Making good decisions is one of life’s greatest challenges. Mostly because we have to stand by what we decide and in many cases justify it. We also have to decide what “good” means. Good is often relative to the situation. What’s a good decision in one instance may not work for another situation.
Sometimes trying to figure out what to do makes me what to give up my free will. I think, “man it would be great if someone else could do this for me. ”But shifting my responsibility when it’s convenient is not how reality works.
So how do you make good decisions, especially when situations vary? I refer to something written on a sticky note near my desk: Wisdom always chooses to do now what it will be satisfied with later on.
That nifty insight is something I picked up from Christian televangelist Joyce Meyer. So what does it mean? Well, it means that we should think about the consequences of our choices before we make the choices. So many times, it’s not until after we’ve made the decision that we start contemplating all the “what ifs”. We’re so quick to act at the heat of the moment; we fail to examine the true costs of cheap choices. Joyce’s statement reminds us that true wisdom recognizes when it’s made a good decision. When I see that statement on my sticky note, I’m always reminded of that.
Think of wisdom as a living entity, and ask yourself, what would wisdom do? Sometimes I view my situations as potential life lessons, then I ask myself, “Erin, in the future, if you had to tell someone how to handle a situation like this, what would you want to say?”
For example, recently I was at work, waiting to hear back from a source about a last minute detail to my company’s magazine. I knew we were on a tight deadline, and I thought I could grab my lunch really quickly before following up with the source for the info we needed. Looking back on it, that was purely selfish. I could have sacrificed a few minutes to check in, and then grab my lunch. But in that moment, I didn’t think that. I thought, “I can do what I want to do before what I need to do.” Decisions like that just cause me to slow down everyone else’s ability to do what they need to do to finish the project. That may not be my intention, but it’s certainly a potential outcome. And that’s not something wisdom would be satisfied with later on. What would wisdom do? Prioritize. I could just hear it now, softly whispering, “Erin, you can eat later. This is more important at this moment.”
The wise choice seems so obvious now, right? But in those crucial moments, we’re often led by our selfish intentions and what we want to do seems more important than what we need to do. Just take a moment. Ignore the roar of your belly or whatever’s distracting your judgment, and think through these questions:
- What would wisdom do?
- What will wisdom be satisfied with later on?
- In the future, if you had to tell someone how to handle a situation like this, what would you want to say?
Consider the answers, and you’ll probably find a good decision.