Personal Growth - Make up your mind
by Deepti R Paikray
I am currently at a crossroads in my life. Perhaps writing on the process of decision-making will percolate a viable solution into my yet-not-forty grey cells. If you are a reluctant decision-maker like me, then you spend one-fourth of your life weighing options, another quarter confusing everyone including yourself about which one to choose, a third quarter in limbo and the last quarter bearing the horrendous consequences of a decision left simmering too long.
In my book a decision can only be made when the solution stands out, much like a king crab amongst a pile of common crabs. But how elusive this clarity is. Is there a process whereby we can arrive at this clarity? And if so, what could it be?
Customarily, the issues that promise or threaten to alter the texture of life itself, goading us to step out of comfort zones, are the ones that elude resolution. I am referring to deeper decisions, such as those involving career changes, or location transfers – thorny options involving not only oneself but others, where the heart and the head spar while the referee of life looks on part gleeful, part helpless.
Such decisions are difficult because of the possibility of family dissent, or because society will not approve of our choices, of because it may involve compromising our own needs. The tension between pleasing the self and pleasing others is, after all, a key issue in most of our lives. Fear clouds our choices. Hugh Prather, spiritual minister and author of Notes to Myself, suggests that we make decisions from a space of peace, and not a fretful, worrisome place. His nugget of insight, “To make good decisions we must train ourselves to focus on our state of mind rather than on the unanswered question.”
Is this you?
Steve Pavlina, a self-help author and motivational speaker, pierces through the cloud of uncertainty with ease and proficiency. Steve tells us that “decisions are acts of self- expression”, and for each option we enlist we have to ask ourselves, “Is this really me?” To what degree does each option reflect the real us or an extension of our true selves? The option reflecting our beliefs and core self will become the right decision, even if the path ahead is as rocky as the lunar surface. This effective decision-making technique embraces the most banal as well as the most pivotal of situations, ranging from grocery- and furniture- shopping to career resolutions and companion selection.
If shopping, begin to look for “yourself” in the object you need to acquire. When perplexed, add a few attributes to the subject whether it be furniture, shirt, vegetable, food, job, or even a fiancée or companion. For instance, a piece of furniture may be solid, dependable, have an old-world charm or funky, unpredictable and contemporary. Is the companion you are dating, a room-brightener, sparkly and adorable or is she fixated and pernickety? Do these qualities find a resonance in your personality? Do you now want to make it a part of your life? Interestingly, as we proceed to acquire possessions, lifestyle, and friends, guided by the “Is this me?” chant, by osmosis, their positive qualities strengthen our good attributes. And if the choice is to be made by a couple then the question would generously expand to “Is this really us?” I find this technique more heart-centric than head, giving the decision a greater weightage than just logic.
Decisions free us, and help us to lead our lives in a more purposeful manner. And when made in the way Pavlina suggests, they can ensure that we are not influenced by external factors such as peer pressure, parental influence or simply, impulse.
Earlier when a situation called for decisive action I shut myself in a room, lit a candle, went down on my knees, did a full count of the rosary and hoped the storm would pass by my door. It didn’t. I am now learning to confront the beast head-on, ignoring the whiplashes of fear and confusion. Moving quietly into the shrine of faith, it became a lot easier to move forward on an unknown path. The space around decisions is permeated by another ‘D’ word called discipline. It augers discipline of spirit to make a decision, discipline of mind to cling to it like a leech, and discipline of intent to carry it through.
However, there are some situations where the decision-making is not in our hands. Then do what I do, and turn it over to God. Nowadays, I find myself dwelling upon a numinous Native American poem the universe decided to slip under my doorway, a verse gently nudging us along the decisive path of life.
We have been telling the people that This is the eleventh hour Now we must go back and tell the People that this IS the Hour
Here are the things that must be considered: Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relations? Where is your water?
Know your garden. It is time to speak your truth.
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