Without Conviction, Decisions are Meaningless

(My column as it appeared in Upmarket magazine week of June 3rd)

Whether you’re new to world of entrepreneurship, self-improvement, or the seasoned veteran who’s read all the books and been to all the seminars, one point is emphasized over and over again. Decisions.

If you want to reach your goals you must decide. If you want to do this or that you must decide. All relevant points of instruction, all meaningless if all you do is just decide. Granted you’ll be further along than most who’ll never decide to do anything but to go with the flow however that might not protect you from drifting right back next to them.

Decisions or the act of deciding is used by many as if it has the same meaning as choice. That’s not quite correct. To understand decisions you have to look at its roots or definition. Decision literally means to come to a conclusion or resolution after consideration to resolve something. In other words, once you decide you cut off from the other possibilities and move forward discarding all other choices that were possible as now irrelevant. Their only relevance to you from now on are memories to be used later in a self-evaluation process when looking back on whether your decisions were sound based on the choices and information present at the time.

Choice is not quite the same. Let’s say someone has three balloons and asks if you want one. There are three different colors so you choose the green one. If the balloon pops and you want another only to find there’s not another green available you might just go with a blue one. The color was just a choice or a preference to what was available nothing more. Having the joy of the balloon was more important regardless of color. Making a decision that you will only play with a balloon that is green in color is quite different. If your balloon burst and there were no green left you would go without rather than pick from what might be a myriad of different colors available.

You might say the example sounds too simplistic or even childish, but how many play out the same scenario in their work or personal lives. The say they want a different work experience or environment so they’ll choose someplace that fits the criteria. Then the balloon bursts and now they mindlessly go rushing back where they’ll now choose from whatever happens to be left. Might not be as happy with this one, but hey it’s all there was to choose from. And now they’ll live as to not take many chances with this one. There might be even less to choose from next time. And so goes the progression of reducing expectations, risk, enjoyment, and more.

Deciding on what you want and not settling is well worth the price because unlike most you will never be envious when you see someone who may have more than you. Someone might show up at a party touting and bragging they have 75 balloons, but if none of them are green who cares. You made the decision that you are not going to settle for what others have regardless. You want what you want and decided that it was worth the price of pursuit because that’s where the real fun comes from.

© 2012 Mark St.Cyr