Better Decisions for a New Year

Know your talents, passion and ability and then prepare so you can make decisions that can accomplish goals.

Prepare yourself to make better decisions in 2014

Welcome, Willkommen, Bienvenu 2014.  Never thought you would make it, but here we are.  And it’s time for better decisions for a New Year!

Millions of people have no idea who they are or why they are here. So many of us wander in mental oblivion, making wrong decisions and watching our world crumble before our eyes, and not even knowing why. If you need statistics, all you have to do is examine the number of divorces in your county (approximately 2 out of 3 marriages end in divorce), number of murders in the past six months, assaults by juvenile delinquents who are being brought up by confused parents who have no idea how to raise their children, theft and robberies, war, and I could go on and on, and so could you. No one who gets married expects a divorce.  No one who gives birth expects their child to be a delinquent.  So what is the problem?  It is the refusal through trial and error to make decisions and learn from our wrong decisions how to make and perform the right choice.  And of course, the results reveal that all of this is unsuccessful decision making. A simple examination of who you are and why you are making wrong decisions could turn this troubling trend around in no time, and sometimes the solution is no further than a simple change of your mind.

One of our biggest problems is that we assume everything is going to turn out all right without any planning or making of definite decisions that affect our future and the future of those who depend on us.  The essence of Critical Living is making decisions, and too many of us think that we can avoid these decisions, simply because we do not have the courage to say “Yes” or “No.”  It’s time for us to step up to the plate and take our personal swing at the ball.

Before you even begin to wrestle with the process of making successful decisions, you need to understand your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Where are you trying to go? It is your goal that will determine your behavior, and if your goal is wrong, is it possible that you need to change your goal? And you spend your time and your life at the place that you have targeted as a goal.

If your goal is to rob a bank, (don’t be stupid!) you may spend a lot of time at that bank studying the activity so you know how to rob it. If your desire is to get a college degree, you will spend a lot of time at the college getting the credits that make it possible to get your degree. If your goal is to get a significant other, you will spend time getting to know the person in which you find an interest. Whatever your goal determines your behavior. If you have not clarified your goal, then you are wandering in a world of personal emptiness, uncertain what target you are supposed to hit.  And like a boat without a rudder, you wander in a mindless sea.  At least if you made a wrong decision, you could learn from it and get direction.  Most of us have no personal direction.  Go to work; go home; eat supper; watch TV; go to bed.  No goals, no reason to live.  If you don’t make a comprehensive plan to make more money than you are making right now, you will make the same amount or less than what you are presently making.

Don’t you want to do better next year?  Don’t you need a plan?

You must match your goals to the decision you are making, determining first if your goal is worthwhile, and then why there are problems that need decisions because of the activity that is bringing you to your goals. And now you are ready to deal with the problem by going through the decision process.  Expert decision makers can go through this process quickly and solve many problems, both theirs and others, and they become known for their wisdom. Too many people rely on impulse or intuition to make their decisions, which ultimately causes us to experience divorce, or delinquency, or war. And many besides just the decision makers live with the consequences. If we walk before we run, if we slow ourselves down to determine the good and bad of what we are about to do, and why we are about to do it, then we can greatly improve our activity and the quality of our life. Now you are ready to begin the Decision-making Process.

What do you want to do, and why is it causing you problems? Why is there a decision necessary, and what methods are you going to take to get there? Do you want a significant other? Do you want more romance? Do you want a close friendship, or more social life? Are you unhappy with your job? Would a raise in pay solve that problem, and if you determine that such is the case, what are you doing to make certain you deserve a raise? Are you using your talents, and why or why not? Where is your passion? Where are you unhappy and why do you need to make a decision in the first place? These basic questions are all decisions that must be made in the midst of problems that you face, and if you are not asking these questions, you are riding on your impulse alone, and though that may work sometimes, it will more often make you perplexed and frustrated. There are many ways to define a problem that you probably have not ventured, and the more specific you become about the problem, the more accurate you will be in making a proper decision to eliminate the problem.

And part of your success is based in the morality of the decision you are trying to make.  Experience has probably already told you that there is always more than one way to solve a problem, and not all of these routes are right or healthy. If you are poor, there are many ways that you can try to get rich, but some of the decisions many people make to get their newfound money are neither healthy nor morally right. And one of the greatest ways to help you make a decision is to study your own passions and desires, and to understand where your talents want to take you. If you follow your passion, you will be doing what you want, and what your own life is saying to your psyche. College Students that come to me wanting to know what College Major they should study to get a degree always hear me ask the most important question: “What do your talents tell you about yourself?” If you are poor in math, you shouldn’t be an accountant. If you have an excellent singing voice, and you enjoy singing, you should consider making a living with your talent, whatever it is.

Are you making a properly balanced choice that will guide your life because you are educated in your possible solutions, or are you just taking a guess and a gamble and seeing what happens? If I ask you, “What are your talents?” do you have an educated answer? If there is a career that you want to pursue, do you know what education is required so that you can get that career? If as a parent you are having trouble raising your child, have you ever gone to a seminar on Parent-training skills? Are you aware of the education available to help you become a better parent? These solutions need to be researched. If you are not doing your homework, you’re going to fail the test of life.

And just because you have done the research, you still have to supply the input as to what is better or worse for the decision-making process. You must honestly ask questions objectively and see where your research takes you. Maybe you have a talent for math, but you still hate the idea of being an accountant. You have to pay attention to yourself and the advantages as well as the personal disadvantages to make your decisions properly.

Sometimes even a “best choice” is temporary, depending on the circumstances, and that means that the choice will only work for a period of time. There are very few permanent decisions. In fact, believing that a decision is permanent is usually fatal. Getting married and assuming marriage is going to be permanent no matter what is almost always fatal. We can lose it if we don’t make the decision to refresh our marriage every day. Every new day of our job needs to be refreshing, and any relationship without fresh decisions is almost always fatal.

There are short term goals and long term goals, and we must identify which is which, and how each applies to our situation, or situations, as the case may be. Each plan, each decision, is simply a starting point for living right, for making proper decisions, for making your life what you want it to be.

Be creative: Search your options and make a decision. Change them as they need to be refreshed, and learn to live happy and in the wisdom of making right and proper decisions.
And have a great new year.

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