when it comes to making decisions. The first decision to your next decision is to make a wise decision. 

Keep on Keeping on!

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