Every morning, the sun peaks over the horizon and the day begins. Although we may rise before this daily phenomenon, the sun’s first light leaves little doubt the day is now underway. Some of us may have planned it out while others prefer to take it as it comes. No matter your preference, we all have decisions to make and apparently, we make a lot of them.
Researchers estimate that humans make up to 35,000 decisions every day. While most of those decisions are automatic or take little brain power, nevertheless the thought of all that decision making is tiresome itself. It is a good thing that we don’t have to worry about making every one of those decisions correctly.
There are, however, some decisions that truly identify us. These are core decisions measuring our character and defining our integrity. They are evaluations we have made based on our life experiences and cognitive reasoning. Many times, they identify for us what is right and what is wrong.
None of us have come to these thoughts and decisions on our own; we are all influenced in both subtle and overt ways. Just as we are not cognizant of making 35,000 decisions in a day, we are not always aware of what inspires and motivates the choices we make.
When we are young, we tend to make decisions pleasing to our parents or caretakers. The older we get, the more independent we want to believe our decision making is and the simplest way to show that is to purposely rebel against those who shaped our thoughts and decisions. As we approach adulthood, we ought to become more aware that the choices we make can have consequences.
It is inevitable, during our youth, that we made some very poor, embarrassing, or disgraceful choices. A few could have been so hideous that as adults, we decided some sort of amends or reparations are in order. There is no chance we would ever make that ridiculous mistake again but nonetheless, we feel responsible to compensate or counteract our younger folly.
It is also possible to have grown up with destructive influences that taught us certain prejudices, misconceptions, or the only way to resolve disputes was with our fists and a mighty show of force. Although we no longer hold on to this way of thinking, we have to admit that at one time, it played a big part in the bad decisions we made.
We don’t need to hold on to these imperfections in our thinking just because we believed at one time they were right.
There are episodes from my past that upon reflection, I am quite disappointed in the choices I made. It doesn’t matter if I was being pressured by my friends; ultimately, I spoke those words or took the actions. I must take responsibility for them. If I think about those times and blame someone else for my poor decision making, it only leads to excusing poor future behaviors.
We are human beings and change is inevitable. That also means we may need to change the ideas and principles that define who we are. It is often fear that silences us from telling others about them, but they are a natural occurrence during the human emotional and spiritual development process.
It is a bit ironic but one of the stumbling blocks we humans face is when we are blinded by our own “rightness.” When we are completely convinced that the reasons for believing the way we do about a certain topic are upright and only have the purest intensions. In fact, we are so confident in our altruism that we cannot understand why anyone would even want to consider any other line of reasoning.
If you ever catch yourself thinking anything similar to the above paragraph, I implore you to have an alarm go off in your head. This sort of thinking is constraining, controlling, and divisive. It feeds a dangerous form of arrogance. It deems you judge, jury, and executioner. And you’ll find those who believe in this way of “altruistic thinking” will compromise their integrity and excuse their actions to protect their own perceived righteousness.
This kind of narrowmindedness also perpetrates bitterness and anger in the belief it is perceived as strength. There often is talk of threatening or hurting anyone opposing them because any civil discussion may shine a light on their ludicrous, absurd and irrational way of thinking.
Oddly, you may have someone in mind while reading this article and wonder why it is so difficult for them to see this for themselves. Again, if this crossed your mind, may I recommend a deep and sincere reflection of yourself? The road to personal development does not travel through the criticism or evaluation of others.
On a personal note, each time I write an article, a similar thought runs through my head. “Do I sound as though I alone am right?” Is my advice the only one that can fix it or am I being fair and open to other ideas? It is a slippery slope and one that seems to have Greek Sirens luring me to crash on its rocky shores.
Naturally we all want to believe strongly in our practices, teachings, and ourselves. My hope is that having these questions on my mind will keep me vigilant and offering fresh perspectives on how to continually strive to become the best version of ourselves.
Decisions are something we face every day. Let us be prudent with them while keeping an open mind to augment and strengthen our future decisions.