By Lisa Cypers Kamen.
If you had to publicly share every decision you make with the world, which would you bear more often: a scarlet letter or a badge of honor?
In our exceedingly fast-paced world, we are bombarded with situations that demand immediate decisions and judgment calls. Unspoken email etiquette requires a same-day response to each message that lands in our inboxes. And the assumed rapid response to text messages is even more demanding: Societal conventions say that if a few hours pass before you respond, you’ve dropped the ball. Gone, it seems, are the days of decisions made at a snail-mail speed.
But all of society’s emphasis on speed can land us in a dangerous decision-making trap. When we make decisions faster, giving less thought to potential outcomes, we often see our own actions as less meaningful.
True, our intuition can often be a good indicator of the “right” decision. But the process of weighing pros and cons is also healthy: Taking a step back to think through a decision is a process that requires us to be personally invested in the actions we take.
In reality, we will never have to carry around a sign that states what actions we’ve made that day. Without much effort, we could go through life denying or ignoring the consequences of our actions. But it’s impossible to be happy if you don’t accept yourself for who you are, and a big part of who we are is the decisions we make and the actions we take.
So don’t slip into autopilot: take a moment and actively make a decision, instead of letting the moment decide for you. Own the actions you take by making decisions that bring together your heart, your mind, and your spirit. Besides, if you don’t own up to your actions, you lose out on the fun of reveling in your sound judgment when you accomplish something you’re proud of!
Happiness is an inside job®.
Starting tomorrow morning, write down every decision that you make during the first thirty minutes of your day. You don’t have to explain them in detail; a simple key word that will jog your memory is enough. At the end of the half hour, read through your list of actions.
How many did you actively think about, weighing pros and cons or taking into account the feelings of others? Would you be proud of those decisions if you were to communicate them to others?
For the rest of the day, take a little extra time to think through each decision before you make it, noticing how this ownership gives you peace of mind.
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