Posts Tagged: decision


19
Aug 13

Can I have a decision mulligan?

.

Welcome back.

A couple of entries ago I talked about the dangers and consequences of being indecisive.  Today I want to poke around at the dangers of making decisions too quickly.

There are two ends to the decision continuum.  Everyone has suffered the consequences of being indecisive about something or making a decision too quickly.  Even though we have been guilty of both we tend to gravitate to one end of the decision continuum or the other.

Our default toward one end of the continuum or the other is what we need to explore in more depth.  Which end of the continuum do you tend to be… too slow in making decision or too quick?

Let’s dig into the challenges and consequences for being too quick.

.

Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.

- Sophocles


.

Haste is of the Devil.

- St. Jerome

.

I don’t think haste is necessarily of the devil but it will get you in trouble.  But St Jerome looks like he is a little preoccupied with the devil.

Those who are too quick in making decisions are the toughest to get to honestly explore the downside of their behavior… and for good reason.  The world seems to reward quick decisions.

But allow me to dissect this a bit.  I hate to burst your bubble but it’s not the decision that society rewards but the timely action.  Action is honored.

Some of you are saying that fast decisions and action cannot be separated.  Not so.  They can and should be separated.

Yes, timely action is critical.  I have written several times about the power and importance of action.  Do not wait… do it now.  But it is important to take the right amount of time in the decision that drives the action.

Most decisions in life are pretty simple.  You look at the circumstances, examine the important factors, make a decision, and act.

But there are some decisions that require time.  I am not talking about stepping back and waiting weeks and months, but an intentional step back to weigh the options and implications.

Have you ever wished you could have a Mulligan on a decision you made in haste?  Unfortunately life does not give us a “do over”.  We suffer the consequences.

I personally have found that the decisions that require the most thoughtful introspection are those that involve close relationships, long-term impact or tests my core values.  Most of us will slow down when faced with decisions along these lines.

But the dangerous decisions are those we are faced with that seem fairly elementary and simple on the surface but are tied directly to big life issues.

This is where being too quick to make decisions really hurts.  We don’t slow down enough to hear or listen to our discernment that warns us that the seemingly small issue has broader and deeper implications.

.

Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.

- Earl Monroe

.

Yes, be quick but don’t hurry your decisions.

Ciao… see you Thursday.


10
Aug 12

Good Bad Decisions and Bad Bad Decisions

.

Yes, the picture is disturbing.   And yes, I agree with what it says.

I also find myself asking the question, “Why did she have to make it so LARGE?”

.

Consider every mistake you do make as an asset.
- Paul J. Meyer
.

.

Hummmmm… I don’t think so.  Not in this case.

Thankfully most of our bad decisions don’t involve being permanently inked for public display.

But my guess is that you have done something and immediately wondered… what the hell was I thinking!!!?

I guess we all have.

.

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
- Franklin P. Jones
.

The natural follow-up question is, do you have a tendency to repeat the idiocy?

Most of us could probably say yes to this also.  Wow… the ignorance of youth.

But let’s be real for a moment.  There are mistakes, and there are MISTAKES.

Failure and mistakes are a part of living that provides learning and context to life.

These are life experiences that bring dimension and perspective.  We really are better off by the mistake made.  These mistakes shape us.

.

The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you’ll make one.
- Elbert Hubbard
.

But unfortunately there are mistakes that trap us.  Instead of being a positive the negative mistake becomes our identity.

There is no question that we make mistakes and there are consequences for our decision.  But having consequences does not mean that the mistake becomes who we are and the trajectory of our lives is permanently altered.

The kind of mistake that traps us must be put in its place.

Whatever you have done, no matter how bad, it is NOT your identity.  You do not have to live under the shadow of the failure.

I hope and pray that over the next couple of days you have a keener sense of how you see your identity.

I think we will unpack that a bit more.

Ciao… See you Monday.


13
Feb 12

A Person of Action

.

Howdy, welcome back.

Just so you know, the picture above really doesn’t have a lot to do with today’s topic.  I thought it was an interesting picture… and who knows… maybe this blog is a sign for someone.  Maybe you?

After I wrote about the perils of indecision in the last posting I figured I had better give equal time to the dangers at the other end of the decision continuum…  Decisions made too quickly.

If you read the last entry you know my bias.  I believe that a person is better served in life if they make decisions quickly.

