How To Make Great Choices
We all know the sting of making a bad choice or a bad decision.
What if it were possible to never make a bad choice ever again?
Now I'm not suggesting perfectionism and I'm not suggesting that you can make it so that every choice you make ends up good.
What do I mean then?
As many of you know I got back from Asia not even two weeks ago. I visited Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, and Shanghai, China.
On the flight back from Shanghai to San Francisco the plane experienced a tremendous amount of turbulence about two hours into the 12 hour flight.
It's rare for a plane to go down, even more rare for a plane to go down because of turbulence so I was reasonably certain there was nothing to worry about but that didn't mean I didn't worry.
Not only was I getting anxious the more the plane dropped, bumped, and jostled side to side, so were other passengers. I gripped the armrests of my seat, breathed deeply and cleared my mind.
Suddenly a questioned popped into my head. If the plane goes down does that make my choice to travel to Asia a bad decision?
Long story short some members of my family actually tried to prevent my trip from even happening, which inspired this video.
So if my plane went down over the Pacific Ocean and I was never heard from again, I can only imagine them thinking "See I knew it was a mistake for him to go."
Which is absolutely crazy, but I couldn't help thinking about this as I bounced around the dark sky several thousand feet up over the cold ocean.
What it made me realize is that we make a lot of good decisions that still might turn out bad because there are just some things that are out of your control.
Was it a good decision to go to Asia?
Yes! Indeed it was.
I love to travel. I could easily afford it. The decision aligned with my values, which made it a fulfilling trip from start to finish even in spite of some things going wrong.
I checked ecology. In other words, I looked externally to make sure that getting what I want wouldn't hurt anyone else or somehow throw my life off balance. All good there.
I gathered information about taking the trip to make sure I knew what I was getting into, also known as due diligence.
Everything checked out.
Was it a good decision to fly?
Yes. Flying is quicker than taking a boat. It was an inexpensive plane ticket. And flying is safer than driving.
Everything about this lined up as a good decision, but the outcome could have been bad like the plane could have gone down, which I had no forewarning of and had no control over.
My point here is that just because a choice you made had a bad outcome doesn't mean you made a bad choice.
Why is this important?
A good choice is one that fulfills your values, meaning you're not doing it because of outside pressure from people who think they know what's best for you. Know what you value. Choose based on that rather than what others value.
If you do just this alone, your choices will never seem like mistakes because you'll be aware and connected to the intent behind them.
Also, check ecology. If you make a particular choice, will it hurt someone or something else in your life and if so, does the positive effects of the choice outweigh the negative?
Last but not least, gather information so that you can understand the risks involved and so that you're making an informed decision.
Doing all three of these things means you're making a good choice even if it doesn't turn out well.
You've probably already followed a similar protocol when making a big decision and things still turned out bad. There's a good chance you're still carrying around the emotional burden of having made a good choice that turned out bad.
It's time to let that go because now you know that even good choices can have bad outcomes.
When I realized this I was finally able to heal from and let go of the pain that I felt over making decisions that didn't turn out well. It was an enormous release.
It also made me realize that nearly every truly bad decision I had ever made was a choice I made from fear, scarcity, self-doubt, and looking to others to tell me what to do.
Think about decisions you've made that didn't go well and that you're still burdened by, especially if you're still beating yourself up about it. It's time to let it go.
You did the best you could. Let yourself off the hook.
The other reason it's important to understand this is because going forward, if you don't understand it, you will continue to doubt and second guess yourself. You will look to others to make the right decision and you will cave to their pressure.
This will never fulfill you.
If your decisions are based on the values of others and not your own, even if the outcome is positive, you will still be left unfulfilled.
If you don't resolve this for yourself you will make decisions based on fear of making a bad decision and this will cause your worst fears to come true.
From this point forward use the three part process I mentioned for making great decisions: 1) Know your values or intentions behind the choice you want to make 2) Check Ecology 3) Gather information (due diligence).
Every decision you make using these steps will be a great decision even if the outcome is bad.
If things don't turn out the way you want them to, instead of turning on yourself and punishing yourself, be grateful for the new lesson you learned from it. You now have new information you didn't have before that will help you make future decisions.
Too many times we personalize unwanted outcomes and it causes us to do less rather than more because we fear making another mistake.
This is no way to live. Mistakes are inevitable. You don't have control over everything and sometimes you couldn't possibly have knowledge of something until you make a choice and it doesn't work the way you expect it to.
When this happens know that this doesn't mean you're wrong or bad. It just means you get to learn something new and it means you'll make even better decisions going forward.
NLP Coach and Trainer
Santa Cruz, CA
Damon Cart is considered to be a natural talent by some of the best NLP trainers in the world. His approach to guiding and teaching students brings to their awareness that they've been doing NLP all of their lives without realizing it and he empowers them with skills and resources to thrive and reach their full potential. With the understanding of how Neuro Linguistic Programs create one’s experience a person can then take charge of those programs and create the experience and the life they want. By taking this approach into his own rigorous, daily NLP practice Damon has been able to rapidly accelerate his progress in learning, coaching clients and teaching workshops.