The Everyday Stress Of Decision Making
One of the greatest stresses that we create for ourselves everyday is caused by the way that we process our decisions. Be it big decisions or small decisions, we often give ourselves much pressure.
Take this scenario... You wake up in the morning and go about your morning routine, it may even start with the morning alarm sounding...
Oh there's the alarm, hmm shall I hit slumber or shall I get out of bed. I should get out of bed otherwise I'm going to be late...but I really want to stay here, just for five more minutes. OH, I must get up because if I'm late I'll miss the bus. If I miss the bus today, I'll miss that important work meeting...OH NO! that's right the important work meeting, I better get up and get a coffee, but I'm trying to cut down on coffee because everyone says it's bad for me. If I don't have that coffee, I'll never stay awake in the meeting, I better have that coffee...I just wont have one at lunch time. Oh what am I going to eat for lunch today, something that's not too fattening...
All that and we haven't even got out of bed and decided what to wear! Sometimes this internal dialogue can go un-noticed, if we noticed every single unconscious thought we have every minute of the day, it could be rather distracting, but do all those unconscious thoughts go unnoticed in our system, in our body? Do they come out and show themselves within the quality of our health?
Is Fear The Problem?
We face decisions everyday, many of them imposed on ourselves. Why is it often so hard to decide on things? One line of thought is that fear is the culprit for our indecisiveness. We are so scared or worried that we will make the wrong decision, and if we do that, then we will have to pay in one way or another for our mistake. This can often go back to our internal programming. As young children we are taught right from wrong. We often get shouted at, scolded for making mistakes. Of course we need to learn right from wrong, but it seems like a bug enters into our programming somewhere along the way, and causes it to run a little out of control. The fear of deciding one way or another is one of the leading causes of procrastination...I can't decide, so I'll do nothing!
A Useful And Famous Quote
"There is one thing that is certain and that is nothing is certain"
This quote can also be seen written in the following form, making it a paradox which causes you to stop think and ponder for a while.
"There is only one thing that is certain, and that is that nothing is certain. If this statement is true, it is also false"
So How Can We Stop Worrying About Our Decisions?
There are a couple of alternative ways to look at things that may be able to change your prospective a little, or at least take some of the pressure away from yourself and help you
All the things that have happened in your past, the decisions, right or wrong, have led you to where you are now. How about if you have the belief that everything, right now, as it is, is exactly as it should be. Everything that has happened in the past and is happening now, is right on the target and you are on the right path, what ever your decision may happen to be. The decisions you make, could be good or could be bad, who knows? There is a basis behind this theory, think about this...
How often in your life have the so-called wrong decisions, the worst experiences in your life, actually turned out to be the best things that have ever happened to you? How many people have fallen apart, devastated at a failed relationship or marriage, only to find that it opened the doorway for the real love of their life to walk through, or gave them the time and lessons needed to grow and find amazing opportunities that they never knew existed. Good or bad, who knows?
Making The Most Of It
Another thing to think about is that we can choose to make the best out of any situation. We have the ability to create our mindset, it's like the old saying about whether you see the glass as half full or half empty. Whatever direction you choose to move, will just give you different options to work with in life... If there isn't really a right or wrong decision, per-se, it takes the fear out of the equation. Our decisions do effect whether we turn left or right at the crossroads, but they are all our paths and we can work with what ever comes along. If you turn left...good or bad, who knows? If you turn right... good or bad, who knows?
What You Can Do To Help
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Most of my ideas for this talk come from a Dhamma talk given by Ajahn Brahm titled Decisions, Decisions, Decisions