Every single day we are faced with decisions that impact our future. Some of these decisions
are big, many of them small, and even
more are so minor that they are made almost subconsciously, and we don’t even realize we have a choice (like whether to continue going in to work, whether or not to take a dump on your ex’s doorstep, etc.).
When it comes to these minor, maybe even “obvious” choices, we are very decisive, with hardly a hesitation. However, when it comes to the big, looming, seemingly life-changing decisions, we tend to get in trouble.
If you are like me, you have trouble with the big ones. I can think of three big, momentous decisions that I have faced in my life:
- My last second decision to change the college I would attend.
- My decision to quit a brand new job (and my first job out of college), to move across the country to COMPETE for a job that was not guaranteed.
- My decision to later quit that (highly paying) job after 2.5 years, with nothing lined up, travel for a month, and then attempt a major career change.
Each time I faced these scenarios, I had a very hard time. I became stressed to the point of physical illness. Mainly, I was afraid of a) falling on my face in failure, b) letting down people that had trusted/supported/invested in me, and c) moving away from friends, and/or family. These decisions are never easy. Even when it came to less daunting decisions, like what gift to get a loved one, or what phone to buy, or even where to go to dinner, I would always spend hours upon days upon weeks of research, trying to determine what the “right” choice was. So you KNOW I had a rough time when it came to the so-called life-changers. In some of these scenarios, my decision to quit, to leave, etc, led to some of the most difficult and daunting conversations that I’ve ever had, with people that I cared about, as I felt that I was letting them down.
But with each of these decisions, I learned a major lesson. Looking back, I am very happy with each decision that I made. Does this mean that if I had made the other decision, that I would currently be unhappy? Not at all. When it comes to decisions like these, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Once you make your decision, you MAKE it right. It isn’t that you lucked out and “chose correctly”. The decision becomes right because you make it so. Your decisions don’t have some predetermined outcome. You control the outcome.
There is no sense in looking back. Once you make a decision–and either decide to continue on the path you’ve been on, or start on a new path in your life–you lose the luxury of comparing those two outcomes. What I mean by that, is that you cannot compare your current life circumstances to a hypothetical set of circumstances that you may be living, had you taken the other route. Unfortunately, the technology for time travel does not exist yet (that I know of). So you can’t live out your decision, and then go back and live out the other decision to see which is better. What you CAN do, is be decisive, OWN your decision, and attack your plan with all of your might, and you can MAKE that decision right.
If you are a person that works hard, takes pride in your work, is resilient, and expects great things out of yourself, your success will never hinge on one single decision. So whatever decision you make–even if they bring setbacks–just keep plugging away and closing the gap toward your goals. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple–the company he started. He went on to become one of the most influential people in history as the CEO of that very same company. Do you think he was only successful because he was lucky enough to be able to patch things up with Apple’s execs? No chance. He would have been successful regardless.
Success or failure is rarely akin to a roll of the dice, or a spin of the roulette wheel. Your decisions don’t affect you–it is the other way around. It isn’t good fortune, or the luck of opportunities that come knocking at your door that ultimately lead to your success. YOU find your opportunities, and YOU affect the outcome of your decisions.
You make your own odds.