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Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Morning Check In: Making Tough Decisions

I am back home again in Texas after spending three very interesting and fulfilling weeks in Rome, Italy. I played a lot of piano and violin and had a lovely time becoming even more familiar with this wonderful city. Although this blog post is late, I hope you will still find it useful as a Monday Morning Check In.

Recently a good friend of mine was faced with a tough decision that related to his future in the music industry and whether he might receive a letter of recommendation to benefit his future. I found that watching my friend go through the process of making a decision left me with some useful informational steps to making a decision.

Curb Your Emotions

Some of us do not handle change or confrontation well, and in many such cases, change comes dressed in the attire of perceived confrontation, which leads to our angry response. I am one of those personality types that often responds to the perception of confrontation with anger. Therefore, I strive to make my first response line up with the scripture verse observation of Psalm 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Emotions come from our perceptions, so we should watch that our perceptions actually lead us in the direction that our emotions should go. I work to rein in any emotions that I might experience in favor of discovering the inner personality development issue that leads to my faulty presumption.

I ask myself a series of quick questions and follow that up with a few reminders that keep me on the track of solving whatever dilemma I found myself in.

What Else Could This Be About?

This question reminds me to pay attention to my presumptions. We all make them, but our presumptions are not always correct. Uncovering exactly what we are thinking and then discovering the possible reason why we create these types of presumptions usually reverses the flaws inherent in our heads, if we pay attention and work to make personal discoveries about the formation of our psyches.

Go to the Source

Have you ever noticed that people tend to complain to folks who have no power to make any effective change? For example, we might complain about something that our boss did, but instead of bringing our grievance directly to our boss, who is the one person who could clearly offer a solution, we tend to make our complaints to co-workers or our spouse – people who are clearly not in a position to do anything about our problem. The better course of action is to bring our grievances directly to the source. We should take care to work through our fears and directly approach the source of our problem. At the very least, we should visit with the source in order to make sure we have made accurate assumptions about what is actually going on.

Take Money Out of the Equation

I discovered early in my life as a “people watcher” that there are some decisions that are complicated by the presence of money. When I reframe the dilemma in a way that does not include the consideration of money, I find that most confusion completely vanishes. Then the directions become:

Take the Higher Road

What action should I take that gives me the highest position in the moral sense? Which position gives me the moral advantage? The other party might be arranging things to indicate a “perfect life” with no complications. The other party might try to use me (or my finances) to pursue a direction that I do not approve. In these cases, I believe that by taking the morally higher position, I place myself in a position that favors my overall global crusade.

Directions that I give myself to help me determine what the higher road might be include “do the right thing” or “whatever you do, do it with class.”

Own Our Own Contribution

When we take this step, we are showing the ultimate in maturity. This step encourages us to “own” our own contribution to the problem. I have heard many a psychologist state that it takes two people to generate a quarrel or disagreement. If we can dig down deep enough, we can find the resources we need to show us where we might be at fault or have taken steps to “fan the fires” or cause the problem to inflate. This step asks us to face our own motivation to keep the problem afloat. Instead, if we were to focus on changing our own attitudes and presumptions, we might eliminate the problem or at least alleviate it just by changing ourselves.

Sometimes it is easy to make a decision, and other times it is not. I find that if I consider the above questions and topics that I am ultimately satisfied with the decision I make.

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