That is to say, make thoughtful decisions without unnecessary delay.  The unnecessary delay is the deadly trap of the indecisive person.

Now there are a lot of people who take making quick decisions to the extreme.  They knee-jerk their way through life creating a lot of unnecessary destruction along the way.

.

.

They react to the whim of the moment and make a snap decision.  Unfortunately some of the snap decisions are correct and it validates the delusion that their decision making process is correct.

.

Side Note: The same can be said about those that are indecisive.  They hold off on making a decision and something turns our right.  This, in their mind, justifies their indecisiveness.

Remember, “We look for evidence to validate our beliefs.”

.

Here’s the key.  We should act with thoughtful diligence… not react.

There’s a big difference between Act vs. React.

In their purest form these two terms are very distinct.

Act is a controlled, measured response to something that happens, a stimulus.

React is an uncontrolled response to the stimulus.

But, like all things that involve people, few things are completely pure in their meaning.  People tend to work in shades of gray.

Some people split hairs by saying that they just make quick decisions and are fully in control - as they grab for something totally out of their butt.

And many people can make quality decisions in an instant because they have a handle on the situation.

Act does not mean slow.

The bottom line is this.  Anyone reading this blog entry has enough life experience to know where they tend to fall on the IndecisionDecision continuum.

You know if you usually drag your feet in making a decision or if you tend to be too hasty in your decisions.

Either end of the continuum is a destructive place.  There are consequences for being too slow or too fast.

The sobering reality is this.  The consequences of these styles of decision making are not limited to just the individual.  There is usually collateral damage.

So with all this blather about decision making, I have two questions.

Where do you tend to fall on the continuum?  Honestly.

What’s your decision about decisions?

Your response to the second question will tell you a lot about the first.

See you Thursday.


10
Feb 12

I’ve Decided to be Indecisive

.

Yes, I am a day late with my blog entry.  Sorry about that.

I started this blog about ten times on ten different topics.  All of them were totally lame.

So as you can see by the picture and title, I finally decided to write about indecision.

.

“The highways of life are full of flat squirrels who couldn’t make up their minds.”

-          Unknown

What I thought was going to be a fun, light topic to just poke at and possibly entertain myself (and hopefully you), has turned into a remarkably serious topic… Indecision.

We all fall somewhere on the decision – indecision continuum.  And let’s face it; we all have times of indecision.

But if we are honest with ourselves we all tend to lean on one direction or the other… one who tends to put off decisions or one who makes decisions quickly.

.

I’ve never been able to plan my life. I just lurch from indecision to indecision.
- Alan Rickman (aka Snape of Harry Potter fame)
.

.

So, what’s your tendency?  I hope you do not lean toward indecision.

I think we all agree that being able to make quick sound decisions are important for success.  What I don’t think we realize is how destructive indecision can be.

Indecision is not only destructive, but dangerous.  Just ask a squirrel.

In all honesty, squirrel jokes are about the only fun or light thing I can make of the topic of indecision.

.

.

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.
- William James
.

.

.

The quote above is a pretty strong statement.  I don’t know if I go quite as far as saying that “there is no more miserable human being” but I believe the basic premise to be spot on.

But here’s the seriousness of the matter.  Life is not static.  It is in motion… constant motion… like a car moving down the road while the squirrel is dancing back and forth trying to make up its mind.

Unlike the car that tries to swerve or stop, life will not break for you.  We have to be able to make up our mind and move. 

If you don’t make a decision and move you become the roadkill on life’s road.

.


I, like you, don’t want to make a mistake.  I think that’s natural.

Not making a decision because of fear of making a mistake… is a mistake.

If you make thoughtful choices quickly (I’m not talking about knee jerk decisions) you have many more options to choose from.

The longer you wait, your options are diminished.  And if you wait long enough the decision is made for you because there are no other choices.

Then you can salve your psyche with the rationalization that failure wasn’t your fault because circumstances dictated the action.

.

.

Indecision and delays are the parents of failure.
- George Canning
.

.

So I’m going to ask you a pretty heavy, yet important question.

What decision should you make today that you have been putting off?

.

You notice I said should make and not need to make.

If I said need, some of you would justify not making a decision because its not at a NEED point.  Should is a different matter.

Some of you reading this know exactly what I mean.  There is something pressing and you know you should make a decision.

This may sound odd, but I encourage you to make a decision about making a decision.

I’m serious.  I was not trying to use a silly play on words.

