Monday, July 27, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

Love 'em or hate 'em, we're always having to make 'em. Decisions, decisions. Some are easy - cook dinner or go out, what color shirt to wear. Some can be life-changing - whether to go back to school, whether to move to a new city.

Sometimes when we have to make a decision about something, our contentment with life is an issue. We may be unhappy and decide we need to make some changes. So we have to figure out how to go about that. Sometimes we decide just to leave things the way they are. This isn't about how to make decisions, because I don't think there is any guide or how-to article that can help with that. We all know about weighing pros and cons, etc. At the end of the day, making a final decision about something is all on us. Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts; sometimes you just have to go for it.

It's not always easy, and sometimes decisions just end up being trying to determine which is the lesser of two evils. I always think of Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds talking to her students about choices and telling them that they always have the ability to choose. One of the students ends up arguing with her that they do not have a choice when it comes to being in class - if they leave class they'll get in trouble, but if they stay they have to put up with her. She tells him that while it may not be one he likes, it is still a choice. He does have the choice of whether to stay in class.

Then of course there are those things in life we don't get to decide because fate does that for us. But we can decide how we react and how we are going to deal with whatever fate has dished out. Fate may hand you an illness, or cause you to lose your job, but you can choose to be angry and bitter, or to have a positive attitude and press on with life.

The worst thing about having to make a decision is the possibility of regrets. We all make bad choices. The important thing is to learn from them and try to keep them from happening again.

Once in a while, we may find ourselves lamenting over a missed opportunity - the "road not taken". Beating yourself up over it is such a waste of time. More opportunities will always come along. It's better to focus on that positive fact than to dwell on the negative regret over the missed opportunity.

Every aspect of our lives is impacted by the decisions we make. While some are stressful, and we may even agonize over them, other decisions can be really easy, and there will always be those decisions we are really glad we made. Another great thing about making decisions is that it shows how many options are available to us, and options are a good thing.

Life is full of choices. It's wonderful that there are so many roads to take, and that we have the freedom to choose them.

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