The Decisions You Make and The Actions You Take

I recently watched an episode of Dr. Phil where he ended the show with an interesting proposition for the audience. He had them take out their cell phones, scroll forward one year and mark the date. His proposition – depending on the decisions they make on the day of the show forward, their lives would either be the same, better or worse on the date one year into the future. I love that concept! However, I can attest from life experience that it’s not simply the decisions we make but also the actions we take after the decisions. Let’s dig into that concept a little.

Think about it, 364 days from right now, your life will be the same, better or worse. If it’s the same, then there is a strong possibility that you have underutilized 364 days. You either didn’t make any life-changing decisions or you didn’t act on those decisions. That may not sound like much, but when we combine a few years of indecisiveness coupled with inaction, it’s not long before we notice there is more life behind us than in front of us. It’s a gradual shift.

If your life is worse in one year, then you might be experiencing a setback. Maybe, circumstances and situations got in the way; it happens to everyone at some point. Maybe you made ineffective choices or great decisions, but failed to follow through on them. Now you’re not only further behind than you were previously, you’ll have to put in extra effort to get back to where you started. That’s not very inviting is it?

Quite often we avoid making wrong decisions by making no decisions at all. In effect, no decision and no action, is a decision. Most people avoid making decisions due to a fear of making the wrong ones. They end up reacting to things that come their way. Remember, it is better to make the wrong decision than no decision at all!

Honestly, most of the time our decisions will not be spot on. However, an incorrect decision and the results that follow provide the opportunity to adjust.

Another point to consider; sometimes you make the right decision - other times you have to make the decision right. Making the right decision is often a matter of luck. Making the decision right is a matter of effectively adjusting your actions. Check the results of the decisions you make and the actions that follow, then adjust.

Look at the upside of a wrong decision - you’ll learn from it and learning is always a good thing. Indecision and inaction are due to a lot of things, but most often it’s fear of the results and/or failure. The best course of action is to determine in advance to make a decision and deal with the results. You may miss your target more often than you’ll hit it, but even a missed shot is better than no shot at all!

As a cadet, I trained in mortar fire. When you fire that first round, you get one of two results:

Result Number 1 – You hit the target on the first round. Congratulations! Luck just smiled on you. It doesn’t happen very often, so enjoy it as much as possible when it does! A first round good decision is not very likely. Don’t get upset with yourself because you missed; take it and get on with life.

Result Number 2 – You miss. Your round went left, right or stopped short of the target. Don’t worry; notice where it lands, adjust, fire and shoot again. You might not hit the target with the second round, but if you continue to adjust, sooner or later you’ll hit it. Each missed shot is an opportunity to gather more information to influence your next shot. That’s a metaphor for life, too!

As life gets more complicated, you’re sure to start missing those first round hits. Don’t concentrate on getting good at first round hits. Instead, concentrate on mastering adjusting your fire. Make sure you observe your results, adjust and take another shot.

Hold onto this as a life rule: Sometimes we make the right decision. Sometimes we have to adjust and make the decision right.

The Step-By-Step Process – Simple steps to increase the odds that 364 days from now your life will be better:

Step 1 – Decide what you want your life to look like one year from now. That’s developing your vision.

Step 2 – Make some decisions that will move you in that direction.

Step 3 – Develop a list of actions based on the decisions you’ve made. And one by one, take those actions.

Step 4 – Observe your results. This will lay a foundation for adjusting your actions.

Step 5 – Ask yourself the question “Did I make the right decision or do I need to make the decision right?”

Take out your cell phone, scroll forward one year and mark the date. I guarantee that on that day your life will either be the same, better or worse. It all depends on the decisions you make and the actions you take from this day forward.

 What’s your first move?