I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered “Such-and-Such” meal at a restaurant and regretted it once the dish is served. The regret occurs when I glance at the dish my dinner companion ordered. It looks so much tastier than mine. Things get even worse for me if the dinner companion expresses sheer joy at every bite. “Ooooh,” and “ahhhhhhh,” the person says with eyes closed and a blissful smile. My “Such-and-Such” dish tastes “so-so” and so I don’t appreciate hearing of the deliciousness I’m missing out on. (Hint to future dinner companions.)
We often have to live with our decisions and I wouldn’t mind this at all if I always made the right one. But living with the wrong decision means living with regret. I hate regret.
I have some decisions to make that will affect Jerry and me. It’s hard to know which way to go, so I put it off.
Jerry said, “Bronwyn, write down the pros and cons of each choice. When you see it in writing, you’ll know what to do.”
I followed Jerry’s advice and it turned out I had just about as many pros as cons for each. I loved the pros and hated the cons and didn’t feel any closer to a choice.
I’d like for Jerry to make the decision, but he says, “This is your decision. You’re on your own.” He knows if he decides for me, I might (perhaps, maybe) say, “What a bad decision you made, Jerry,” when things don’t work out.
In the past when I’ve struggled with a decision, I’ve imagined I’m giving advice to someone who has the same decision to make. For some reason—I don’t know why—I’m better at helping imaginary people make decisions than helping myself. I admit, I hate it when the imaginary person argues with me and tells me why my suggested choice is a loser.
I’ve stopped talking to imaginary people. They don’t listen.
Dr. Phil says, “Sometimes you have to make the right decision, and sometimes you have to make the decision right.”
How does one make a bad decision right? Say you make the decision to sell everything you own, move to Alaska and open a dog-sledding excursion business. Once there, you realize you don’t like the shivering, teeth-chattering feeling as you holler “mush” in slushy snow. The dogs eat more dog food than you planned in your budget and the customers complain of bumpy, downhill rides and demand a refund.
How do you make it right if you’re too broke to relocate to Hawaii?
I came across an article by Dr. Phil in which he suggests the majority of decisions people make are based on fear rather than desire. He offers the example of choosing “Mr. Right Now” for fear of never finding “Mr. Right.”
“Your self-worth is not a matter of wins versus losses,” he writes.[i] “It’s an inherent God-given quality, so don’t catastrophize the consequences of your decisions.” He sums up, “You’ll never get ahead by playing it safe.”
I have faced a lot of fears in the past ten years and those particular fears no longer control me. But fears will hide in other areas of your life that you never considered. And when fears take control, they make you live a boring life.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on living a boring life held hostage by fear.
And I think that sounds like a decision.
[i] Dr. Phil, “Dr. Phil: The Four Letter Word That Can Ruin Your Life.” The Huffington Post 11/11/2013