Most decisions aren’t forever

One fact that should be comforting when facing a stressful decision is that MOST decisions you’ll make in life are reversible. You can change jobs or even careers; you can move to the house down the street or to another continent; you can even remove that tattoo with your ex’s name!

This isn’t to say that we should take consequential decisions lightly. It’s a reminder that the decision to walk through a door doesn’t mean it closes and locks behind us.

Guidelines that simplify

Guidelines allow us to predetermine how we’ll direct our energy to make thoughtful decisions.  One guideline I use in a situation where I’m invited to something that I can’t commit to, is to say “I can’t make it but I really appreciate the invite.  If anything changes I’ll to let you know.”

This makes my default answer “no” rather than “maybe.”  No guilt, no follow-up, no mental energy required.  Also, if I am able to make it in the end, it’s a much more positive outcome than if I’d have said “maybe” and backed out.

What  simple guidelines can you create now so that you’re less reactive when it’s decision time?

You don’t need a job

You don’t need a job.  You need income. Getting a job is one common way to gain income, but viewing it as the only way closes the door to many opportunities.

Some people earn commissions selling products for companies that don’t employ them. Others turn selling a few items on Etsy or eBay into a business. Some let their monetary investments provide income. Others teach people to do these things.

I’m not encouraging that everyone start a business.  I’m encouraging the idea of zeroing in on your needs and asking how – other than the obvious, popular ways – you can achieve them. 

Good old days?

When we look at past pictures of ourselves, we may feel disappointed if it seems that we used to be better looking, more fit, or generally superior to today. But at the time those pictures were taken, we probably didn’t consider ourselves to be our most stellar incarnation.

You are likely a better, smarter, and more experienced version today than you were previously. Remember that today is one of the “good old days” we’ll look back on.

[I wrote a song about this called “Good Times Are Now”.]

Success and its most critical first step

Success is extremely personal. Each of us has ideas on what it looks like. The simplest definition is: getting, doing, or becoming what you hoped for. The most critical step then is to define that in a way that’s most meaningful to you.

As obvious as that sounds, it’s common for people to claim that their goal is to “lose weight”, when in reality they want to add muscle, or lose fat, or look great naked. If that’s what success means to you, own it.

I have an extraordinary before and after picture of a woman who went on an intense fitness and nutrition regimen. The change is hard to believe. Even harder to process is the fact that her weight is the same in both pictures. If success meant losing weight, she failed. But in fact, she had a personal goal to “look great in a bikini.”

What would happen if…

What would happen if you called a colleague and asked how you could help with what they’re working on? Or reached out to one person per day that you love and admire and told them so? Or let someone who’s struggling know that you’re in their corner?

Selfishly, you’ll be sparking your own joy. Unselfishly, you’re making the world a slightly better place.

The people and the problem

To be open-minded means to be curious and open to what might be true, especially when you’re exposed to ideas that don’t resonate with how you see the world. One wish that I have for humanity is that we learn better to respectfully disagree.

The only way to do that is to be able to honestly separate the people from the problems. YOU are not your thoughts or opinions, and the same holds true for everyone you’re in dialogue with.

Decision paralysis and the donkey

A donkey that’s hungry and thirsty stands at equal distance from hay a few feet to its left, and water to its right. Not being able to decide whether to eat or drink first, the donkey dies of hunger and thirst.

Death by indecision is an extreme analogy. But a reminder that you can have both when you see the bigger picture and plan properly. So many of us are fortunate enough to live in a world of “and” not “or”. Think it through but then commit to taking action. Don’t be an ass.

Happiness and your calendar

We don’t think of methodically managing our calendars as adding to our fulfilment. Isn’t it interesting though how we are quick to add necessary but obligatory things like doctor’s appointments and business meetings?

When we consider the few activities and people that bring us the most fulfillment, it’s a wonder that these don’t take up more space on our schedules.  Obligatory appointments are necessary.  But not scheduling time for deep work, creative time, relaxing time, connection with those close to us…just leaves these things up to fate.

If you think deeply about this, what we’re really saying is that it’s important to schedule all the things we must do, and then hope that there’s time left to do the things we love.

The importance of forgiveness

Some people have a hard time forgiving or letting go because doing so feels like letting the offender off the hook. But the reward for getting past your ego’s objection to forgiveness is emotional freedom.

Carrying a grudge is like carrying around poison and waiting to throw it. Carrying it doesn’t punish the guilty, and it doesn’t do you any good either.