Choose Wisely

When I was growing up my Dad used to tell me to be wise in my choices of friends, choosing my career, and how I speak to others. He would remind me that there are people who would only look out for themselves – and to always make sure that I could count on my friends to do the right thing. If my friends were unwise in their choices he expected me to exercise wisdom and make the right choice. I wish I could say that I carried out my father’s request to perfection.

If I had, I would not have made some of the stupid choices that I ended up making, and could have saved myself embarrassment, sleepless nights, and a little bit of sanity. Unfortunately even as an adult, I have sometimes relied on my “perceived” wisdom, and at times ignored the big picture.

I guess we all go through that at one point or another in our lives. You know it’s when we feel like we really want to do something, and then just “know” that we ought to do x_________. “I can make this work, because, well I’m me, and I can make anything work!” Yeah, that has been me in times past…the cavalier, the maverick, the eternal optimist.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this confidence. I love to be around confident people, and consider myself to be one as well. I am still the optimist that believes we must follow some kind of executable plan. What I hope we can all start doing is exercising more wisdom in making decisions. When I decided to write one of my books, Everlasting Wisdom, my hope was that it might be become the foundation for people to find wisdom based on sharing a few stories from me and from one of the most influential and powerful leaders in history – King Solomon. We can all learn from the pages penned by one of the most successful ruler’s in the world’s history.

My long time friend George Roumpos once told me about the “five-finger friends” in life that we should all seek to find. You can usually count on one hand how many people you can count on in life, and that these were the five-finger friends that we should never have to worry about.

Life is based on a series of choices that we make and those choices from who we are, and who we can yet become. During the course of a normal day we end up making hundreds of choices that have an effect on that particular day. Those choices can also end up charting the course set for the rest of our lives. Take a deep breath, think about the potential consequences…and make the right decision.

Let common sense play a role in your life. All too often people open the window , and toss out common sense. I’m pretty sure that each of us could look back on our own life and think about certain decisions we have made, and wish that we would have made a better choice. Sometimes we go againtst that gut feeling, or “feeling within,” and end up paying a price we had not intended to pay…and then we realize that the consequence(s) comes in to play. Every choice has a consequence…good or bad, or both.

I certainly don’t have a lock on always making the wisest choices, but I think we could all learn from a simple exercise when making a decision. We can ask ourselves a few things before we make a final decision. 1) Does it give you a good feeling? If you feel like something is wrong, then steer away from that decision. It’s your inner voice warning you. Women are much better at this than us men. Women go by feelings more often than we do; and men make decisions on what we feel is logical at the time. Advice: men learn from the women, and tap into that inner voice – that feeling gene! 2) Will the choice effect others? If the answer is yes, then you should involve others before making the final decision. this applies to business and family by the way. Advice: bring others in on the choice you are faced with and listen to their ideas, concerns, and suggestions. 3) Do you need more information? Somtimes we may have the unsettling feeling that there is something missing, or the story doesn’t feel complete, and we may need some additional information before making a decision. Advice: take the time you need and don’t make a rash decision based on incomplete data. 4) Can it wait a few more hours, or days to come up with the right choice? All too often we have been conditioned to live in a face-paced world, and we expect things to be decided on before “the cake is fully baked.” Advice: spend a few extra quality minutes, hours, days thinking through the consequences that will come about based on your decision. Take some quality brain time, mixed in with a good dose of how you feel, and weigh out your optoins. In many cases a better choice will come along soon enough – maybe even better than your first choice. 5) Fail fast. If you need to make a decision, and you don’t have a strong feeling either way, make a decision that makes the most sense at the time. Advice: If it turns out that it’s the wrong decision, make the corrections needed quickly, and move on.

Unless you are faced with a life-threatening situtation that requires an immediate decision, followed by immediate action, exercise a little common sense, take your time, go with what you feel is right. Good luck!

Check out my book Everlasting Wisdom

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