I’ve started this year literally feeling the smell of something new about to happen and take over my life. This feeling of desired and anticipated change was probably there for all of us; it’s the kind of vibe all New Years have.
But along with that, there was an overwhelming feeling of being conscious of just how much I’ve been in my own way lately (and not just lately). The simple truth I always try to preach here, amongst other places is that we are in control of where our lives go and our future is very literally, in our own hands. And yet, sometimes we all just miraculously fail to follow our own advice, don’t we?
I, much like every other normal person on the planet, have made a fantastic array of bad decisions over time: from getting entangled in unhealthy relationships to that last shot of whatever last night at the bar. Some innocent and some full-blown stupid, our bad decisions make us cringe and laugh and cry and blush. And yet we so rarely take time to think about what’s behind them.
Another simple truth I’ve learned some time ago is that we are, more often than not, truly unaware of our motivators. I still remember that moment when I was in lectures in my university and the professor blurted that out. I honestly felt surprised and a little irritated that apparently most people think I’m totally clueless about what I do (because, you know, ego!) After I took some time to rethink this, however, I came to agree with this statement; both my own experience and that of others around me served as stunning proof. And it was in that moment, that I decided that self-awareness is the way to go: I would do my very best to try and know myself and know where all my actions and decisions stem from.
Needless to say, this is a sh*tload of a goal: it makes for many sleepless nights filled with thought and a lot of reading up on mindfulness. BUT! I’ve found that, at least in my own humble experience, bad decisions typically arise from 5 common factors, which are (wait for it!) mostly under our own control. There, I’ve said it. Whenever we turn to blaming the circumstances or our parents or friends, the truth is, that the majority of times we are the ones sabotaging ourselves. So that’s why I decided to take a short peek at the most common reasons I’ve found for our own situational failures:
- Laziness. That one was a no-brainer and I feel like I don’t even need to explain it. I probably would have written more posts and you probably would have gotten that master’s degree if we weren’t just.so.darn.lazy. Think about it.
- Lack of information. Let me tell you, dear friend, it was quite a battle between this and laziness for the #1. The reason is that in our information-driven era you can find out literally anything in a matter of minutes. And yet, sometimes, we just arrive at a situation we might have even predicted, and yet we are totally unequipped to handle, simple because we did not bother to read up and do our homework.
- Not expecting the unexpected. Similarly to #2, in a world where there are so many different points of view and most of us are quite aware there are thousands of possible directions a situation could go, remaining stagnant and sticking dumbly to the thought that everything will turn out exactly as planned is just plain old stupid. Having a backup plan (or several) is a must and, often, not having at least one is what makes us fail.
- Failing to communicate. Sometimes the thing that makes or breaks a good decision is communication. Making a decision is great, but implementing it and sticking to it is often impossible without the support of others, in a team-central world. Neglecting proper communication to everyone concerned can turn a decision bad in seconds.
- Indecisiveness. As mentioned, info gathering is crucial, but this can also turn into a plague for good decisions. In an ever changing world we are sometimes tempted to do more research, make another report or wait and see what happens next, but waiting too long often becomes a missed opportunity altogether. Don’t hesitate: sometimes gathering what you need, analyzing and striking is the best way to go.