The Magic of Making Good Decisions
Would you be interested in learning how to become a master wizard, like Harry Potter, to cast the spells of “MAKING GOOD DECISIONS” so you can create solid results in your life?
Tough news is, there isn’t a Hogwarts nearby (as if "nearby" meant anything in the realm of magic). Good news is all of us can learn the magic of how to make good decisions.
Wait, why is this important?
Look around at anyone who has consistent and solid results in their life and career, consistency in their relationships and expressions (philanthropy, public speaking, environmentalism, etc.) and deep sacred connection to their art and hobbies. Look at the people you admire and look up to. More often than not, you will find they all have a refined decision making process… they are extremely clear about what they do, and why they do it.
Candidly, I can look back over my many years and, while I have made good decisions along the way, I have a very clear memory of almost all of the poor decisions I have ever made. That's the way we encode "failure" , we remember that oh so very well - more on that another time.
In some of those poor decisions, more than once, I left millions of dollars on the table from not showing up in my fullest presence and power. I have crashed companies, ended relationships, and walked away from love and opportunities that would have significantly altered my destiny, and so on.
Can you relate?
I thought, or at least acted like, I knew what I was doing, but really, in almost all of those situations, I was letting my fears, false beliefs, and emotions sit in the driver's seat of my life.
I made those poor decisions from a place of not understanding what decision-making is, and not knowing how to honor and hold sacred the process of truly showing up in the present moment and choosing the next path of my life . That's what decision-making is really about.
In this day and age where so much happens in our lives happens so quickly, and it seems that everything is on the line across our world, the art and skill of making good decisions has never been so important.
A decision will alter your life, and the path of many lives, in but a moment.
Here’s the beauty: making good decisions is a process. A process you can learn, and you can refine as long as you are attentive to it.
When you get really good at making decisions, it becomes an art, and your life becomes art as well, supported by all the good decisions you have made along the way.
Thus, ‘decision-making’ is a skill worth examining much more closely.
To decide means choosing choosing one option over another; the root of decide comes from 'cis' and its latin roots of '-cide', which means 'cut' or 'kill'.
Yet, decision-making is deeper, and more complex, than that singular act. It is the process of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values, preferences and beliefs of the decision-maker.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
So, first, decision-making is a process, not a result. Since you are going to make tens of thousands of decisions over your life, and your life literally depends on them, it is important to actively examine how you make decisions. It’s time to define, then actively refine, your decision making process.
Just as if you were a guitarist, or an athlete, you hone and refine your skills again and again to become good, world class, or a virtuoso. I personally love skiing, kiteboarding, and playing guitar to name a few hobbies. Honing these skills requires you play the scales, you ski the slaloms, and run the moguls again and again, to learn HOW to BE present in the situations and, ultimately, to cause your decision making process to be reflexive and automatic.
That's refining the decision making process: You know it's a skill and a behavior you are learning, and developing. Your behavior is how you make decisions, the space and attention you bring to it, and your clarity and stance you hold as you make decisions. The skill is in the execution and follow through, being 100% committed to what you decided, and engaging with your full energy and spirit. All of it together is a process.
Second, a decision is a choice between alternate paths. You first identify the alternatives paths, evaluate them, and THEN choose between them. The paths are paths. Each has an unfolding, that just like in a movie, they can play out in so many ways.
Often we make decisions without really examining the PATHS available to us as we decide.
Imagine the breadth and depth of your discernment and wisdom if you just took an extra five or ten minutes and wrote down and painted out the alternate paths that were in front of you before you made a decision.
Over time you would have such an ability to see down these alternate paths, to such a level of detail, it would be like superman having X-ray vision. Even though it may not change which path you choose, it would be astounding and would truly serve your life. That’s the skill that is developed from looking into the alternate paths.
Third, the alternate paths you are able to generate are based on your beliefs, values, and preferences.
Let’s first look at beliefs. What a big topic, and yet so simple too. Beliefs are what you create to explain the world in each and every moment. You position yourself in relationship to the world and everything in it with beliefs: E.g.: “Those people are good/bad, nice/mean. I am good/bad. That’s fair/unfair. I am/that’s beautiful/ugly.” You get the idea. Notice how your beliefs affect everything.
Beliefs are like little bubbles wrapping around you and all of your interactions. Based on your beliefs, you allow some things toward you, and some things you keep away.
Notice that the moment you look at your beliefs and ask the question ‘is that really true, or is it just my representation of reality?”, you will find more often than not they are merely representations you created so you could fit into and be accepted in your current world, and function more easily. Realizing this you will know your beliefs are at the center of your decision making process, and you can now take the time to widen, upgrade, and up-level your existing belief-set. By doing so you ensure that room for growth, new experiences, and the ability for new opportunities and synchronicity to arrive, are baked into the new chosen path of your life.
E.g.: Maybe you think you are unworthy and believe that what you deeply desire can never happen for you. It turns out over 30% of the population is considered to have some version of this belief. If that is operating in you at some level, and you are not consciously present to that belief operating within your decisions, the decisions you make automatically eliminate the opportunities for abundance and success and all you truly desire. You already self-selected a much smaller possible future.
