We’ve all been in that place. You have a pretty good idea what must be done, but you can’t do it. You know it is the appropriate thing to do, but you just can’t act. You are stuck. You mull the circumstances over and over in your head, but still you don’t really do anything about it. You wait…wait for life to come along and work it out for you. Then you accept the outcome. There are times when this approach might be okay, perhaps even the best choice; but most of the time we just don’t have the courage to make a decision.
That’s what it boils down to, you know…courage. Well, I know that’s the case for me anyway. I have taken to examining myself at such times when I find it difficult to decide what best to do. My discovery is that, even when it is abundantly clear that one action is for the greater good, fear stops me from acting of my own will. I look at the “possible” consequences and I can’t bear to move forward. What about the other action? Well, the fallout of that might also be unbearable, so I don’t take that action either. I can’t stay where I am. I must do one of the other. Repeatedly I return back to the same fork in the road, and I don’t act on either one, hoping that the next time I return there would be more clarity. Sadly, clarity hardly comes. Eventually, when I do act, a lot more damage has been done than was necessary…damage that could have been avoided if I only had the courage to act sooner.
Well, more damage isn’t always done, one could argue. It’s true. Still, at the very least, you take away your control of the situation by becoming a victim. Surely that’s wrong, you say. What if you rush into a decision that you later come to regret? Wouldn’t it be better to consider things fully before you do something stupid? Once again, that’s correct. However, for most people, the consideration goes on for way longer than it should. If there is something else that should happen first, then that’s fine; but this is not the case either, for most people. It’s just that they don’t want to do what is necessary.
Making decisions is a key activity in taking control of your life. It’s a skill in itself. Some people seem to have the ability to do it better than others. For these people, it seems to be an innate ability. For others, well it requires development. You have to practice. You have to flex those “decision-making” muscles. You can’t afford to wait around for things to happen. You have to confront your fear…fear of failure and of missed opportunities.
In order to develop the ability to act when the situation demands it, it’s ironic that the best ally is a more “passive” resource. It’s acceptance. When you can learn to accept life, then you are able to do more without being paralyzed by fear. Think about it. You can’t control everything. This is a fact. You can’t see the future (unless you are psychic or something, in which case skip this); another fact. You will make mistakes in life; but you can recover and move on. Accept all of this and you’re well on your way to being able to make tough decisions.
Acceptance is not so difficult. You do it all the time. Do you drive? Well, if you do, you have to take it for granted that the driver coming from the opposite direction is not a lunatic who is going to run into you. If you’ve ever crossed the street at a Traffic Light, or gotten in a car with someone else driving, then you’re doing a lot of accepting. How do you do it? Well, you don’t have a choice. You have to get to where you’re going. You wouldn’t get there if you refuse to get in a car because you are afraid you might crash. It’s a risk you have to take because you are convinced that it there is almost no choice.
Well, how about applying that acceptance to your decision? There are no guarantees in life (generally speaking). You might have made a mistake, but at least you had the courage to choose. And who’s to say you wouldn’t have gotten struck by lightning if you had taken the other path. You just can’t know that it would have been better if you hadn’t acted as you did. Accept this as well. It will give you confidence. Trust me, with confidence; you are already half-way to your destination.
So step up to the plate. Choose. Don’t be a victim of circumstance. You can do so much more knowing that you are responsible for the choices that have delivered you to where you are in life.