Sometimes I look back to decisions I’ve made in the past and wonder if I could have done better. If I knew then what I know now, how would things have turned out?
The danger of this game is that you can’t get a do-over on your choices in life. So the only outcome of this thought exercise is regret, and that does not get you anywhere fast.
However, I realize that the decisions I am most proud of, are not necessarily the decisions that made me richer or more successful, but rather those decisions which where crystal-clear to me at that time.
Those decisions felt “right” to me because they resonated with a wisdom at the core of me. When I made those “right” decisions, the clarity first came from the heart, then quickly confirmed with the information I had at that moment. The key characteristic of those decisions was how it felt… there was an optimistic inevitability to them. There was no fear, no doubt.
Did these “right” choices always work out the way I hoped? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But I feel no regret from those “right” decisions, and I feel just as “right” about them now as I did then, no matter the eventual outcome.
Other times when I tried to make the “best” choice, analyzing the pros and cons, decisions which were made with the head first…those decisions did not turn out so well. There was always an element of doubt, because of new information coming in, sometimes confirming my decision, other times contradicting it. These decisions felt mushy and uncertain. There was fear, doubt and regret around these choices, especially when they didn’t work out as I hoped.
Which tells me that if I want to live a life without regret, should I follow my head, or my heart?
If I give the authority to my head, I can never make a clear choice. It may be that in the future I learn something about the situation, or about myself, that if I knew now would lead me to make a different decision. Or maybe that piece of information would hold me back from trying something new, from taking a leap, from expanding my zone of possibility.
When man first attempted to fly, it was a process of trial and error, each step made on the information they had at the time. Given the track record of those early attempts, if they looked at what they were doing rationally, they would never have gotten off the ground.
To create the future you really want, you must challenge the status-quo, the way things are right now. Every decision requires taking a leap of faith. And only the heart is able to make that leap with confidence.
Let go of trying to make the “best” decision, and focus on making “right” ones. A “right” decision resonates with your mission, vision and values, using the information you have at hand. Then charge ahead with clarity, commitment, confidence and courage towards making your dream become real.
For more information
This post is part of a series inspired by The Domino Project’s #Trust30 Writing Challenge. Each day during the month of June 2011, we receive a thought from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance”, to use as a writing prompt. For more information about the #Trust30 Writing Challenge, see today’s prompt:
Related posts on this blog:
Today Is Not Yesterday Nor Tomorrow
The Stuff Of Leadership
Image credit: Fergal Claddaugh on Flickr
Direct link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/feargal/5568944462/
Used under Creative Commons 2.0 licence