Lately, I have been working through some stuff, some hard stuff, and I have to be honest, I don’t know that I’m feeling that good about some of my decisions right now. Well, some are decisions and some are sort of decisions by default—they are decisions by no-decisions, which is still very much a choice in and of itself. So tell me, do you ever let the Universe make decisions for you?
When you need to make a decision, do you make it? Or do you let things play out without your involvement, kind of filling in the gaps for you? If it is a situation you don’t want to address or deal with, it is really easy not to act and simply allow things to unfold around us. But make no mistake, by doing this, you are still making a decision.
Well, first there is learning the lesson of what I like to call filling in the gaps. Anything that you do not tend to the Universe will supply for you. Let me give you an example. I have a mentor who once gave some advice about finding a relationship. He said to write down all of the traits or attributes that I would in a man that I wanted to date. Now, I wasn’t supposed to be focusing on looks but more of what I wanted from a partner. But my mentor said to be detailed. And I just shrugged my shoulders. “Yeah, yeah I have tons of details written down.” Not too long after that, I met someone. He was amazing. He had all of the items on my list. He also happened to have a voice that cut through me like a diamond cuts glass. I mean every time this guy opened his mouth I shuttered. And, I don’t really know why. It was just the tone of his voice on my ears. Other people didn’t hear what I heard—I mean some did, but not everyone. Needless to say, it didn’t work out. Then I went back to my list and thought about more details.
A man’s voice isn’t something you think about right off the bat. But it was a detail that I neglected and the Universe filled it in. And it turned out to be a very big deal for me. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know, but the point is, pay attention to the details. They matter. Don’t assume. Be specific.
Behind all of this are some lessons that I apparently need to learn, and re-learn, and re-learn yet again. When I was in high school, there was a dance I wanted to go. And there was one specific young man I wanted to go with. But I was too afraid to say anything to him. So, I just tried to be “around” him as much as possible and hope that telepathically he would pick up on what I wanted. He didn’t. I mean, how many teenage boys do you know to be overly intuitive about teenage girls, right? Needless to say, he asked someone else. I was devastated. And the worst part, perhaps, is that since I waited so long, everyone else had a date too. I did not go to that dance.
Fast forward a whole bunch of years and let the learning continue. I have been taking my time about whether to attend a conference later this year. I knew I wanted to go but there were some family things in the works, blah, blah, blah. So, I waited. And I waited longer than I needed to. And yesterday, when I finally made the decision to go, I found out they no longer had a seat for me. So, I am now missing out on something I had been looking forward to—again.
Okay, Dannie, we get it, but those circumstances you mentioned above aren’t exactly a big deal (except for missing out on that dance!). And I agree, individually and as isolated occurrences, they aren’t a “big” deal. But collectively, over time, they form a pattern, until one day you are relying solely on other things and other people to dictate the choices for your own life. And after time, that doesn’t feel good.
The ability to make decisions is so crucial to our success in life. And yet, we tend to be kind of bad at it. Decisions are what determine our future. However, no grade school, middle school or high school teaches how to make decisions. I mean schools make decisions for us. And they tell kids what they think their decisions should be. But none of them teach kids how to make decisions for themselves.
I don’t know at this point that college is much better. It seems to be more enabling of not having to make a decision. I know this because I have taught at the university level. And I have mentored many a young adult freshly out of college. These kids really don’t have a good handle on how to make a sound decision that is in alignment with them. I think this is because no one ever told them how to make a decision.
Before you can make a decision, you had better have a really good handle on who you are. What do you stand for? What are your core values? What does your life vision look like at this time? Where are you headed? What do you want to gain from life? What do you want to achieve?
If you can’t answer these questions succinctly and under 30 seconds, you need to do some soul searching. You should know the answers to these kinds of questions so well that you could answer them in your sleep. Why? Because how can you ever weigh evidence in the case of a decision to be made without knowing what the potential consequences to you as a person are? Or the potential consequences to those around? If you make X decision, and it results in Y outcome, how are you going to feel about that?
Since many young adults don’t have the slightest idea who they are or how to make a decision. I see them leaving their lives up to the Universe. Then, they end up in jobs they hate. They end up in debt. They end up in really poor relationships.
And I can easily forgive these mistakes. We’ve all made some of them. Maybe all of them. But, we are supposed to learn and grow and not repeat these mistakes. But when it comes to decisions, we just end up riding that roller coaster over and over again.
Decisions, of course, don’t always turn out as planned. But I would rather be in charge of steering my own ship—possibly into an embankment—but still steering rather than riding around on a rudderless vessel. That is why I have spent a great deal of time figuring out and deciding who I am. That is why I continue to discover who I am.
I get it, Universe. Lesson finally learned. Don’t wait to make a decision on things that I want. Decide early. Decide often.
Oh, and please do not mistake the difference between not making a decision and the need to surrender to the Universe. Not making a decision is just that. Surrendering to the Universe means I have made all possible decisions that are within my control and in alignment with self and I leave the outcome, or the parts I can’t control, up to the Universe. There is a big, big difference.
It is important to me that people realize they have more control over their lives than they think or that they sometimes care to admit. You have a choice in your attitude, in your behavior. That is why I have spent the last few months putting together a new book and online video course called Get in a Good Mood & Stay There. I wanted to give you helpful, daily practices to help you make the choice to stay in a better state of mind and to make more aligned decisions as a result. I know what is waiting for you on the other side of a perpetual good mood. I know what’s on the other side of the rainbow—it’s everything you want.