“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.” — Robert H. Schuller
The decisions we make today can have monumental impacts on our future. In a moment, we can decide to do something that will change the shape and trajectory of our lives. All it takes is a moment. In that single, solitary moment, you can decide to quit, give up, fall in love, get married, get divorced, have kids, move across country, start a business, or a million other things that can alter your life for years and decades to come.
In fact, those decisions seem rather simple to make. They seem to happen in a moment, suddenly hitting us like a ton of bricks from nowhere. However, those decisions don’t come from out of the blue. They don’t simply materialize into our lives. They build steam over time, working their way through our subconscious minds, searching for supporting evidence and clues to help ensure that we’re deciding to do the right thing.
As the greatest pattern recognition system in the world, the mind is always searching for clues. It’s always searching to support its decisions, while reinforcing its values and beliefs, whatever those might be. But the mind also has to be directed. It has to be focused towards one end or another. As the mind’s focus shifts, it looks for supporting evidence towards that end, gathering all the patterns it can recognize that will support its claims.
And that’s the power of focus in life. Focus can help us to decide to do something in life that will have a positive impact on our lives rather than a negative one. It can help us decide whether we want to do something at all or not do it. When the focus is a positive one, it helps lead to positive results. But, when the balance of our focus is negative and pointed towards negative things, the results are often negative.
However, if you’re trying to decide to do something in life or not to do it, there are some ways that will help you to determine how you should act. Big decisions are often very difficult to make. For example, things like divorce, changing careers, going back to school, getting married, moving across country, and so on, all involve so many different considerations that they often leave us perplexed and frustrated.
So how do you decide to do something or not in life? How do you make the tough decisions that could completely alter the state and quality of your life for years and decades to come? Clearly, it’s not simple nor is it easy. But it is possible when you take a few other considerations into mind. What you need to do is conduct a deep-down analysis of who you are and what you want out of life to ensure that your decisions are in harmony with that.
How Do You Decide To Do Something?
The basics of any decision often involve weighing whether or not something is good for us. We consider things like the impact on our families or careers, or how much of a lifestyle change something is going to enact and so on. However, if you’re faced with a major decision and you’re unable to decide one way or another, there are some back-to-the-drawing-board techniques that you can enlist.
#1 — What are your values and your beliefs?
The first thing you need to consider are your values and your beliefs when trying to decide to do something or not. What are your values? What do you believe in? How have those things been ingrained into your life over the years? For example, if you believe that all people are liars and cheaters, how can you possibly want to get married? Your values and beliefs will eventually surface once the honeymoon phase has passed, and it will have a detrimental impact on your relationship.
Take a sheet of paper and write down everything that you value and everything that you believe in. Think about the things that you heard as a kid growing up. Separate the sheet into two sides, using one side to write down your values and the other side to write down your beliefs. Take the time to really think about this. Take the time to really be thoughtful and exhaustive as you craft these lists.
Values would be things like love, contribution, respect for others, and so on. Beliefs would be things like money doesn’t grow on trees or you’re just big boned and people will always disappoint you if you let them. As you can imagine, as you begin to write these things down, you’ll be transported to another time and place. This will help you make your decision by looking for patterns in the past.
#2 — What are the potential pros and cons?
One great way to make big decisions is to list out all the potential pros and cons. What happens if you decide to act in a certain way? What if you lean in another direction? What are the potential positive outcomes of your decision? What about the negative ones? It often helps to see these things listed on a piece of paper in front of you, similar to how it helps to write out your goals if you’re serious about achieving them.
This will look almost like a spreadsheet similar to the last item. On the left side, write down the pros. What are all the positive outcomes that you can expect out of this decision? On the left side, write down all the cons? How can this decision adversely impact your life? What detrimental outcomes will it have on your potential state of being and existence in this world? Really take the time to think about it.
As you write these down, other ideas will spring into your mind and it will build momentum. With each pro or con, you’ll weigh your decision more carefully, giving you more feedback and points of references to help you decide one way or another on how you should act, especially when you’re in uncharted waters.
#3 — Good things come to those who wait
The mind processes upwards of 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts in a given day. Yes, that many. While some of those thoughts might be repeated, much of this occurs in the subconscious mind. The importance of this is to highlight that often making a big decision shouldn’t come in the heat of the moment. Let some time pass. Don’t make it under pressure or on a whim because you might feel sorry. Your subconscious will make the decision for you over time if you just give it a bit of breathing room.
While it might seem like a great idea at first, it’s often not wise to jump to a fast conclusion. Allow the ideas to marinate in your mind. Allow them to be weighted slowly. If you’re under the gun, then there’s not much you can do. But, big decisions are often made over time, not overnight. So, allow yourself to sit and marinate. Think about it for a while. Allow your mind to come up with references and points on its own.
You won’t always be privy to the conversation occurring in your subconscious. You won’t always be able to acknowledge the words that are being spoken in the depths and darknesses of your mind. But that’s okay. It’s still happening and the main goal of your mind is to ensure that you’re avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. The intentions of your subconscious are good in that manner and respect.
#4 — Why ask why?
Reasons are a powerful motivator for wanting to do something or not. What are your reasons? Why do you want something? What does it mean to you? We often want to do things for superficial reasons. However, in order to make true progress and achieve big dreams we need to ensure we’re doing things for the right reasons. Family, country, love, freedom and so on, are all part of the right reasons to do something. Figure out the deep-down reasons why you actually want something first, then decide.
When you set goals in life, your reasons are what push you through to achieving them. Every time I set a goal, I have to carefully analyze the reasons why I want something. When I want something badly enough, I always achieve it. Nothing can stand in my way. Surely, you’re the same. And if you think about situations in the past when you wanting something as badly as you needed to breathe the air to stay alive, you most certainly did it.
Ask yourself why. Dig deep down into the reasons. Then write them down. Don’t leave them in the abstract. Materialize those reasons on paper in front of you.This is an important part of the process if you’re serious about making a decision one way or another to do something. Don’t just think about this. Don’t just imagine it. Physically write it down.
#5 — What would a wise old man or woman advise you to do?
Imagine for a moment that you’re in a room with a wise old man or an old woman. This person has tremendous amounts of life experience and is an expert in all things. Imagine them sitting across from you right now. Imagine posing the question to them about your potential decision-making conflict. What would they say? How would they advise you to act? What are all the facts and figures that you would need to give them to be truly transparent?
This exercise is highly transformative if you’re honest with yourself about it. The truth is that you already have all the answers deep in your mind. They just need to be mined for just like you would search for gold in a mountainous crevice. So imagine this person in front of you and truly think about what they would look like. Do they have a long white beard? Is their skin drawn? Are there deep wrinkles and lines in their face?
The better you can imagine this person sitting before you, the more likely you’ll be to receive the advice from the invisible ether that binds us all. The universe is a powerful force. All the answers that you’re looking for already exist out there. You simply have to pull them out and beckon them to come to you. Like a magnet pulling in steel, it will come as long as you search for it and keep an open mind about things.