Decisions are multi-faceted. They can be manifested as desires, little bets about how you want things to go. After all, all believing is betting.
However, you can also decide against your best wishes. No one wants to put a sick dog to sleep. Difficult decisions paralyze people’s judgment. “Sometimes it’s not what I want to do but what I ought to do,” admits the elder woman in the video from Andrew Norton.
Decisions can be murky too. In Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, is the ‘right thing’ to cause a ruckus or sit back and preach non-violence? Mookie the protagonist postpones his own anxiety, feeling action is necessary despite breaking the law. He deals with the consequences.
Sometimes the right answer comes about through experience–a mere function of your mistakes. That is, first you decide and then you deduce, analyzing the call after the fact. Decision-making is a skill, growing stronger with more deliberate practice.
“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.
In the words of Seth Godin: “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.” You cannot afford to hesitate in a sea of doubt. Dance with fear or risk of living with regret. Indecision is still a decision or rather suspend doubt, DECIDE, and bear the responsibility.
Habits come in all shapes and sizes but some habits are more impactful than others. Listed below are habits ranked from easiest to hardest.
Easy Habit: Making the bed is a good habit. It’s the first accomplishment of the day and can be just enough to get you to take other positive actions like cleaning up the kitchen.
Medium Habit: Brushing your teeth is a semi-powerful habit. Flossing, however, is the positive habit you’re really striving for. Flossing gets into the nooks and crannies to remove plaque and prevent cavities. Ironically, the dentists never give you enough floss freebies to last more than 2 weeks.
Hard Habit: Exercise is a ‘keystone habit,’ the one habit that “sets off a chain reaction that changes other habits as well,” according to productivity expert Charles Duhigg. Exercise benefits all aspects of your life, from bone health to brain health, to a good diet and unnecessary spending.
Habits get you out of your own head. They resolve indecisiveness. A little bit of effort goes a long way.
“We must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can.”
Opportunities and problems go together. But it’s your perspective that determines how you see the good or bad of this dialectic.
It’s of course much easier to be a pessimist. Bad thoughts are typically stickier than the good ones. Optimism is harder to produce. But when you look at your challenges with a pragmatic lens you realize there’s hope. There will inevitably be some wins along the way even if they’re incremental.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – Willliam James
The mind quickly identifies fake and forced positive thoughts. But it also catches you from falling into a morass of negativity. Your actions ultimately define how well you balance your thoughts.