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Monday Mornings with Madison



Every day, we have to make numerous decisions. Some are small and unlikely to have any major effect on our future. Others, however, can have major consequences in our lives. For most of us, the process of decision making is both exciting and stressful. We know, of course, that we have to make decisions in order to get what we want in life. But what if we make the wrong one and then have to suffer the consequences?

Confronting this necessity, we call upon a combination of logic and emotions, using logic to determine the most sensible course of action and emotions to reveal the most appealing decision. Depending on the situation, one factor can outweigh the other. Sometimes there are strong logical reasons to go in one direction and we try to muster up the matching emotions. At other times, we have strong feelings about a particular decision and we then try to convince ourselves that it makes sense logically.

Every time we make a decision, however, we feel that we are losing out on something. When we pick one option, we can’t have the other. This helps to explain why decisions feel so unpleasant and forced. And it’s why we often try to avoid making decisions entirely--we just don’t want to lose possibilities.

Choosing, not losing But a better and more productive way of looking at decisions is to see them as opportunities to choose. Every time we have different options, we basically have an opportunity to choose. And this turns the process of decision-making into an exciting personal matter, rather than one of loss. We’re adding something to our lives, rather than losing something. And when we act based on a personal choice, we are more likely to take responsibility for that action and make the best out of it.

You may decide to stay at your existing job and it will feel like a loss of freedom, but choosing to stay at your job can get you thinking of how to improve it. Gettingout of bed in the morning feels like drudgery; whereas a choice to get out of bed means that you have something to look forward to. One is negative, the other is positive. And when you talk to successful people, you find that they choose all the time. They are confident of their ability to make choices and to make them work.

This week, recognize that when you decide between options, you are making choices because you want certain results for yourself. Look at the decisions you keep pushing off, and see where you can instead make choices.

“When you have to make a choice and you don’t make it, that is in itself a choice”
William James

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