What if, instead, you became present to the core beliefs that you are operating from, and up-leveled them. What if you choose to believe that you too deserve the best life has to offer, and also choose that you will only make decisions that incorporate that frame and the belief of your worth and right to all that life has to offer?
Without question, your decisions will be entirely different, and the results from your decisions, and the new emerging path of your life, will begin to yield entirely new results.
Ask and it is given. Seek and ye shall find.
The power inherent in beliefs is what creates POSSIBILITIES, not guarantees. Remember you are choosing between PATHS of life. You want to maximize the possibilities of what can occur. Thus, before you evaluate and then choose (create) the next part of your path, you need to know what your beliefs are as you are about to decide, and upgrade them if they are obsolete and antiquated.
Next, look at the values you bring to your decision making. Values are the principles and standards of behavior you hold yourself to, are willing to be held accountable to, and are willing to champion, in the world. Do you have a clear map of your values?
No, really, do you?
If I were to ask you what are the five most important values you live by and presence in your evaluations when you make a decision, could you speak them out loud?
It's easy to think that we know what our values are, yet a good examination will reveal in very short order how hypocritical we can be given a small shift in context.
Ever get road rage? Even a little bit? So what are your values in that moment? Ever lose patience with a loved one? See how quickly your values, your standards of behavior, can change based on the situation and CONTEXT.
If you look deep enough you will see that at the root of the challenges we face in life, almost always, one or more of our values are being tested in each situation. Especially in the fast-paced interactive world we live in. That's why having clarity around the values you rely on for life and your decision making is so crucial and so critical.
What are the values you hold dear and must be represented in ANY decision you make? Get clear on how the highest version of you wants to live in the world, and the values that version of you lives by, and bring those into your process. Can you feel how your process is getting more defined, by bringing that you to the table? With such clarity, can you see how easy it will be to refine your process along the way as well?
Now let's blend in your preferences. Notice that you can apply your preferences to your values. E.g.: You like when people are very respectable to each other and only talk in soft voices. That's a preference on the value of respectful communication. Notice that how strongly you hold onto your preferences will determine what is possible on the paths in front of you. Too rigid a set of preferences, and you limit what is possible in the dynamic flow and flux of life, by being overly controlling. If you have too loose a set of preferences, anything can happen and your unique imprint, color, touch, flavor, sensibility, etc., is not accounted for in what is possible, because anything goes.
So be clear on what you prefer and why ( as they are linked to values and beliefs).
Once you decide on a path, and you take the first step, the path comes into existence.
Simply, results are created by the decisions we make and the actions we take. If you've never stopped to look and really examine your decision making process, you'll get unexamined results and keep wondering why that "thing" keeps happening to you. If you define and refine your process that CREATES the paths of your life deliberately and intentionally, what becomes possible now?
The time to "up-level" you is now.
So, here’s the Jedi move to up-level every part of your decision making process right now: just look inside and presence the person you want to be, and have always wanted to be.
Take a few minutes to really elaborate their beliefs, their values, and their preferences.
Get REALLY CLEAR. Write down their beliefs, then their values, and then their preferences so you come face to face with them, so you know what you would/will do. So you know how you would/will act. So you know what you would/will stand for. So you know how you would/will approach making decisions, and how would/will refine your decision making process.
Now, allow yourself to feel life and living from that place. Give yourself a real five minutes, uninterrupted, with high concentration, focus, attention, and intention. For real: Give it to yourself.
Can’t you now feel that all you have ever dreamed of, can come into existence from that new way of being. Can you now feel that you are bringing a different level of intentionality and care to decide the paths of your life? That’s the stance from which clear decisions are made.
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen - Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, let's look up from this conversation and see this world that we’re in right now. There are a lot of really tremendous breakthroughs in technology, medicine, health, sustainability, regeneration, and so many other fields all across this planet. These come from beliefs, values, and preferences of making the world a better place, caring for others, contribution etc.
You can just tell.
There is also a litany of destruction that has come from decision-making with a very narrowly defined beliefs, values, and preferences. Far fewer benefits to human-kind are coming from there. You can often tell what the beliefs, values, and preferences were in those decisions; winner takes all, my way or the highway, us vs. them, and so on.
Regardless of your political beliefs, we all know things are not as good as they could be right now and that things are really not feeling that good on lil’ planet earth.
More than anything this tells you that the decision making process we are witnessing in our leaders, communities, and in ourselves as members of this society, is largely unexamined, and has room for growth.
Part of being a leader in the world is about making good decisions.
So it is with having and living a happy life.
One of the greatest contributions you can make to your life, and to all life, is to make better decisions, and make your decisions like they really matter to you. The inherent power of making good decisions is that they open new pathways of creation. Those pathways are not just for a moment in time, and they are not just for you.
Good decisions create pathways that are like rivers that flow far and long, and nourish everything in their wake. Great things can be created along the river. Life flourishes on its banks. All come to drink from those waters. Let your decisions be the rivers that feed you and the world, and watch your life unfold like never before.
So, what are the decisions you have coming up in your life? In your career? In your relationship?
You don’t need a magic wand. You already are all the magic you need.
Tighten up your process, and who you are being, and let the magic of you and your decision-making process do the work of creating the river of your life and your gifts to the world!
Row Row Row Your Boat, Gently Down the Stream, Merrily Merrily Merrily, Merrily, Life is But a Dream.