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At a Crossroads

Decision Making

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stoplight photo

Stop, Caution, Go

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I'm not so certain that I'm the best person to offer anyone sage advice regarding decision making. But I do think it is an issue that each of us are faced with on a daily basis throughout our lifetimes and thus worth discussion. I often tell people that caution is my middle name since I can sit on making a decision for a very long time before acting upon it.

Sometimes I will procrastinate on making a decision because I'm not clear on what I really want. Other times it is because the unknown factors of how a decision may affect me in the future scares the bejeepers out of me. Occasionally the saying "nothing ventured, nothing gained" will get whispered in my ear by an inner voice to help give me a needed nudge forward. Other times feelings of dread will build inside my being simply by a mere thought of making a change. I will then heed that dread emotion as a signal to think twice before taking the plunge. Using your gut instincts can be very helpful in decision making.

Taking the Plunge When Making Decisions

Truthfully, I almost never take a plunge into anything without mulling it over twice, or even thrice. At times I feel disgusted with myself for not being able to joyfully jump into things full-heartedly, instead I'm generally testing the water with my toes beforehand. I don't particularly like water bubbling up my nose. I realize that I tend to over analyze situations, living in my head too much. By not allowing my heart to beat any extra beats, I often feel as if I am stifling my creativity in these moments. At the same time I figure I've probably saved myself plenty of headaches by not routinely making quick misjudgments.

Stop, Caution, Go

Decision makers can be categorized in three groups. These groups correlate with a traffic stoplight.
Red Lights Blocked or Stymied  These are individuals who often feel frozen in fear when faced with making a decision. They are resistant to change and have great difficulty making decisions. They tend to have to have the rug pulled out from under them before they will move to safer ground.
Yellow Lights Proceed with Caution These people are caution oriented individuals who will look both ways before venturing into the traffic. They will weigh the pros and cons of any given situation before deciding.
Green Lights Right of Way Here are the adventuresome type. They leap without looking, figuring that all will go well (they have the right-of-way after all). These people could use a refresher course in defensive driving as they do get themselves in sticky predicaments at times.

These groupings (Red, Yellow, Green) indicate rigid characteristics. Most people fall into a blend of these groups. Each decision we make is different and our reactions will vary accordingly.

We make minor decisions every day of our lives. The decision I had to make yesterday was selecting what shade of throw pillows to go with our new sofa. My husband and I were standing in the Martha Stewart section at Kmart looking over the various pillows. Our sofa's fabric is a sage paisley pattern with brown and burgundy accents. We made a mutual decision and went home with some plush brown pillows. After returning home we soon realized that the brown didn't coordinate nicely with the couch. An hour later Joe drove back to the store and exchanged the brown with some burgundy pillows. They look quite lovely with our sofa. This is an example of a decision that can be easily reversed.

However, life doesn't always seem to allow a retreat option in our decision making. When the decision we are facing is a life changing one is it any wonder we stop dead in our tracks when we come at a these crossroads along our life path? 

Also See: Making Right or Wrong Decisions: Sorting out the Pros and Cons

 


 

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