The problem with deciding for decision’s sake

The problem with deciding for decision’s sake August 31, 2018
Game of Hope Lenormand, 1800 (Photo: Camelia Elias)

‘What all successful people have in common is that they make decisions. They decide to decide.’

Have you come across this one, or a variation of it? I have. At least 5 times this week.

I want to fall for it every time, as some people can actually write in a very engaging and convincing way. But what does it mean to decide to decide?

As yet, interestingly enough, no one advancing the claim that making decisions automatically places you in the successful category has ever mentioned the trouble with being stubborn.

I come across many claims that are the result of people deciding to adopt a certain position, and often it’s as clear as daylight that their decision is NOT the result of reasonable action or the result of exercising the art of distinction.

People decide that happiness is a matter of decision. Fair enough.

People decide to be devoted to a cause because it brings them satisfaction. Even more fair.

But people also decide to love and hate for emotional reasons passed off as rationality.

This one is interesting as it aims at moving the heart – one way or the other – and moving the heart is a mighty art. I’m interested myself in how I move the heart (mine or that of others), as it’s within this act that we get to experience going through life in a movement that’s not part of the illusion of having linear goals.

I can see why the attraction to deciding to be happy is so popular, because it carries an implicit call to align your goals with those of cultural dictations. If you’re not happy, you can’t work. If you can’t work someone stands to lose money, including yourself. If you can’t make any money, you’re a failure. Is this straight talk? It is. The only trouble with this straight talk is that it’s false.

So think, if you ever feel the magnetism of the claim to decide to do something, be something, or demonstrate something, take a step back to investigate the tone and anchor of your decision. Is it informed by discernment or by stubbornness? If the latter, than be on guard, as stubbornness merely renders you closed off in your heart, experiencing the exact opposite of what it means to have a moved heart.

A distinguished widow

As I grew up I had very strong lessons in the art of deciding from my mother. When my father died at 39, she found herself a woman at the hight of her beauty and power. Many pressured her to make the decision to take another husband, for her own sake, for her children’s’ sake, for society’s sake. Some were even so blunt as to directly point to her being a threat: You can’t be a beautiful woman walking the earth unattached, and thus potentially lure the married men out there, who would’t mind having a go at the widow.

One of my mother’s most common answers to this was to say that she was not going to decide because making a decision feels good. She was not going to marry another man as a front for respectability. She was not going to decide that she will now be happy again.

So she remained unmarried and stayed that way until the day she died.

Many thought she was stubborn. But she was not. She showed distinction. Every suitor was carefully evaluated, and weighed. She made up her own mind about the men courting her, rather than letting herself be influenced by the opinion of others.

How stubborn are you?

A good question for you to ask the cards is therefore this one:

In what areas of my life do I make decisions that are the result of stubbornness and not distinction?

Or, if you happen to have just made a decision, ask a similar question:

What is the premise for my decision?

If you suspect that the cards point you in the direction of stubbornness, then revise your hypothesis.

Here’s an example from my own practice. I end all my communications with the phrase: ‘Keep going.’ Sometimes I like to check with myself whether I keep going because I’m being stubborn – often with the ensuing consequence of burning out and gathering resentment – or whether I keep going simply because I’m Zen? I aim for the latter, but what if my deciding to be Zen is also a case of stubbornness?

Oy veh, I can continue, but I think you get the picture with why making decisions is not really about what people make it out to be.

Let’s look at my cards: Bouquet of Flowers, Sun, Birds

Game of Hope Lenormand, 1800 (Photo: Camelia Elias)

Phew. I like my cards. Maybe I’m not as Zen as I like to think, as I catch myself having a reaction of relief. Still…

My premise for my decision to keep going is because I value the flowers I’ve been collecting in a bouquet, and trust that I can offer them to others in the form of communicating my message clearly.

I keep going because what I say it comes from a clear and fresh mind.

So now I can decide that this is Zen not stubbornness, and that ‘keep going’ is based on making distinctions.

Keep going.

If you’ve read this far, you may now decide to join the Lenormand Foundation Course open for registration. Ask yourself why. If you’re on the fence about it, you may ask your cards as to what informs your decision to stay away – if it’s not a money question.

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