Once we've accepted personal responsibility for our experience of life and set a powerful mix of well formed long and short-term goals, life inevitably changes dramatically! These two steps alone cannot fail to have an impact. Just identifying that where we are is not where we want to be makes it very difficult to settle for the status quo any longer. We feel compelled to make changes - to take action - and that means making some decisions!
Many of us would rather not make decisions, preferring to procrastinate over choices, or avoid issues completely unless our hands are forced. This again leaves us experiencing a lack of personal control - reducing us to reacting to the whims and priorities of others. Often this behaviour pattern develops from having made a series of hasty, ill thought-out decisions that didn't prove to be in our best interests. In our haste to grasp what seems attractive in the short-term we might have failed to assess the consequences or pitfalls of our ‘reactions’.
Equally those of us who react in the moment by racing away from what we don't want can often lose our motivation, once we get far enough away from the original discomfort for it to abate to a manageable level again. As soon as this happens we begin to drift back into familiar, repetitive patterns of thinking and behaving yet again. In both of these scenarios ‘ reaction’ precedes ‘reflection’ - we act first, and think later, rather than the other way around.
Since making a decision in this way generally feels ‘bad', some of us can begin to link these two elements. It's a small psychological step from ‘making decisions feels bad’ to ‘making decisions IS bad’ and so if we get caught up in this repetitive cycle we begin to work harder and harder at avoiding making any decisions at all.
Procrastination is more than a thief of time - it robs us of the joy, opportunities and beauty that come from knowing we are really ‘living our lives’. Establishing clear goals, by sharp contrast, makes arriving at decisions and taking action much simpler. Once we have a clear goal in mind, we only need to consider carefully which of the possible options will move us most smoothly and swiftly towards our goal and then the choice is easy! If there doesn't seem to be much difference between the options on offer (i. e. if they will all move us towards our stated goal with equal ease) then it doesn't really matter which we choose. What does matter is that we pick one, commit to it, and act on it.
By act on it, I mean just that - take some action! Should a reminder be necessary, here it comes. If the result of the action isn't what you'd hoped for, you need to do something different and try again, until you find something that works. We humans have a tendency to look back at the consequences of our decisions and actions with the benefit of a ‘retroscope’ and then label each decision or action as either a good move or a bad move. This approach also lies at the root of a general unwillingness to make decisions. We'd rather make no move than a bad move, as failure feels bad and we don't want to feel bad! Who does? However, things that never make a move are inert, paralysed, and dead. That doesn't feel too good either!
Luckily we can again adopt a different perspective on this that makes initial decision-making and subsequent action-taking much easier (remembering all the time that we are responsible for and in control of our own thoughts - therefore, we can choose any perspective we like!) Rather than focusing on whether to label the decision or action as good or bad, we can choose to focus instead on what we can learn from the results of all of our decisions and actions. This empowers us by freeing us from the fear of getting it wrong or failing. It also helps us to move away from simplistic ‘black and white’ thinking - a habit that ignores the huge range of nuances and complexities in the vast areas of grey in between!
We really can choose to adopt the attitude that ‘there's no such thing as failure - there's only unexpected results!’ To quote Benjamin Zander: “I've made a mistake, how fascinating!" Getting used to taking decisions and using this attitude to seek out and relish the learning from our experiences can and does transform lives when combined with personal responsibility and clear goals. These three elements set us well on the way to the lives we really want - if we'll let them!
So back over to you! You are now fully equipped to decide which of these two options you prefer. You can accept that you'll make the odd ‘mistake’ and commit to taking action anyway in order to build a life you love, OR you can drift through the rest of your life reacting, blaming others and hoping that things will work out OK. Once again, the choice is yours, but remember. . .
"It is in our moments of decision that our destiny is formed. " (Tony Robbins)
Anth Quinn has been described as the best-kept secret in Personal Development; he is a straight talking champion of everyday people and despite developing a loyal following of over 10,000 readers he managed to avoid publicity.
He says that he finally stepped up to right what he saw as fundamental flaws in much of the personal development industries and he became determined to do something about this.
Despite a massive amount of good information out in the market place Anth says that most people never make long lasting positive changes in their life. Why is this? Well, he says almost every personal development guru is missing a fundamental piece of the puzzle, and it's not what you think!!
You can check out his blog at http://www.anthquinn.com
and his free “daily action tips" at http://www.empiricalcoaching.com/takecontrolFDT.htm