29 Dec 2008

The Art of Decision Making

A while back I was googling around for some ideas on how to form better sleeping habits and I came across Steve Pavlina. He’s a self-help guru who runs a Blog that generates him a cool 40k/month just off of donations. The content of the blog is all related to self mastery and such, things that are very interesting to me because I’m always looking for ways to better myself. Most of you reading this article who know me are probably rolling your eyes because you’ve seen my many many flaws, but just know that I’m aware of the faults and am actively changing many of them. But I digress, back to Steve…

This afternoon his latest blog post, Overcoming Indecision, came across my RSS reader. I was very impressed by the content of the post, so I thought I’d mirror some of this thoughts here. At the beginning of the article he defines two ways that we grow: Linear Growth and Growth Forks. I wont’ go into detail, because I don’t want to plagiarize his content; Needless to say, I agree with him on both of these concepts. The most prominent part of the article (for me) is in the section entitled An Alternative Decision-Making Process, where he talks about the concept of the present moment, and how we make decisions based on consequences that are only felt in the present moment. An excerpt is as follows:

Instead of trying to predict the future to determine the long-term implications of each possible path, drop the whole branching timeline model. Instead of regarding time as a line, consider time as a single fixed point. In other words, assume that only the present moment is real, and nothing beyond that exists.

Your decision point no longer involves the selection of a long-term path. Now it’s merely a state change to your present moment.

As you consider the alternative choices you might make, ask yourself this question: “If I were to commit to this choice, how would it affect me right now? What immediate changes would I experience?”

Imagine each possible choice as real, as if you’ve already made it. Pay attention to how the choice makes you feel. Does it feel good, or does it feel wrong somehow?

This concept was a breath of fresh air for me. As most of you know I am in the process of closing on our first home purchase. Through the past 12 months there have been so many ups and downs, but I feel that through it all we’ve been able to make some pretty tough decisions with relative ease because we used the principles Pavlina talks about above. Whenever we are confronted with a decision to choose either A or B, the future consequences don’t really matter all that much. We just focus on what it means for us in the hear and now, in the present moment.

You may gasp in horror at this, but truly, I cannot even think of one instance where we have felt like the future consequences even mattered. Just take each challenge as it comes. Learn from the difficulties and move on. If they keep coming up, learn from them again, and move on. Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters most.

Note: Ironically, I wrote a song on my mission entitled “Indecision” that violates a lot of what I just wrote about. So either I was “right” then or “right” now, either way I am progressing (the direction of progression is determined by which “right” I was.) Come to think of it, pretty much every song I wrote back then violates the above stuff. …Internal thought processing… Awkward…