So often we define decisions as wise or unwise based on how painful the outcome will be. If things go against us then we say it was a bad decision. If they go in our favor, then we say it was wise. In reality bad decisions can work out and good ones can go sour. In the moment it can be difficult to choose, and the only thing that pushes us past indecision is our ability to say, can I live with the result.
Most people can’t. So they don’t choose to do the thing they know they should do because of how much it will hurt if it doesn’t go their way. We’re taught to be afraid of pain. It’s how our parents and teachers keep us safe enough to reach adulthood.
But, somewhere along the way we have to learn that safety is not the ultimate goal. Comfort will keep you in a safe place, but it will not help you grow. Personal atrophy will ultimately cause you more pain anyway. But, we choose to accept the known quantity of safety vs. the unknown of an outcome we cannot control.
In the end, you will find that the wisdom of a choice lies not in the outcome, but in the goal you are reaching for. The power of a choice is in making it. When we fail ourselves is when we do not have the strength to survive the pain of the outcome, or the fortitude to overcome what lies beyond it.
Keith Cunningham, author of the book “The Road Less Stupid”, Said in an interview on The One Thing Podcast that there are 3 questions that successful investors ask that most people do not, which I believe are also applicable in other parts of our lives:
- What’s the upside? This is the one everybody gets right. We love to fantasize about the upside. This is where daydreams live.
- What’s the downside? Most people never ask this and succumb to the irrational exuberance of optimism in answering the first question. Having never weighed the answer, they are often devastated by the unexpected outcome.
- Can I live with the downside? Therein lies the crux. Few people believe they can survive this outcome, this they live in paralysis, and never move forward.
This is why having goals is so important. As Gary Keller says, “The purpose of a goal is to be appropriate in the moment.” When you can own the moment you can own your future. When the moment owns you, your destiny is at the mercy of your circumstances and your emotions place it in jeopardy.
In short, seize the moment. Own your choices. Trust yourself and the God who created you. Often it is our response to situations that make a decision a wise one or a foolish one — not the choice itself. If God can trust you with the ability to choose then who are you to doubt that?
Go ahead. Decide.