The Implications of our Choices, Decisions and Actions
You have seen this image before. A rock is thrown into the middle of a pond of still water, and as it hits the water a ripple is created. The life altering implications of our decisions change everything and it happens in a split second. We are not conscious of its impact… but after the waves wash ashore, we are always faced with its consequences.
So why are we so quick to act? It is human nature to react. When we encounter what appears to be danger, our heart beats faster and our system floods with adrenaline. Our bodies have acted and responded to the perceived threat. Emotionally we do the same thing and instead of pausing to think…. we act…..and in a split second, create a life altering course change.
We can’t re arrange our physiology….adrenaline will flow through our system when we are frightened or feel in danger. We can however, make a decision to pause and get better at responding to the thousands of choices we are presented with each day. Part of making good decisions is realizing that each one we make changes the path of our lives. The psychology behind the decision making process says that all of our decisions are based on our own self interests. In essence, we make choices that have the greatest potential to benefit ourselves. Regardless of the science, our decisions….every single one….are life changers. Some of them may not be “significant” life changers, but each action has its own unique reaction.
Unfortunately the realization of the rock in the pond, and the ripple effect of our choice are uncovered afterwards, and then it’s too late. Our challenge is to learn the significance of our choices, actions and reactions. The concept, at first blush, seems overwhelming. The thought of it all brings to mind the label “over thinking”. I guess in some cases that may be true. But the real question is this.
Is it better to “over think” or “under think”?
Many of us “go with our gut”. Others use the “Benjamin Franklin” or BF decision making process. It goes something like this. Take a piece of paper and draw a line right down the middle of it. On the right hand side write down all the reasons you should do something and on the left all the reason why you shouldn’t. When you are done, whatever side has the larger list is… the “right” decision.
Whatever system being utilized our choices have implications, some of them profound.
Take your time. Realize that what you say is… as important as… how you say it. Understand that how you react to what challenges come your way will have a lasting impact on your life. Hence the catch phrase…”it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it”. (One of my favorites)
Think through important decisions. In the decision making process time is your friend. Let things marinate. (This is not an invitation to procrastinate, by the way.)
Choose your words carefully and thoughtfully. Love makes requests, not demands.
The greatest gift that we have in life is free will. You are at the controls.