Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Courage of Your Convictions
Do you have the confidence to act in accordance with your beliefs or ideologies, especially in the face of resistance, criticism, or persecution? That’s courage—the courage of your convictions. It’s the power to choose, and the knowledge to choose wisely.
At least one way we can find the power to act is through the knowledge we’re able to acquire. We find ourselves in decision-making situations and sometimes in difficult ones where we have to choose between two equally unpleasant courses of action.
Knowledge coupled with understanding results in the best answer for the moment.
We all have to make decisions in life. The best decisions are those based on how teachable we are—how well we fortify ourselves with knowledge and allow it to guide our understanding.
“We’re in a tight spot, boys!” That was George Clooney’s observation in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” He didn’t have much of a choice when he and his cronies found themselves with no visible way out of the loft of a burning barn. For them, someone came to the rescue.
If you’ve made the best decision possible with the information at hand, there can still come a time when you must reconsider your choice. Life is full of changes. Whether you need to decide on quitting a job or ending a relationship, it will be your objective evaluation that will help sort through the facts. An answer will come.
We can’t count on someone else to come to the rescue.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
Confidence to Guide Your Decisions
On the surface, minor decisions are of little consequence. Not a whole lot hangs in the balance if we choose the wrong color socks. But major decisions can pose serious consequences for choosing the wrong one. Let’s face it, decision-making on many levels can be stressful.
A fearless approach to decision-making is to start with minor decisions. Declutter the complexities of too many decisions, then tackle the major decisions. They alone can consist of many different and connected parts. Unpack them, sort them, but decision-making does not have to put us between a rock and a hard place.
There is a danger of being consciously mindful of only one side. For this reason, it’s important to visualize all options. The absence of both sides of an argument causes confusion and uncertainty.
Facts mingled with what-ifs defeat our thinking because they are jumbled, muffled messages, and indistinct. We can’t “hear” the call to action because it’s unclear. It’s difficult if not impossible to determine which route to take.
1 Corinthians 14:8 says this: “For example, if a bugle doesn’t sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”
Find the available options, choices, or alternatives. Know the facts surrounding each, then select a preferred direction, and set a course of action in that direction.
3 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make
I have heard it said these three decisions are above all others:
1. Your decision to let your life be guided by the God who created you. It follows that he who created you would hold the answers for your future.
2. Your decision about the person with whom you’ll spend your life.
3. Your decision regarding your life’s work.
Triumph Over Your Indecision
Throughout history, experienced experts have emphasized systems for making and implementing decisions. Ben Franklin was one of them. Franklin found a method to tackle difficult decisions by creating a list of pros and cons.
It’s a simple, logical way of looking at the pros and cons simultaneously: organize them into two columns. In one column list all the pros and in the other column, list the cons. You might immediately see that one column is longer than the other. In that event, it becomes obvious that either the pros win over the cons or the other way around.
But wait. Once Franklin completed the list, even if it seemed obvious by the sheer length of one over the other, he would analyze both and apply estimated weights to each item.
This process reduces the list to a manageable size and leaves the most important items to consider for making the ultimate decision.
If the two columns are close in length, the list will still enable you to be aware of the good, mediocre, and bad among the available options. Doing this will provide an advantage over indecision.
Making a pros and cons list provides a great benefit. The advantage over indecision is that you will be making an informed decision. The visual clarity achieved from the lists brings things into focus in the same way that it does when setting goals, confronting stress, or diffusing the state of being overwhelmed. “Naming the players” on paper is powerful because it gives clarity.
And clarity is important because it helps avoid procrastination. Procrastination is often the product of fear, and out of fear we do nothing.
It’s always good to remember this quote by Elbert Hubbard: “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
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