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Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Moment That Changes Life

A moment - one moment of a life can affect the outcome of its purpose and its future existence. Everyone is aware that a terrible tragedy or an unforeseen stroke of fate, such as a tragic traffic accident or a winning lottery tickets, can do this. People usually have no control whatsoever over these situations.  However, other life-altering moments involve conscious decisions and definite acts of will. These willful moments also permanently alter people's lives.

Every decision in life comes with a consequence, some harsher than others. And, not every situation in life will end in the story book ending often instilled in younger minds as a set ideal. Often life’s situations or problems don’t have textbook right or wrong definitive answers. It comes to a point where people have to make the decisions based upon their own personal values and beliefs - a set if criteria usually disorganized and scattered in the human brain.

Dr. Larina Kase, cognitive-behavioral psychologist and author, believes the following suggestions are vital to making good decisions that may have a serious effect on one's life. ("Making Life-Altering Decisions,", April 20, 2010)

1) Reduce negative emotion by doing something relaxing or invigorating and then listen to our intuition when we’re in a calm state of mind.

2) Rely on our natural support systems—those who know us well and can help to connect us with our core values and beliefs. Those who are not implicated in the decision and can help us see the situation objectively.

3) Rely on outside or expert opinion. There are some decisions that we are not qualified to make and we need to get assistance from a subject matter expert.

It is tempting for people to make a decision right now to free them from the anxiety of having to decide. In fact, many decisions may be delayed until avenues of choice become clear of distractions. Time is definitely a commodity that can serve as a life saver. To use time actively by seeking the best answer is not wasted effort. The very acts of digesting pertinent input and allowing the information to settle into our belief systems relieve negative unrest if the decision maker is using the proper available tools.
Depending on their values and the quality information instilled in their critical thinking mechanisms of the brain, people make their own choices. The "gut feeling" or "sense of heart" may lead many in a negative direction instead of pulling them toward success and happiness. Too many times youth are presented with split-second decisions that their brains are not ready to even consider -- to have sex, to take the drug, to take a risk, to join a status group. The lasting orders of society were not constructed by momentary decisions.
The consequences of bad decisions vary, yet all bad decisions lead to some misery and disappointment. Guaranteed. It's only a question of when, and how much. Individuals all have freedom of choice, but they do not have freedom of consequence. (David McDermott, The Ultimate Decision Making Model for You,, 2010)
McDermott believes the effects of bad decisions consist of some or all of the following:

•the individual compromises themselves

•they don't get what they actually want

•they do get what they want but at the expense of others, which damages the relationship

•anxiety, distress and guilt etc., etc., etc.

•physical symptoms, aches and pains etc

•having to learn lessons the hard way

•time wasted, either having to go back and cleanup, or doing unnecessary things

•financial cost

•and the most insidious and damaging effect is a wasted life!

McDermott also contends that, fortunately, not all bad decisions are major ones. People compromise themselves in a myriad of ways every single day. It is true some bad decisions become recurrent in setting up patterns of habitual availability. To believe that life can be lived free of making bad decisions is folly. Perhaps then, people should try harder to identify repeat errors of judgment and cut down on these particular culprits. Here are some very typical examples of such errors:

•saying yes when you'd rather say no

•doing things that you don't want to be doing

•making decisions so other people think well of you

•spending time with people you don't want to be with

All these things are examples of bad decision making:

•making decisions so others can feel ok but you have to sacrifice in some way

•doing things you know have generated the effects of bad decisions in the past!

•allowing others to treat you poorly

•letting others make decisions so you're living the life they want you to live

A moment of brief consideration and a quick decision can truly have lasting effects. When given the opportunity, people facing these potential life-altering events (and, all do) might do well to pause, think, and even walk away until the heart stops pounding and the head quits swimming. As much as the words passion, mystery, and daring excite the senses and draw the curiosity, people who fully understand consequences usually make much better "life moment" decisions.

To those who follow the "better to burn out than fade away" existence, expect the edges to crumble and the steps to stumble sooner rather than later. Quite frankly, with the human brain reaching good critical thinking levels at ages 25-30, a little rust will actually improve the quality of life. Whoever is lucky enough to establish control in a downward spiral is definitely on par with a lottery winner. Left alone in a thrill zone, many an unfortunate soul makes decisions that cause him to enter a deadly kill zone.

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