I decide, Therefore I Am

I always had a problem with sweet trollies. Which pudding should I have? The chocolate gateau looks nice but so does the meringue. But what if I chose one of those and they weren’t that good after-all? What about that treacle tart? The fruit salad should be a safe bet but I’d be missing out on that delightfully rich rumbaba.

In most areas of our lives we have far too much choice. This had has a curious effect of our decision making powers. We’ve gone soft, just like the biscuit base of the cheesecake that’s been waiting on the sweet trolley for people to decide. Our decision making muscles are weak.

The word decision means to ‘cut off from’. Once you’ve made a decision, a real decision, there is no going back. This is what a true decision is. If you give up smoking and count the number of days you’d gone without a fag you haven’t truly committed to giving up – think about it – why count? Just so you can say how long it lasted? If you give up smoking it’s got to be forever or you haven’t given up at all, you’ve just increased the time off between cigarettes.

All of this is very important because our lives are shaped by the quality of our decisions. People don’t make decisions because they don’t want to commit, which means they don’t want things to change, or they’re frightened of failure, of making the wrong choice. But there is always going to be change in life. That’s what life is. And change equals stress. It’s handling that stress that makes our lives what they are. Making a decision is the method by which we control that change in our lives and therefore the stress in our lives. Making a decision is like a magical cure-all. Try it, if you’re worried, make a decision. If you’re frightened, make a decision. If you’re depressed, make a decision. If you’re unsure, make a decision!

“But I’m frightened of making the wrong decision” people say. Making any decision means you’ve participated in your own freedom. Not making a decision usually means you want to wait and see, which effectively means leaving the decision to someone else. Look what you’ve done! You’ve relinquished humanity’s greatest gift, the gift that only sentient beings enjoy, the gift of free will.

What are you frightened of? Failure? Have a think about this:

Success is the result of good judgement
Good judgement is the result of experience
Experience is the result of bad judgement

Therefore: Success is the result of failure! So what exactly is stopping you? I’ll have the treacle tart.

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2 comments on “I decide, Therefore I Am

  1. Ayd,
    Nice post and blog. I like the sweets trolley idea. I thought I recognized the bit at the end about success and failure as an example of the transitive property of equality (I’ve got school-age children). Just to make certain, I Googled and found this site with this note: “One must be cautious, however, when attempting to develop arguments using the transitive property in other settings.”

    Awww, why don’t they just go ahead and say it works everywhere?


  2. Actually, Ayd, for those of us over a certain age and weight, the sweet trolley analogy is particularly effective! Also, as with many of your excellent posts, this one is sure to suggest further extensions of the ideas within – and most, I’m sure, will be easily digestible. For example, ‘He who hesitates is lost’ is a proverb which can be traced back to ‘Cato’, by poet and essayist Joseph Addison. He says, “Swift and resolute action leads to success; self-doubt is a prelude to disaster.” Even so, how many of us have found ourselves sitting on committees, witnessing our ideas shelved in order for ‘risk assessments’ to be made? OK, reasonable consideration should be given to possible outcomes before making key decisions. Planning and preparation is important, but we must be clear about our intention to be decisive. A good example is the recent free fall jump by Felix Baumgartner, viewed live over the internet by 7 million of us. We followed his ascent to 125,000+ feet, shared his concern over his visor icing up, listened as Control went through the egress procedure, saw him step out of the capsule and give a salute, then gasped as we watched him jump.


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