How concerned are you with making right choices? What do you base your decisions on? How do you decide which career to embark on, what hobby to pursue, what financial instruments to invest in, where to go for your next vacation, and so on? In this post, I am not talking about making ethical choices. I am talking about making the apparently small, everyday choices to the apparently big, life-impacting ones. I am assuming that whatever choice you make is ethically sound as far as you know it to be. I am exploring here how we arrive at our decisions and what our decision-support structures might be.
Think about it! Are you the sort who agonizes over every decision because you want to make sure that it is always the “right” decision? Or are you the type who would rather just “go with the flow” and “cross the bridge when we come to it”? Do you have a tendency to let others make the decisions for you, or are you adamant at having it your way? Whatever it is, would you agree that you mostly want the decision to be the “right” one? Well, how DO you arrive at the “right” decision, then? Do you have a decision-support structure that helps you? What might some of these be? Well, I have always been utterly convinced that when we build and continuously reinforce our foundational moral principles, decision-making is made much easier because we then are very clear about what we want, which direction to go, and what markers we will not cross. If that is clearly established, then we need to reinforce our decision-making support structures with the following:
When we acquire credentials, skills, etc., we say that we are becoming more competent at whatever it is we are engaging in. For example, we might obtain a degree in Business with First Class Honours, and be considered competent to take on a teaching assignment in Business or some related subject in a Junior College. Perhaps a teaching diploma might be required as well.
We might be perfectly competent at teaching Business in a Junior College, and might correspondingly be considered competent for a middle management post in a corporation, but that does not mean that we have the capability to take on the post. Capabilities need to be demonstrated in live situations and are the manifest expression of whether one is truly competent or otherwise. So, it should come as no surprise if a perfectly competent holder of a good Business degree discovers that he or she in incapable of functioning optimally in a middle management post. That does not mean that he or she is not suitable for the job, it merely means that he or she needs to visualize how to apply the acquired competencies to the job and perhaps get some mentoring by a more senior person.
Our capacities are our ability to absorb more knowledge and wisdom, and our ability to take on more assignments. It is also about our ability to reframe our thinking and attitudes in the light of new knowledge and understanding that is given to us. When we increase our internal capacity, we reinforce our ability to remain relevant and vibrant, continuing to deliver real value to those around us.
These are just a few examples of what we need in our decision-support structures. There are many other factors that will influence our decisions. What I am presenting here is to help you realize that, perhaps, always making the “right” choice may not be what we really want, since no one would have the required omniscience to do so. However, when we reinforce our Competencies, Capabilities and Capacities, we go a long way towards making, perhaps not the “right” choices, but most certainly the “best” choices that we can make at any particular time.
May you be at peace with your choices!