Here’s The Thing

Here’s the thing. When I ignore the outline, don’t keep it between the lines, decide that I know best, I don’t proceed willy-nilly. I still need to know where the lines are that I need to keep between, what my personal guidance tells me I should do and should avoid. This is not the same as an action plan or knowing what specific steps I will take. Rather, it’s the template I always use when I have decided that I know best, know better than those who might advise me. I like to think of this as judgment mediated by experience.

There are a few elements in my When Taking a Chance Template that are not open for debate. They have no preferred order or priority. They just are what they are.

The status quo does not have a warranty. I have no assurance that things won’t change unexpectedly or adversely.

My status quo is organized and functioning perfectly to get the outcomes I am getting, no more, no less, for better or worse.

Circumstances and conditions necessarily change over time. I have no alternative but to adjust to and deal with those changes.

Before I make any significant changes or finalize any important decisions, I need to know the worst possible outcome and how I will deal with it if it happens.

Before I make any significant choices or important decisions, I need to know the likelihood of success and the potential harm or risk for me and for others in my circle.

There is a critical difference between managed risk and gambling.

Irreversible choices or decisions rarely have to be made right now. There is time to think about it. If I am feeling pressure to choose or decide immediately, my default response is, “No.”

Never discount the echo effect of choices and decisions, especially those that don’t work out as hoped. This means that negative outcomes frequently spawn negative outcomes which in turn spawn negative outcomes. It can sometimes take a long time for the repercussions to extinguish.

Here’s the thing. Making choices and decisions is not optional. Situations come up, circumstances develop, things happen. The river keeps flowing. We could just not make choices, could decline to decide. We could let ourselves and others in our circle drift wherever the currents take us. Of course, that would itself be a choice, a decision of sorts. Not an attractive option for me, but still a choice, a decision option.

Since not choosing or not deciding aren’t actual options, I prefer my judgment mediated by experience. I consider my options and opportunities and then bring out my decision template. Keeping the process inside the parameters of the template, I fall back on my judgment and experience to come up with what I think is the best choice or decision I can make at the time. At that point, it’s time to take a deep breath and follow through with what I think is best for me and for the others in my circle.

If things work out okay – and they usually do – all is well. If not, I already know what I’ll do to manage that contingency. That possibility was covered in my decision template.

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