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Indecision Is A Decision Too

July 23, 2017

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions, says Stephen Covey.

Guess what? So are you!

Take a few moments and let that sink in, as you reflect on where you are today and what decisions have led you there.

When I was growing up, my Mum was very tough and half the time I used to feel she didn’t understand me. Her sense of fashion was “outdated” in my eyes, her lack of accepting “my friends” was like an insult to me and even what she wanted me to eat didn’t go down very well with me. To me, it seems like she wanted me to grow up the way she did. Fortunately (for both of us), I was a child who feared altercations of any kind so I never wanted to argue with her and decided that when I grow up, all the things she was telling me not to do I would do them.... except for the part she wanted me to be a police woman. I have nothing against the police and I do respect them a lot, but can you try to imagine me as a traffic cop? Ok, that’s a bad joke. (Now I don’t even know how to get that image out of my mind.)

Anyway, moving on, finally I grew up and started life on my own and realized that my Mum had been and still is a very wise woman. Sometimes I wish I could go back to being a little child; I’d say yes to everything she said to me, including eating pumpkins and drinking goat soup, both of which I hate. (But I still have my doubts about me accepting the policewoman part.) Why do I wish I was a child again? Because as a child, you have people making all the decisions for you and if anything happens based on those decisions, then the adults would be to blame. But when you are an adult, your decisions affect not only you but even those around you.

If today you decided to eat junk food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the two mini meal times at 10am and 4pm, you would have yourself to blame when your body takes on the shape of a croissant, or if you end up looking like someone put some four Michelin tyres around you.

On the other hand, if you decided to starve yourself in the name of wanting to look like a model, to the point of being anorexic, again, you would have nobody else to blame but yourself.

Then there are those situations where you are forced by other people to do things and because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you oblige and do it.

I know a story of a young man whose parents wanted him to be a lawyer. He hated law and wanted nothing to do with it but because he didn’t want to seem disrespectful to his parents, he studied law and after seven years, he graduated with 1st class honors.

On his graduation party, when he was asked to speak a few words, he stood up and said this, “Initially when my dad insisted that I do law, I really didn’t want to because I knew my passion was elsewhere. However, because he is my father, I decided to obey. Today I am glad that I finally got this recognition and dad, it would not have happened without you. I have spent the last seven years in law school because of you Dad and today, I have brought home what you so badly needed. So it is with much humility and honor that I now give you your recognition. I believe I am now free to go after what I really wanted to pursue in my life; being a chef.”

Your guess is as good as mine as to what transpired after that, but I would want to believe that the knowledge he acquired at law school did not go to waste but was put to some good use after he started his food chains in different parts of the country. As a side note, this should go to all parents out there as a warning. Times have changed now and our kids have minds of their own. Stop trying to live your dreams through your children’s lives. They have dreams and goals of their own, so the best you can do is support them, otherwise they will not even involve you in their issues in future.

I say this as a parent too; I have an eighteen year old son who I would really love for him to go into the IT and/or engineering world because he is so good at both, but his passion is elsewhere; music production and DJ-ing (face palm). The best I can do is pray for him and show him how he can be more than just a music producer (and DJ). I show him how he can get into sound engineering and get hired to do huge events happening in different parts of the continent, how he can start a DJ-ing school and teach others to DJ. I try as much as possible not to get out of the scope of is passion because I know if I do I could easily lose his trust. I can’t make that decision for him, but I can only steer him in the right direction and hopefully, he will.

Unfortunately there are so many people who go through life as adults, yet they are still being made decisions for. Imagine how much time they waste by the time they realize they made the wrong decision by allowing someone else to make a decision for them! Some are still living with their parents, not because they can’t live on their own but because they have become so dependent on others making decisions for them. They can’t even decide what to wear or eat without asking!

Friends, not making a decision is a decision in itself. Allowing someone else to make a decision for you is a decision in itself. Choosing to play safe instead of taking risks head on is a decision in itself. Taking a risk and failing is a decision in itself. Choosing to remain down after failing is a decision in itself. Picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and trying a different approach is a decision in itself. Procrastination is a decision in itself. Being proactive is a decision in itself.

In other words, every single day we do make decisions that affect our lives in one way or another. Whether the decision is made by commission or by omission, it is still a decision.

Is your life in a rut that you need to get out of? Then make a decision and follow through with that decision. Actually let me tell you something, the difference between your growth and your stagnation lies in one simple thing called a decision. If you are not growing, it means you need to make a decision to get out of that non-growth situation and move on to one that will help you grow. Whether it is a job, a business, a relationship or even an academic plateau, be tough and decide enough is enough and make the necessary decision that will help you turn your life around.

Every successful person I know or have read about has made tough decisions to break through. This means that you will never ever get to where you want to be without making touch decisions too. Here’s another thing; don’t expect everyone to agree with the decisions you make all the time. Some people will fight those decisions because they know they work against them, while others will oppose them because they don’t understand why you would make such decisions, especially if they are drastic. Here’s yet another thing you should know; not all the decisions you will make will be right, but if they are wrong, you will have learnt from your failure and be better prepared the next time.

I don’t know where you are in your life and what decisions you need to make but you are afraid of taking a step. Like Caroline Myss said, “Always go with the choice that scares you the most because that is the one that is going to help you grow”.

Remember, whether you make a decision or you don’t, either way a decision will have been made. So why leave that opportunity to chance, instead of dealing with it yourself?

Don’t leave your destiny in the hands of other people. Shape it yourself today. To quote Anthony Robbins, “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”

Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.

 

PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 23rd July, 2017, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words". 

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