Do you remember that old television program that gave the contestant the opportunity to choose one of three doors and receive whatever was behind the door?
I was reminded of this television program the other day when I was pondering a decision I was struggling to make. My usual process for decision-making is to make a list of pros and cons, revisiting and revising the list every couple of days. When I feel that everything is listed in the right column, I weigh the pros and cons and make my decision.
During this last exercise I had pros and cons on the paper but internally I was reading the headings as success and failure. Now, you know I know better! It didn’t matter what I knew when making the list, I still kept reading success and failure. So, in frustration I put the list away and decided to let things sit for a few days and go back to it. This was really good advice, if I do say so myself.
It was in this waiting period that I thought of that old television program and the three doors. Now, it wouldn’t be prudent to just choose a door and go with whatever was behind it, but the thought of the three doors made me realize I had three options. If I chose Door #1, I would choose option #1. Choosing Door #2 would mean I opted for the second option and if I chose Door #3 I would be choosing not to choose.
When it comes to decision-making we sometimes forget that not choosing is making a choice. We lose sight of the fact that not choosing can be healthy and rewarding. Now, of course, I don’t mean you can just go through life letting life happen all the time, with no decision-making effort on your part. But, sometimes, that is just what you should do. When the decision-making is really tough, when you are thinking about it all the time and feel like you are getting nowhere, why not choose Door #3?
The next time I made my list I listed headings of Door #1, Door #2 and Door #3. Under Door #1 I listed all of the really good things about that option and then I did the same thing for Door #2. I did not list any cons! I simply created a vision of the best of both options. Under Door #3 I wrote “serendipity" (the gift of discovering things accidentally).
By not forcing myself to choose I opened Door # 3 and allowed myself the freedom of discovery. By not labeling pros and cons the success/failure identifiers went away. I now am able to discover whether Door #1 or Door #2 holds the prize I want to attain by envisioning, and living in the vision, of the best of both options.
Interesting Word History: English author Horace Walpole coined the word serendipity. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that “this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word. " Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of “a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of. . . . "
Beth Densmore is a Personal Life Coach and Motivational Speaker who offers support, inspiration and motivation to those who are in transition and want to achieve a goal. For more information and more free articles like this, visit her site at http://www.newfocuscoaching.com.