Make a decision today about making a decision.

Since we are talking about decisions, I hope you decide to visit me again on Monday.

Ciao.


20
Dec 11

Christmas is H _ _ _ !

Sorry if the title threw you.

But allow me to be a bit brash for a moment.  The title only threw you depending on what letters us used to fill in the blanks.

I have to admit, the set up was for you to assume the word intended was “HELL”.  This was to stir you up a little… and make a point.

The reality is, we as humans have this amazing ability to automatically fill in the blank spaces of life with our assumptions and beliefs.   Then our emotions and actions follow based on what we assume or believe.

There must be something within us that demands that things be complete or whole.  We can’t even stand physical space to be vacant… we have to fill it with a plant, chair, picture or something.

I am not saying this is a bad thing necessarily, except when we fill the void with the wrong information or belief.

There are two troubling aspects of the tendency to “fill in the blanks”.

First is the sad reality that if there is a void to be filled the default tends to be something negative.  I work with a lot of different companies and invariably when there is a void of information people automatically assume the negative.

The default is to distrust vs. trust or assume the worst vs. the best.

Now people will argue that there is good reason to distrust or assume the worst – maybe, maybe not.

All I know is that an inordinate amount of energy (emotional and physical) is lost on negative assumptions when the majority of time the intent or reality was not negative at all.

The other troubling aspect is that we most often “fill in the blanks” in regards to other people.  This is where it gets really messy.

And let’s face it.  We make assumptions about people all the time based on inadequate information.  We question there motives or intents.

How many times have you seen someone become offended, get their feelings hurt or just get angry (I was going to say pissed off but I thought my wife would not like it) by the actions or inactions of another person?

The saddest thing about it is that the other person meant nothing by it.

We, without thinking, fill in gaps with our assumptions – good or bad.

Just so you know, I have my fair share of faults.  I struggle with goofy things that hinder my effectiveness as a business person, husband or friend.

With that said, I am very thankful that one of the issues I tend not to struggle with is automatically assuming the worst or the negative.

I generally suspend judgment or decide not to take something personally.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have a hard time understanding why people automatically gravitate to the negative assumption with incomplete information.

Maybe I’m too self serving and selfish (or completely naïve) to get all worked up and spend negative energy based on incomplete data.

.

I think a lot of times we don’t pay enough attention to people with a positive attitude because we assume they are naive or stupid or unschooled.

- Amy Adams
.

.

What I am about to say may really sound weird or naïve.  Even if I do have some basis to believe the other person may have meant something negative by their behavior… I generally decide not to be bothered.

I decide.

I intentionally make a decision not to take something personally.  Even if the person happened to have negative intent I don’t want to give them the power of impacting my life.

I’m sure that I may be coming across a bit arrogant or (God forbid) self-righteous.  I don’t mean to be.  I have no room for self-righteousness because I have plenty of other demons that keep me humble.

The next time you are faced with a void of information… decide.

Now back to the title.  What is another “H” word that would fit?

Humm… I will talk about it on Thursday.


23
Jun 11

To Believe or NOT to Believe… That is the Question

.

Howdy, glad to have you visit.

We continue the saga of the arm tattoo.  I am sure that when the picture was taken of the arm tattoo the person never dreamed that a series of blogs would be written.

Side Note: If you are just joining us or you haven’t visited in a while you really need to take a look at the picture.  After you see it you will understand why.

Just scroll down the page four blogs to the June 9th entry.

.

Dissecting the Arm Quote: (continued)

“Being told you are a worthless piece of shit and not believing it…

.

It’s interesting… every time I type and read this quote I am repulsed.

In my apparent small narrow world, it is hard for me to grasp that there are people who intentionally impose this destructive of a message on another person.  I know it’s true, but still hard to grasp because it is so foreign to me.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to crawl into that person’s head.  The hate, anger and blackness must be immense to spew such a vile message with the intent to destroy.  Baffling.

Sorry, I got sidetracked from the positive lesson for us all to learn.  We have talked about the messages we all receive (“Being told you are…”); the types of messages we receive (“…a worthless piece of shit…”); and the decision point of what we do with those messages (“…and…”).

Today we look at the decision.  The decision of this person was NOT to believe the message.

Do you realize how difficult it is NOT to believe a repetitive negative message?

It’s sad but true; the nature of humans is to lend more weight to negative messages than to positive.  It is the way we are bent.

