Life is a series of choices. Choose to be happy. Choose to live your dream. Choose to live in the present moment. Choose to love with all your heart.
But what happens when the choice seems impossible? What happens when you can’t figure out what is the “right” answer?
When I was 14, I faced a choice that seemed so difficult that I tore myself apart trying to figure out what was the right way to go. While the decision itself seems fairly trivial looking back, the wisdom that came out of it has stayed with me every day.
After three hours of debating with my dad about what to do, he said to me, “You make the best decision you can with the information you have at hand. If in six months or six weeks or six days you make a different decision, it’s not that today’s decision was wrong. You simply have more information and you are making the best decision you can with the information you have at the time.”
These simple sentences have erased regret from my life. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the decisions that I have made along the way.
Several years later I went to visit my dad in the hospital, where he was undergoing chemo for advanced lung cancer. While he was taking a nap I wrote him a letter, talking about the most important conversations we’d had and the memories that I cherished. As I left, I decided to hand it to him, rather than mail it from home in Chicago. The next day he called to say how much that letter meant to him.
That was the last time I spoke to him. He passed away early the next day. My decision to live in the present moment ensured that I have no doubt my dad knew exactly how much I loved him.
Within the past few years, I’ve spent much of my time studying happiness and well-being, discovering more and more that happiness is a choice. Well-being and happiness are innate, they are our natural states.
I’ve found that the less I do to chase after these states, the more I rest in them; the more that they support and take care of me, rather than the other way around. I’ve learned that there is no “Magic Tuesday” when everything falls into place and there are no more bumps in the road.
The only moment we have any impact or effect on is the moment we are currently in and that is where we must make our decisions from.
In Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements, his fourth agreement is “Always Do Your Best.” I love the caveat to this – Always do your best… and no more.
At any moment in our lives, we are doing the best that we can. We are making the best decision we can, with the information we have at hand. And, knowing that there is no moment of perfection that we are working towards, every moment is perfect just as it is.
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