Anthony Robbins talks a lot about decisions. One of his lines is that the quality of your life lies within the quality of your decisions. There is a lot of truth in what he talks about. Think about it. Each time you are faced with a decision, you are making a choice that will affect the events that shape your life. I know that there have been many times I’ve made some bad choices, and my life suffered as a result. And when I made better choices, my life improved. I know you’ve also had similar experiences.
So if the quality of our decisions determines the quality of our life, how do we go about making better choices? Most of the time it comes down to experience and education. Every time we are faced with a choice, our mind reviews our past experiences to see if we have any information that relates to the current situation. If we do have previous knowledge, and that knowledge is extensive, covering many different circumstances, then we have plenty of information with which to make a quality decision. If the information we have is scanty and limited, then the quality of our decision based on that information will be more questionable.
This sounds very good in theory, but let’s see how it sounds in actual practice. Let’s say that you’ve just made a decision to increase your income this year. How much information do you have regarding increasing income? If you’re like most people, you learn a skill and get a job. If you perform that job well, then you get rewarded by a raise in pay and possibly an increase in responsibility. That increase in responsibility results in having to learn new skills. What this means, if that if you are like most people, the information you have regarding increasing income leads you to believe that you have to get yourself promoted to a more responsible position or perform better in your current job to earn more money.
But is this the only route to increased income? Is the job you have now, or the company you work for, the only way you can make money? Obviously not, since there are many other people making money who are not in your company. One of the best ideas that I ever came across for gathering the best information on any subject (in order to make the best decisions regarding that subject) was to find out who are the people who excel in that subject. If you want to learn about physics, the best people to talk to are physicists. If you want to learn about making money, the best people to talk to are those making the most money.
How do rich people make their money? How do those in wonderful relationships develop those relationships? How do those who are happy arrive at that happiness? In any subject that you have to make a decision, your best source of information are those people who are excelling in that subject.
But is the quantity of information we have available to us the only controlling factor in regards to the quality of our decisions? No. The strength of our conviction behind the decision is also very important to the quality of that decision. If we’re not really committed to the decision that we have just made, then we won’t put forward our best efforts to follow through with the actions required to implement it. On the other hand, if we are willing to move heaven and earth and push through any series of trials that present themselves on our way to following through on our decision, then there is quality in that decision.
I’m sure you’ve had experience with making a decision to change a habit, but ended up giving in to the habit and giving up on your decision. We’ve all done that. You already know that this is not the way to handle the important decisions of your life. If you really want something, you really have to stand behind your decisions to do what it takes to get it. You know that. But do you do it? Maybe all you need is practice in standing behind your decisions.
Many people make little decisions that don’t really involved much, except that they involve doing something that they don’t really like doing. Like eating a kind of food that doesn’t taste good to them, or wearing clothes that don’t fit the season (heavy, warm clothes in the summer; or light, cool clothes in the winter), or even stepping outside of their comfort zone in inconsequential situations. This is very good discipline training. In fact, this is exactly where the original austerities used by many religions came from. Through this kind of training, the mind becomes clear, the emotions become stable, and the spirit becomes pure.
But don’t stop with inconsequential decisions in your quest for mental discipline. Start to apply this discipline and make quality decisions that affect the long term conditions of your life. Every day you have a choice between doing the same old thing or doing something different. If you would like your life to be different than it is now, you now know exactly what you need to do. Learn as much as you can from those who have demonstrated a mastery of the subject, then make decisions based on that information and stand behind those decisions and make them happen for you!