I am sure each one of you can bring to remembrance a critical statement someone made more easily than a positive statement.

Who knows, maybe I am the only sick person on this earth ship that focuses on the negative too quickly.  What I do for a living requires me to be in front of people in a training or facilitation role.  If the session has evaluation sheets you can imagine what I look at first.

As you can guess, all the evaluations are jammed pack with carefully crafted messages about how amazingly wonderful the session was and how they sat in awe of my incredible skills.  Of course there are the four or five evaluations that are covered with hearts, XOXOXO, and “I want to have your baby” sentiments.

Just kidding, just kidding.  Yes, I get compliments but I immediately go to the criticisms.  I like to say that I want to improve my skills… but it may be more of a morbid curiosity.

The point is, we naturally lean toward and gravitate to the negative.

Every one of us has a decision to make… a choice.  Do we believe the message?

The person with the tattoo made a decision.  A decision NOT to believe the message.

It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.

- Anthony Robbins

.

Side Note: I can’t believe I just used a Anthony Robbins quote.  I am literally sitting here with my mouth open in amazement.  But the quote is good and it fit.

I am sorry to all of you who are Anthony Robbins fans but… I just can’t stomach him.  I don’t know what it is but there is something about his teeth and smile that I find kind of spooky.  And loose the goatee.

.

Now here will be the real test.  When Anthony Robbins reads this blog, as I am sure he will, he will make a decision about what I said about him.

Since I am an internationally known blogist (I assume that is a word) and what I have to say is so piercingly accurate, he will probably crawl off in the corner for a good cry.

That is, unless he believes his own quote.  The messages and events don’t shape us… it’s what we decide to believe.

I will talk more about beliefs in the next blog on Monday.

Ciao.


23
Sep 10

Arms Full & Dropped Keys

Hi, good to have you hang out with me for a few minutes.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day.  He was sharing all the things going on in his life, the challenges and opportunities.  After I left him it became clear to me that his arms were full and he had dropped his keys.

What I mean by this is that he was loaded with so much he couldn’t go anywhere.

“You can do anything you want but not everything you want.”

- Roger Merrill

I will attempt to make some practical sense of what I am trying to say.

This blog journey I started in January is simply an expedition in the larger journey of my life.  The blog takes a lot of arm space but it continues to be well worth the effort because I know that it enhances the greater.

At some point I may drop the blog.  Anything you drop is because of one of two reasons… design or default.

  1. Design: The item had served its use and now’s time set it aside and move on.  This is an intentional act of release.
  2. Default:  It fell because my arms were too full to carry it all.

I find that life is a series of choices.  There is the constant cycle of taking on and letting go as we roll forward to our desired destination.  For example, I have acquaintances that I enjoyed but they are no longer an active part of my life.  Our lives crossed, we were both enhanced by our relationship but time, distance and personal journeys have taken us to a different place.  These are fond memories and a thoughtful reminder that life rolls on.

This principle is not only true with people we have known but with activities, hobbies, clubs, etc.

The Sobering Question

What do we carry in our arms?  I’m serious.  This is the tough question we must all ask.

You see, we only have a limited capacity and so we must choose carefully what we carry with us and what we set aside.  This ongoing process of daily choices determines whether we move forward vibrant, alive, energized and growing; or we fall prey to arms being overloaded which slows us with strain, drain and insipid existence.

Sad Reality

Here’s the scary one (It’s scary because it is so very real).  Unfortunately, if not careful, we carry something in our arms that not only take up space but literally prevents us from moving forward (dropped keys).

These are things that have negatively happened in our lives that we continue to carry forward.  These things do not get smaller but in fact enlarge and continue to displace good things and will only get worse until a DECISION is made to jettison the load.

What types of things am I talking about?  Things like…

  • A past failure
  • Missed opportunity
  • Lost love
  • Bitterness or resentment
  • Our sack of rocks (see blog on March 4, 2010)
  • Self-hate
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Name your own

This is why the blog I write is so important to me.  I had to jettison some fears to be able to pick my dropped keys and get moving.  As I said earlier, at some point in time this blog will have served its purpose and  it will be time for me to set it down and joyfully add something to my arms that takes me forward.

So I will continue to peck away on this blog and enjoy the beautiful scenery as I roll forward.  So I encourage you to drop something, pick up the keys and get going.

Ciao.  See you Monday.