Definitions: (1) arriving at a solution after purposeful consideration thus ending uncertainty or dispute; (2) making a choice or finalizing a judgment; (3) showing determination for a dedicated purpose; firmness; resolute
Synonyms: conclusive, positive, unmistakable, unquestionable
Too Far: demanding, narrow-minded
Quote: The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity. — Rollo May (1090-1994) Man’s Search for Himself
Note: You must be in charge of your decisions. There are elements of weakness and cowardice in conformity. Those who possess power tend to praise qualities which trigger an obedient response. They will say, “Be patient, be tolerant, calm down, do what I say and you’ll get yours.” They would say the quality of consistency equals fairness, that “we must be objective and treat everyone the same or someone will complain,” as if that is a good enough reason to promote mediocrity. In the end, does waiting patiently produce the promised reward? Sometimes promises cannot be fulfilled. Sometimes a promise is made realizing memory is weak, and what was promised can be forgotten or modified to suit the situation when it comes up again. Sometimes promises are intended to stall for time.
Reflection: One of the most difficult times we have is just before a decision is made. This is particularly true on important decisions: a career choice, a relationship choice, a life choice. The mind brings up lots of possibilities and what-ifs. Some of these options have fear-triggering repercussions. But once the decision is made, and you proceed with a course of action, most of that fear dissipates. There are new decisions to make. Doubts will always come up, but if your self-reliance and self-esteem are strong, then some doubt is healthy.
Decisiveness is connected with faith. Decision creates motion. You are acting, which will lead to your goal, and to becoming someone different. Have the faith to go ahead and take that first step based on your powers of judgment and experience. As you begin it, and move through it, you’ll find out what the next steps need to be to adjust to the “proper course.” If you made the wrong decision, you will find that out soon enough then you will adjust your navigation with new decisions.
• There are degrees of decision making. There are the big decisions, the hard decisions, and the life-changing decisions that are of major import and have large effects. But the day-to-day decisions, the easy decisions, the habitual decisions, made again and again, are extremely valuable as well. They are like the sand and cement in a dam. They are the foundation of big decisions, and what holds them in place.
• The military uses threat-based planning. It can be used in ordinary life as well. First identify the specific threat(s). Once you’ve established what the threat is then it is a matter of establishing a defense/offense to deal with it.
It might be you feel your job is at risk. Your defense might be to do a better job or build a better rapport with your boss and your coworkers while still maintaining your integrity. It does not mean to be excessively accommodating, but to do what you can to be efficient and proficient in the situation.
Advice: People often look for a general rule that will fit every situation. Use the higher qualities to govern all you do. Start by letting love permeate everything you do. Let personal goodness, idealized truth, and the symmetry and joy of beauty be the overriding characteristics of your choices.
When it gets down to a specific situation, let the situation dictate the specific qualities. If you are driving a car, then attentiveness is obviously important. Yet you can still use the higher quality of courtesy as well. Although paying attention will get you from point A to point B, you can always filter the specific qualities through the higher qualities.
If you’re doing something highly technical, the qualities of skillful and meticulous, which are not normally considered spiritual qualities, are the most appropriate to the task at hand. But most likely you can find an altruistic reason in addition to the practical one.
Kinds of Decisions
• Choice with preference: I know what I want.
• The “You decide” decision 1: I love you and want to please you.
• The “You decide” decision 2: I’m too lazy or uncertain to decide.
• The agonizing decision: It is “too” important.
• The automatic decision: the same decision I’ve always made.
• The lesser-of-two-evils decision.
• The forced-into-it-by-outside-influences decision.
• The forced-into-it-by-inside-influences decision.
• The “It doesn’t matter to me” decision.
Note: This last type of decision is often considered hard but in fact is not. If it really does not matter, save yourself the trouble and just pick one. If, on the other hand, you are leaning one way or the other, use the quality of intuition to make your choice.