Life is About Choices and the Decisions We Make
Have you ever received a gift which you felt wasn’t necessarily meant for you? One Christmas my husband and I received a portable GPS from our sons. At the time, I didn’t understand the need. The boys said every vacation we took, we somehow found a way to get lost while traveling and the GPS would come in handy. It was true; we often would get lost and a heated discussion would often ensue as to which way we should go to get back on track. However, what our sons didn’t realize was we often intentionally wandered from the beaten path to explore back roads and alternate routes to take in the scenery and the often-overlooked sights.
When reviewing this article and trying to help readers find meaning in it, I thought of our habit of getting lost while traveling and how similar this was to life’s journey. We often get lost as we experience life. We take risks and sometimes we lose our way simply because we wish to explore and take part fully in life. At other times, we may approach life and make decisions without the necessary tools at hand to guide us and lead us in the right direction!
It is true; life can be compared to a road. There are long and short roads, smooth and rocky roads, and crooked and straight ones. U will face many roads as U journey through life. There are roads that lead to fame and fortune on one hand, or isolation and poverty on the other. There are roads to happiness while other roads lead to sadness. Some roads will lead U towards victory and jubilation, and other roads may lead U to defeat and disappointment.
Just like any road, there are detours, switchbacks, U-turns, dead-ends and new road construction that happen in life, too. Perhaps the most perplexing and difficult road that U will encounter in life is a crossroad. With four directions to choose from and with limited knowledge on where the roads may lead, which road will U decide to take? What is the guarantee that U will choose the right path? Will U choose a road randomly or simply stay right where you are; parked at a crossroad?
There are no guarantees in life
U never know where a road will lead U until you take it. There are simply no guarantees. This is one of the most important things U must realize about life. Nobody said that choosing to do the right thing all the time will lead U to happiness. Loving someone with all your heart does not guarantee that love will be returned. Achieving fame, fortune and success does not guarantee happiness. There are too many situations and too many variables that U may encounter in life to make guarantees. Often, U are not in control of where life may lead. The only thing you do have power over are the decisions U will make, and how U will act and react to the situations you will face.
Hindsight is always 20-20
If U know U were about to make a decision that wasn’t in your best interest, would U have gone along with it anyways? Most likely not. After all, why would U choose a certain road if U knew U would end up lost? It is only after U have made a decision and reflected on it that U realize its soundness. If the consequences or outcomes are good for U, then U have decided correctly. Otherwise, U will realize your decision wasn’t in your best interest. U need to realize if the outcome isn’t what was expected, U can still learn from the experience.
Take the risk and decide
Since life offers no guarantees and U will never know if a decision you make is wrong until you have made it, then U might as well take the risk and decide. Right? If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. It is definitely better than keeping yourself in limbo and stuck at a crossroad. Lack of direction, decision making or movement will get you to the place you have always been; no further. Although it is true that one wrong turn could get U lost, it could also be that such a turn could be an opportunity for an adventure and lead you to new roads and paths to explore. It is all a matter of perspective. U have the choice between being a lost traveler or an accidental tourist of life. But take caution that U don’t make decisions haphazardly. Taking risks is not about being careless and irresponsible. U have a responsibility to yourself to weigh your decisions before taking action. Eventually, however, action must be taken if you wish to move forward in life and seek out new directions.
Here are some pointers that could help U choose the best options when facing life’s crossroads:
- Get as much information as you can about your situation.
You cannot find the confidence to decide when U know so little about what U are faced with. Just like any news reporter, ask the 5 W’s: what, who, when, where, and why. What is the situation? Who are the people involved? When did this happen? Where is this leading? Why am I in this situation? These are just some of the possible questions to ask to know more about your situation. This is important. Oftentimes, the reason for indecision is the lack of information about a situation.
- Identify, create and write down your options.
What options does the situation provide for U? Sometimes the options are few, but sometimes they are numerous. But what do U do when U think that the situation offers few, if any, options? This is when U need to spend time defining your options. From the most simplistic to the most complicated, entertain all ideas and possibilities. Do not shoot anything down when an idea comes to your head. Sometimes the most outrageous idea could prove to be the right one in the end. You can ask a friend to help U identify your options and even identify more possibilities for U. Just be sure to make the decision for yourself in the end.
- Weigh the pros and cons of every option.
Assess each option by looking at the advantages and disadvantages it offers U. Assess and write down the pros and cons of the situation. By doing this, U will begin to recognize the best path for U.
- Trust yourself and make a decision.
Once U have assessed your options, trust yourself. Remember that there are no guarantees and wrong decisions are always identified in hindsight. So choose… decide… believe that U are choosing the best option for U at this point in time.
- Now that U have made a decision, be ready to face its consequences: good and bad.
Your decision may take U to a place of promise or to a land of problems. But the important thing is that U have chosen to live your life instead of remaining a bystander or a passive audience to your own life. Whether it is the right decision or not, only time can tell. But do not regret it whatever the outcome. Instead, learn from it and remember that U always have the chance to make better decisions the next time around.
When on this road called life, arm yourself with all of the available tools to point U in the right direction. Recognize that all of the roads you choose in life may not lead U to where U want to be. They will, however, allow U to explore and discover the best and worst of what lies ahead.
Finally, if U are willing to explore, take risks, make mistakes, change directions and continue on your way the path will surely be more worthwhile than remaining in park and going nowhere.
“…I see myself at crossroads in my life, mapless, lacking bits of knowledge – then, the Moon breaks through, lights up the path before me…” ― John Geddes,