In this article taking a closer look at the personal development point from one of my quote images, I was a bit indecisive…
I took that photo at Whitstable on the North Kent coast here in Britain. I’d been on another of my sunset photography trips down there. It’s only a fairly short journey in the car, and does provide some lovely views, and once I’d taken the ‘standard’ sunset shot on a few different occasions, I found myself looking for different angles to snap away at.
That lifeguard hut caught my eye as it caught the setting sun – looking pretty isolated, quiet and shut up like that, compared to the noise and state of readiness you’ll see it in during the height of summer season for example.
Anyway, I thought it would work well with the words over the top, because just as a lifeguard can change the course of your life, so can decisions…
You are only one decision away from a totally different life.
As I was researching the source of that quote, here’s where my indecision came in – I ended up at a book written by Mark Batterson. I had never read the book, indeed had never even heard of it, and wondered if by writing about the quote I would be retreading ground he covers.
I came to the conclusion that I probably would be, but decided to press on anyway! The message in the title seems pretty clear what the book is about, and I’ve written elsewhere that I believe the key for people spreading the personal development message is to give your own interpretation of the concepts. That’s what I’ve always done, it’s what I’m going to carry on doing, so let’s dive in!
The statement does seem somewhat glib at first glance maybe, simply a truism perhaps. I’d agree with that, but the fact that it’s a truism doesn’t make it any less, well, true!
Our whole life is a thread of decisions. We make them every day. We always have, right back from the time when we had no idea what a decision even was! Our brain has kept us alive by functioning on the basis of decision making, right from birth, it’s just that it’s always been on a subconscious level.
It’s when our brain developed enough for us to know what decision making meant, it’s *then* that our conscious minds started taking over!
In due course, we get to the decisions that have the big impacts, and we have to take some of them at a surprisingly young age – decisions about which subjects to study at school can really steer us in certain directions, and unless we’re already convinced about our path, we can find those decisions being influenced so much by others, that effectively they are *made* by others – our family, our friends, society in general.
Those are big decisions, and I’ll come back to those shortly, but how about the small decisions..?
Well, if you think of the movie ‘Sliding Doors’, that was a great illustration of how the small decisions can have just as big an impact as the big ones, it’s just that we might not realise it.
Setting out a few minutes late, or a few minutes early, going into one shop or a different one, these things can have results we can’t really predict, so it could be argued that although they are decisions, since we can’t possibly expect to know all the potential outcomes, they aren’t really decisions pertinent to this article.
I’d probably accept that point, but it can be too easy to dismiss the decisions we make as not being relevant, that it’s ‘only the big ones that matter.’ That’s definitely *not* true!
We make daily small decisions about our health for example – whether to eat that second slice of cake, whether to go for that exercise or sit in front of the TV. These decisions, small as they might appear on a daily basis, will build up over time to a life that is, yes, totally different.
One hour a day spent devoted to something will build up over a year to nearly 10 weeks. Multiply that by years and it’s not hard to see the difference in impact these small time decisions can have.
I did say I’d go back to the ‘big’ decisions, and they can be maybe seen more easily as having impact…
How about career choices – deciding whether to stay in the job you seemed to just end up with, or deciding to make a total change.
How about relationship choices – deciding to ask someone to go out, or asking someone to marry you.
How about personal development – deciding to simply make do with your lot, or deciding to change direction to one more aligned with the real you.
Here’s where we’re getting to the bigger pictures, don’t you think?
Yes, it’s clear that making big decisions in these big areas will have a big impact, but one of the biggest keys for me in the personal development field, is that making a *non* decision has just as big an impact.
It really does. It has to. A *non* decision is still a decision. It’s a decision to not act to not make that change.
More often than not this decision is based on fear – fear of the unknowns associated with taking action, fear of failure, fear of work involved. Much easier to stick and plough on, right?
If we’re only one decision away from a totally different life, if we make a *bad* decision it might lead to a totally different life in *bad* way?
Well, possibly, yes. More likely though, is that non decision leads to a build up of stress which is so common in the developed world, stress that comes from a feeling of being trapped in a life that ‘isn’t quite enough’.
That feeling of life not being ‘quite enough’ comes from the decisions we have made, and the lack of decisions we make to implement change. We know it too, which is why the stress builds up. It’ll carry on building up too, as long as we carry on choosing to make the non decisions.
Well, the solution is to step back and take an overview of where we are. Taking both the big decisions *and* the small decisions in mind, are they giving us what we want in life?
If we feel not, then we need to be clear on what we want instead. Once we’ve done that, we can work out what decisions would need to be taken to steer the life more in the direction that we want, that aligns with the real, authentic us.
Once we’ve gone through this overview process, we’ll have a better idea of decisions available to us that will be decisions of intention, rather than the decisions of reaction we’ve made for so long that they have become second nature.
Then we are at the point where taking that decision is, well, that’s down to us to decide! In my case it’s down to me, in your case it’s down to you.
Take that overview, and it could be that decide to stick with what you have, but you’ll view it with more contentment and appreciation.. Nothing wrong with that, that’s fine and can lead to big reduction in those stress levels I mentioned, and a life that is in effect, totally different.
Or, you could use that overview process and choose to make decisions that might have major impact. Decisions will come and go as life progresses, there is no getting away from this. I suggest that it’s always a worthwhile exercise to look at the decisions you have been, and are making, and see whether bringing more intention to those decisions could be of benefit.
You won’t be at all surprised to hear that I’d also suggest that it would indeed be of benefit, because remember – you are only ever one decision away from a totally different life.
Ok, I’d love to hear what you think – do leave a comment!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. If you’d like to do something about steering your decisions, go and watch my free video series covering my 8 step goal achievement formula!