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  1. 1. Decisions“When a decision has to be made, make it. There is no totally right time foranything.” - General George Patton Take a personal inventory of where you are now. Are your trials andtribulations the consequence of someone else’s actions? Maybe the economy, thegovernment, the weather, or your family is accountable for anything terrible that istranspiring in your life at the moment. This is a mountain of lies; hope you wouldnot mind the use of such a strong phrase. To mince no words, you are where youare now because of a thousand small and big decisions taken over a time period.Yes, they have the final say in shaping your personality. Decisions are theheartbeats of our lives. Whether they are major or minor good decisions, they willalways take you a step closer toward achieving your goals. Decisions are made when you make a choice and cut yourself off fromany other possibility. A decision is when you choose to move in one direction andnot in any other possible direction. It is the cut-off point. It is a commitment to oneparticular action. The pedigree of the word “decision” comes from the Latin roots de,which means “from,” and caedere, which means “cut-off.” Thus, you are cut-offfrom any other possibility. Life is full of decisions. For example, how can I eliminate the stress inmy job? What should I do with my earnings? What should I do to become rich andfamous? What should I wear for my friend’s birthday bash? What career do I wantto have? What kind of marriage partner do I want? How many children do I wantto have? Each individual is a decision maker by himself. Each one of us is obligedto take the process of decision-making seriously and keep improving the quality ofour lives (with good decisions). Those who have become millionaires and billionaires have revealed thetruth that each one of them had the tendency to make up their minds quickly andchange their minds slowly (if change was needed at all). This is truly the telltalesign of their greatness. People who are enmeshed in financial difficulties, without
  2. 2. exception, have the tendency to make up their minds slowly and change theirminds quickly. Firmness of decision Henry Ford imagined that a V-8 engine was a certainty. No shred of doubtexisted in his mind. His engineers did not sing the same tune. However, because hewas ruling the roost (at the helm of his company’s affairs), they unenthusiasticallyworked on some plans before they told him it was unworkable. Ford, beingstubborn as a mule, insisted that his men give it more effort. They tried very hard,but their efforts again proved to be fruitless. When they again told Ford that theidea was impracticable, he came reasonably close to losing his temper and told themen point blank that he had to have a V-8 engine. This time the men approachedthe task with fresh energy and the V-8 engine became a reality. Do not blow hot and cold if the plans are not producing the desired results(plans take time to happen). Maintain an even temper and stand by your decisions. Indecision Indecision invariably happens because we lack confidence in our capabilities.Without being able to make a decision, a person ensures that he will not advance inwhatever task may be at hand. It is a way to remain “stuck” (without getting youanywhere). “Stagnation” is the operative word here. Indecision is a habit that typically starts in youth. The habit cements itsplace as a youth goes through grade school, high school, and even through collegewithout a definite purpose. Indecisiveness is responsible for the derailing of careers. Not selecting anappropriate job also comes under the heading of indecisiveness. Bring an elementof certitude in your thinking. Control your destiny by your planned and purposefulactions. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  3. 3. When in two minds, take assistanceWhen Tom was a little boy, he was no slouch at basketball (it was not just a sportbut a passion for him). He knew how to dribble the ball past defenders and drive tothe basket for a dunk or a layup, and when to stop and shoot a jump shot. But whenhe reached adulthood, he became obsessed with airplanes. He used to watch airforce movies weekly and read aloud flying magazines at bedtime. He regularlystood behind hedges near airports, photographing planes taking off and landing. Hetook trips to air museums and traveled many miles to see air shows. He had cakesresembling Spitfires and soft toys in the shape of a Concorde. It became a gooddilemma as to which path he should choose (his childhood passion or his adulthoodobsession). Becoming confused, he went to his father and asked, “Shall I be abasketball player or a pilot?” “Tom,” his father replied categorically, “If you wantto do complete justice to your vocation, choose one.” Tom decided to become a fighter pilot. He joined the Royal Air Forcein 1983 as a university cadet while at Kings College London. He started formalpilot training in 1987, and since then, he has never been employed outside thecockpit. With over 4200 flying hours, Tom is on his 6th consecutive flying tour, allof which have been in single-seat fighters. Tom was successful as a fighter pilotmainly because he had excellent reactions and good hand–eye coordination. Hisfavorite method of attack was to fly underneath an enemy, and with his weaponpointing upward, empty his missiles into the body of the doomed aircraft. Positive decisions bring positive resultsKaitlin was an ambitious woman. She was just two months old at her job andwanted to quickly learn the ins and outs of her profession. She was even jockeyingfor a promotion (without resorting to kowtowing). Therefore, she started to put inthat extra effort to learn more in less time. This kind of stressful work pattern camein direct conflict with her family life. She had no time to wind down, nor could shefind any time to spend with her husband (a rabbi who was working with acongregation near Washington, D.C.) and kids. In addition, routine skirmishesflared up between Kaitlin and her husband because of her physical and mentalfatigue.
  4. 4. To resolve these unhealthy circumstances, she looked over her life andpondered it. Realizing her mistakes, she decided to address the issue by posing thefollowing questions to herself:(a) How can I not get sandwiched between the two situations, i.e., how can Ibalance my family and work?(b ) When can I be on a vacation with my husband and kids?(c ) What do I want to achieve five years down the line? No sooner had she made a searching analysis then she began to seepositive results in her life.Constructive decision making: constructive decisions are made “with the head andthe heart.” We actually make better decisions when we use our conscious mindtogether with our unconscious mind. A constructive decision maker always has thecompany of six friends—who? what? why? when? where? and how?. Important pointers –(1 ) Constructive decisions make people look up to you.(2 ) Constructive decisions satisfy the creator.(3 ) Constructive decisions give personal satisfaction.(4 ) Constructive decisions are progressive in nature.(5 ) Constructive decisions make you a man of substance.(6 ) Constructive decisions contribute to your character building. Constructive decisions that result in negative outcomes should not make youfrantic with worry. If you make up your mind to take the scenic route, dependingon the knowledge you have about the road (less traffic, minimal risk, greatscenery), then your decision is a fantastic one, even though you might happen toget into an accident. It is not correct to say, “Oops, this was a helluva decision. Iam such an idiot.”
  5. 5. Thaddeus had a hankering to be the best express pace bowler in the world.But his coach told him that, because of his short stature, he could not generate thepace to cut the swathe through the opposition batting line-up. Thaddeus did not goballistic on hearing this hard-to-digest truth. Instead, he worked like a maniac to bea multifaceted spinner. He learned the art of offspin and leg spin to get wickets.Within no time, he posed a huge threat to the opposition. He became a dependable,genuine match winner for his team. So what if he could not become a lightningquick bowler? He made sure that he still became a bowler of class. All this couldhappen only because of his constructive thinking and decision-making (they gohand-in-glove with each other).Destructive decision-making: Correct thinking is the basis for successful decision-making. Without it, any talent or intellectual potential is a waste. Awful, boring, hell, tedious, hackneyed, unbearable…these sorts of wordscan be heard from people who have “viruses” infecting their thinking. It is theirthinking that is causing them maximum damage. Their perspectives have robbedthem of the “enjoyment factor” in their lives. It is only a question of time beforeglumness sets into their lives. Just look at these shameful instances: people permit themselves to “drink”in an “uncontrollable” manner, even though there is well-documented evidencedescribing its detrimental effects; they take drugs (heroin, cocaine) for pleasurewhen they know it is endangering their health; and they eat endlessly and developa plump figure. Hence, it is no surprise that they are setting themselves up fortrouble. Their destructive decision-making leads them to the point where they areteetering on the brink of self-destruction.