Goal: To understand the value and components of making good, practical and wise decisions
Proverbs 3:13-18: “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed” – Proverbs: 3: 13 – 18 (TNIV).
Have you ever made a poor or bad decision and had to “pay for it?” How much or what did it cost you? On the other hand, when you made a good decision, what did you feel, gain or experience? Did you feel confident or relieved and experience peace of mind or contentment when things worked out favorably for you? If one word could sum up your decision-making process, would that word be “invaluable?” It’s been my experience that when it comes to decisions and decision making, there’s nothing that matches the feeling of empowerment, certainty and resolves when a good, thoughtful, sound, and wise decision is made.
I work as a Psychotherapist, and I’ve noticed that people rarely make big or major decisions in my office. What they do accomplish though is they’ll invite me to facilitate (or participate) in a conversation where values such as focused listening, contemplation, insight and intentional living are discussed and practiced and upon departure, they tend to leave with greater resolve regarding “the next right decision(s)” they’ll implement for the betterment of their situation.
I consider it an honor to be invited to sit with them and to participate in a process where most of the time, when they leave my office, I see the rich and priceless value King Solomon references in the scripture above. I’ve observed that when their heart, soul, strength, mind and their “neighbor” (typically a loved one) has been given attention and deliberation, usually a constructive plan or course of action that makes sense to them is identified and will soon be carried out then evaluated for its effectiveness.
To me, these are the ingredients of wise and worthwhile decision-making processes, and if practiced consistently, especially in the 7 Core Areas of your existence, will yield the beneficial and invaluable outcomes of which the King speaks. In our next two posts we’ll look at the “portrait of wisdom” and “growing wisdom” but before that I have a question (or two or three) for you to consider:
When faced with a decision, major or minor, ask yourself: What’s my goal and what outcome am I wanting to achieve or reach? Who’s involved here and have I reasonably considered their thoughts, feelings (and heart, soul, mind and spirit) and how they’ll be impacted by my choices? Are there other salient voices and insights which if included, would bring me closer to versus further away from my overall goals? Is there a time frame by which I need to make the decision?
Suggested Activity: Take 24 minutes, 24 hours or 2.4 days (up to 24 days if necessary) to thoroughly think about the issues and the people connected to the decision(s) you’ll make. The more serious the decision, the more time, deliberation and/or people you may wish to consult to assist you in your decision-making process. Record your thoughts, feelings, needs, insights, ideas and strategies in a journal you’ll refer to frequently. Integrate the above-mentioned questions to carefully consider the outcomes you’re working toward. When ready, implement your decision. Circle back to check with others involved to determine if you need to adjust any part of your processes for beneficial and possibly “win – win” results.
Skill to develop: The ability to make strategic, sound, inclusive and satisfying decisions consistently.
Next: The Portrait of Wisdom or return to the Table of Contents.
Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3 – 2 – 5 – 4 – 24″ for additional information that could be helpful.
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