Five Steps to Making Good Choices
Whatever path we have taken, we have to learn to be content.
Making choices is never easy, whatever stage of life we might find ourselves at. Whether we’ve just left college and are seeking that first step on the career ladder, or whether we’re well established in our job and contemplating moving to a new ladder altogether, it can be difficult to know the right way forward. But there are steps that we can take if we want to make good choices.
- The first step is to consider
We must stop, pause, and weigh the options, making sure that we understand the facts and the risks. It’s important to take the time to cultivate wisdom, refraining from rushing headfirst into rash decision-making. For me as a Christian, that time of consideration also means spending time in prayer, trying to discern the heart of God.
- The second step is to consult
One of the most important features of wise decision-making is recognizing the value of good counsel. This doesn’t mean we take the advice of any man or woman off the street, but that we seek out people of wisdom, whose advice we respect however difficult it may be to hear. The Old Testament tells a story of King Rehoboam, who was asked by the people of Israel to ease their burden of compulsory work. When the King went to the wise elders, they advised him to comply with the request, telling him that a King who serves his people will in turn be served faithfully by them. But the King didn’t like this advice, so he went to his friends. They told him to increase the burden on the people, and rule as a harsh tyrant. Preferring this advice, the King increased the burdens of the Israelites, who eventually killed him in the ensuing rebellion. It doesn’t pay to seek the counsel of ‘yes-men’.
- Clarification is the third step of choosing
Once we’ve considered and consulted, we might have an idea of the way ahead. But we should always spend some time testing that idea, and listening to what our heart is telling us. Sometimes the evidence all points in one direction, but something in our gut wrenches us in another. I always like to make lists of pros and cons at this stage. The process of making such a list often reveals what I feel in my deepest heart to be right.
- Whichever way we choose, the fourth step is courage
The unknown is always scary, and that initial step can be the most daunting of all. But we must take the deep breath before the dive, secure in the knowledge that we are doing what we believe is right.
- The final step can often be the hardest of all
However we have chosen, whatever path we have taken, we have to learn to be content. It’s so easy to second-guess ourselves after a decision. To ask the question of “what if?” – especially when times inevitably get tough. But regret is wasted energy. We never know what exciting opportunity might be around the corner.
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