Learning how to make decisions is one of the single most important skills we can learn during our lifetimes. Bob Proctor said that making decisions “will solve enormous problems for you” and that “you can virtually eliminate conflict and confusion in your life by becoming proficient at making decisions.” (See Decisions, by Bob Proctor)
Pretty powerful stuff — and something that I am still in the process of learning!
Recently, I took a position to teach an online course at BYU Idaho and, as part of my application process, I had to create a short video about how I would teach people to follow the prophet. I’ve included a link to it below.
Those three key elements I have found to be incredibly powerful and can be applied outside a Gospel context or following the prophet.
1. Make a DECISION
The first and primary element is that you have to make a decision. What is it that you want in life? Do you want a better job? Improved health? Improved physique? More time with your family? A better or different car or home? A new friend group?
Note that I’m not talking about trivial decisions, or ones that don’t necessarily carry any weight, such as what brand of beans you should buy at the grocery store. The decisions we are talking about here are decisions that have magnitude and will make a long-term impact on your life.
The more I learn about how important making decisions is in life, the more I wish that these concepts were taught in schools. Bob Proctor said it well when he stated that “your whole life is dominated by this power. The health of your mind and body, the well being of your family, your social life, the type of relationships you develop … all are dependent upon your ability to make sound decisions.”
Keep in mind that there are definitely times when you have to make a decision, and you don’t have all the information required to make it. But please note that the decision to go acquire all the necessary information is a decision in an of itself! The concept of making decisions does not mean that there is no planning or work involved.
Definiteness of decision always requires courage, sometimes very great courage. The fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence staked their lives on the decision to affix their signatures to that document. The person who reaches a definite decision to procure the particular job [or whatever else you desire], and make life pay the price he asks, does not stake his life on that decision: he stakes his economic freedom. Financial independence, riches, desirable business and professional positions [and whatever else you desire] are not within reach of the person who neglects or refuses to expect, plan, and demand these things.Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, Chapter 8: Decisions
2. Make it SACRED
I recently wrote about my search for a new job in detail here. This is the crux of what I learned through this experience. When we make the effort to make certain routines, rituals, practices, or habits sacred, we can truly unlock the power of those habits.
Making it sacred can mean a number of things. First and foremost, I believe it means that you have a definitive routine and or ritual you perform at specific times of your day. But how does a specific routine or ritual apply to something like getting a better job or car or home?
For me, I started by visualizing specifically what the better job would look like.
How much would I be making in salary?
What would the benefit package look like?
How much extra time would I have with my family?
How would this new career path make me feel?
Once I had this clear picture in my mind, I found that other areas of my life would nudge me in the right direction. I’d have a stroke of inspiration on what keywords to search for; information about various companies I was investigating would just be readily available; or I’d find that certain postings that I think I normally would have been attracted to just turned me off or looked dull.
The key, though, was that I was taking the time each day to visualize my goal. Days that I failed in this ritual were days when I lacked that same level of inspiration and guidance.
3. Make it HAPPEN
My number one takeaway is that when we make something sacred in our lives, it takes priority.
Before learning this lesson, I would too often skip workouts, make study sessions shallow, revert to daily happenings rather than deep feeling in my journal, miss close connections with colleagues simply because “something came up”. So many opportunities were missed because I let the eventualities of life replace the things that truly mattered and would help me grow.
To me, making it happen means to never allow the mundane replace the sacred.