I recently read a quote by the late Christian Evangelist, Myles Munroe;
“Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make everyday, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.”
We make decisions every single day of our lives; some are minute and some life changing. Even when we procrastinate and cannot make up our mind, we are making a decision to do so. Decision making is not always easy, particularly if it will go on to impact the lives of others around us.
Fear can mean we struggle to make a decision. The very idea that we will be wholly responsible for the outcome of the decision can make us step back in the hope that everything will sort out of its own accord. It rarely will. Decisions made today can go onto impact our lives in 20 years time. Therefore it is important we are well informed and non emotional when making decisions. We cannot afford for our emotions to influence our thinking.
Our priorities will change according to our stage in life. The decisions we make in our early twenties will greatly differ to those made in our early 40’s. As we mature in age, we should also mature in wisdom.
I recall when I was a teenager, I yearned to be am adult, to come and go as I pleased, to stay up until whatever time I liked, to be independent. My mum would say many a time;
“Enjoy your youth as being an adult is not all it is cracked up to be”.
I thought my mum just wanted to spoil my fun and hinder my moving from a child to a young adult. Looking back my mum was right. As a child and teenager I rarely had to make decisions. I was certainly responsible for a number of activities as I grew up in a single parent household. However, I was spared from having to make decisions. This was my mum’s territory and she did us proud.
What is your approach when decision making? Do you face it head on or procrastinate?
How has this impacted on your life?
Just when we believe we know enough, a situation occurs to remind us that we are still in learning mode. In order to have wisdom we must be willing to accept we do not know everything. We must be willing to learn from others and yes, this will mean eating humble pie now and again. It can be difficult admitting you do not know or understand a process or concept but you may miss an opportunity to learn if you stay silent. Some people are far easier to learn from whilst with others it can be a truly testing experience.
In my eyes making a mistake is not the biggest fail, falling to learn from the mistake is. If you do not do or say the wrong thing now and then you must live a very cautious life. There have been times I strictly told myself first thing in the morning I will not do or say the wrong thing and this lasted all of 30 minutes. I did not even make it to work! My heart was willing but my flesh had other ideas. Wisdom was not applied here.
Wisdom is knowing yourself and putting strategies in place to help you deal with challenges. We can fool others but not ourselves. We should take time to gain self awareness, to be more in tune with others, to look beyond our own situation and into how others are feeling. Wisdom is having the right words to say in sensitive situations or perhaps not even speaking at all if the situation does not warrant it.
I enjoy listening to the more mature. Life and experiences have taught them. They have a less uptight outlook on life and tend to see life as less complex than the younger generations. I love the simplicity they bring to conversations. I wonder how they view life today as compared to when they were younger. How do they get their head around technology, how fast life is moving today?
I hope I will leave myself open to learning and never feel I have ‘arrived’. No matter how intellectual, successful, people focused one is there is always room to learn more. We are all on a journey, albeit on different pathways, and at different paces but none of us is above being taught something new.
What is wisdom to you?
Do you believe it grows with age?
Are you open to learning?
With less than five months to go until 2019, how has 2018 faired for you? At the start of 2018 you would have had plans and ideas – some have come to pass and others are still outstanding. At times we can underestimate just how long it will take to complete a project and therefore we set unrealistic timelines. Setting the goal is rather easy, putting in the work not so much so. We could also go to the extreme of setting very few goals in the hope that we achieve them but where is the challenge in that?
Life in general impacts greatly on our plans and we need to expect delays, challenges and distractions along the way. Disappointments can be disheartening and make us question whether we are on the right path or putting our energy into a project that has little hope. Disappointments can throw us off track particularly when running to tight deadlines. It is therefore important to work with an element of flexibility.
The years really do seem to go fast. I am unsure if this is due to my age as when a teenager time moved far more slowly. The five years of secondary school (high school) seemed to last forever. I wondered on occasion if they would end. Now, I constantly feel pushed for time and am forced to prioritise my load. Either this or I just drift along waiting for life to happen to me which is not recommended at all.
I tend to reflect on what I learnt even if the outcome was not as expected. Once I have something to take away I know I have grown. It can be a painful way to grow but taking something from a situation highlights it was not done/said in vain. It always helps to bring an element of consolation for me, believing almost all experiences having a learning element in them.
I have several long term goals, one of which has been lingering for some time. There is no pressure or actual deadline so I have the leeway to move the goal posts. This has had its advantages and disadvantages. It brought me time when I needed it but now I must knuckle down before the year is out. There is a time to stay still and a time to move forward and it is knowing which to do at each stage of our life that matters.
How has 2018 been for you so far?
Have you changed direction or put a goal on hold due to personal circumstances? What have you learnt?
IT is a wonderful feeling being confident in who you are and showing the world what you stand for. It takes boldness to turn left when everyone is turning right but it is important that we do not feel pressured into hiding who we are. There are many elements that make up our character and we should embrace those which do not impact negatively on us or those around us.
If we are not careful we can allow ourselves to be heavily influenced by those around us. Taking on their opinions, lifestyle and beliefs. Our opinions, values and beliefs are just as important as those of others and vice versa. Once you are sure of your standing you have no need to impose these on others. As a teenager I was quiet and appeared to have little opinions. This could not be further from the truth; I held a lot of views and was and still am rather passionate about particular topics and causes. I did not feel the need to infringe these on others as there was no real benefit to this. Also I had this belief that people in my life at the time were not wholly interested in me or my views.
Sometimes coming into our own is accompanied by maturity. We have long surpassed the peer pressure stage and comfortable with who we are. We are more likely to be confident in our roles at work, in the home and amongst friends and family. It can be liberating in so many ways. There tends to be less focus on how we are perceived by others and more on the plans we have for our lives. A time to choose to put ourselves in the company of those who accept us rather than changing who we are to are to accommodate them.
In order to be ourselves we need to avoid making comparisons with others. We need to accept ourselves even when we are aware of the areas that require improvement. We need to be confident in sharing our views if asked. We need to be willing to stand even if it means standing alone.
The saying “Be yourself because everyone else is taken” comes to mind.
Have you always been true to yourself or did you have to work on this over a number of years?
What advice would you give to someone struggling in this area?