Make better decisions


Last updated 3/12/2024 at 10:43am

Buying a piece of custom furniture seems like one of those adult rites of passage. In the latter half of my 30s, I have decided to pursue my first custom piece — a couch. Throughout my nomadic adult years, I have been accustomed to second-hand finds complimenting my frugality and boxed IKEA-ish pieces sure to draw out a few expletives as one navigates assembly and too often, reassembly. I feel ready for the custom, “no-assembly needed,” white glove experience.

After a prolonged vetting process, I took a deep dive into the very customizable world of The Pottery Barn. After scanning images of seemingly endless fabric and color combinations, measuring and remeasuring, thinking far too long about what side the ottoman should be on, I sensed I was hitting the familiar wall of decision fatigue. A bit unenchanted, I order the max number of sample swatches — 12. I sit on my couch at present that I have a desire to break up with. I think of lounging on the new couch, which leads me to think of lounging on a beach, which leads me to think that as I stare at the sticker shock and then to the two feet of snow outside, I could just take the money and go to Mexico..

A classic first-world problem of ineffectual discernment

Discernment is an art that is losing steam against a world that bombards us with opinions, choices, and theoretical outcomes. As so many of us are one click away from information overload, the ability to effectively make decisions without so much static and interference is so often an uphill battle. As we might look to avoid the static, some of us prefer the more spontaneous or impulsive way of operating while some of us analytical types might become bulldozed into a state of paralysis by analysis.

In an era of endless information — too much of which is artificial and false — cultivating discernment seems to be more important than ever before. How? I have thoughts...

Integrity to our core values

If you don’t know your core values, it is a good time for a little self-discovery. Core values are not static, but they serve as an internal compass providing a filter by which decisions must pass through. It’s not easy making decisions from a foundation of shifting sand. Helpful tip to avoid shifting sand? Put down your phone and turn down the noise. Your values offer you a solid piece of ground and a place of clarity amid so many options and opinions.

Leading with what we know now

It can be hard to predict the future even when we think we have a solid plan. Choosing a couch is one thing, but making decisions about relationships, careers, family, and financial matters can have far more gravity. We can get stuck in the “what ifs” and unknowns. It can help to focus on what is clear at present. While we may dwell on potential outcomes should we change, we may also know that what is happening now is not sustainable.

Operate from a place of self-trust

While some decisions may seem crystal clear, many others will feel blurry and rich with complexity. There can be multiple potential paths. Not one path is necessarily right or wrong, but they are simply options, all likely with their own peaks and valleys. Trusting ourselves to navigate the outcomes and to take ownership of our responses is perhaps the most important outcome of all.

Your feelings are real, but not always true

Discernment means acknowledging our feelings while also marrying them with evaluative reasoning and logic as the heart and head come together. If we put too much stock on making decisions based on how we “feel,” it is likely our momentum will only last so long and we may be tempted to engage in counterproductive behaviors. Feelings are important, but not always the best leaders.

Remember the ripple effect

The energy we bring to this world has a ripple effect and the decisions we make will impact ourselves and those around us. These ripples can be both positive and negative all at the same time. The greatest good does not mean everyone goes unharmed. Sometimes the impact of a decision can sting a bit before it feels better. And yet, indecision can sometimes sting more. While being mindful of our impact on others is important, so too is the act of honoring ourselves even if that means ruffling a few feathers. Every decision has consequences, but if our decisions open more room to operate in a place of compassion and integrity, they are worth pursuing.

Thank you for making the decision to read this today. And should you want to know, in the days since I started this article, my custom, definitely overpriced couch is officially en route. Mexico will have to wait...


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