Decisions and Consequences

by Jim Stovall

We all succeed or fail based on the decisions we make.  All the decisions you have made in your entire life have brought you to this place, at this time, reading these words in a newspaper, magazine, or online publication somewhere in the world.

A lot of people who are not where they want to be in their personal or professional lives like to think of themselves as victims.  There is something that appears initially comforting about not being responsible for the shortcomings in our lives; but unless or until you and I are willing to accept our current circumstances as a product of our own decisions, we can’t live the rest of our lives knowing that the decisions we make today can result in the things we want tomorrow.

One of my mentors, Lee Braxton, gave me two powerful pieces of advice on making decisions.  First, he said, “Don’t make any decisions until you have to.”  I found it ironic that, during this past election season, millions of people through early voting programs or absentee balloting, voted weeks before election day.  This presumes that there won’t be any factors or revelations that might change their minds.  Other than a potential conflict in your schedule, there is no benefit to voting early, and there may be a benefit to waiting on all the information and facts that can come at the last minute in a campaign.

The second piece of wisdom that Mr. Braxton gave me came from his statement, “When you can’t decide between two options, choose the one that leaves you with more options.”

If you own one chicken and can’t decide whether to make an omelet from the eggs or eat fried chicken today, choosing the omelet will give you future options.  Once you fry the chicken, there are no more choices to be made.  Recent surveys show that over half of the people who choose to have a tattoo later choose to have it removed.  This process is painful, expensive, and often doesn’t work completely.

Choices and options have a great value attached to them.  When you look at investing in the stock market, you can buy an individual stock, or you can buy an option which allows you to choose later whether you want to own or not own that particular investment.  You can sell your option to someone else as the right to make that choice has a recognized value in the marketplace.  Never choose until you have to and leave all your options open as long as you can.

Wisdom and knowledge help us make great decisions.  A wise person realizes that no matter how certain they may be about a choice right now, there will be more facts and information available later.

As you go through your day today, accept the fact that you are a product of your choices, and determine to make quality decisions.

Today’s the day!