Copyright 2006 William Frank Diedrich
Back in the early seventies there was a poster that read: "Not to decide is to decide." Most of us live in this state, the state of indecision. We dream about the book we will write, the trip we will take, the business we will start, the great relationship we will have, or the creative project we will begin. But we don't do it. We decide not to decide, and that becomes our decision.
Deciding not to decide creates ambivalence, and ambivalence feels unsatisfying. Ambivalence is where we dream and then we hope everything will turn out well. Hope becomes a substitute for action. Hoping some external thing will occur that will make us happy, save us, or fulfill our lives creates pain.
What if you decided to decide. To decide is to act. I have written and published three books. With each book, I envisioned the book idea, played with the idea for awhile, thought about how I would do it, and talked about it. I didn't decide to write the book until I sat down at the computer and started typing. I never said "I am trying to write a book." I decided and I started writing.
What about you? What great project have you considered but not taken action? Where are you ambivalent? Where are you "hoping" something good will happen but not actually doing anything to make it happen?
We are powerful beings and the power is in our decision. We often use our power to make ourselves powerless. This is where we decide to be a victim of circumstances. We join the If Only Club. I would write that book if only... I would be a better manager if only.. I would love my spouse more if only.. I would grow that business if only... and so on.
"If only" is a decision. It comes from asking the wrong question: "How do I get rid of this situation that I don't want so I can move forward?"
A more effective question is: "What do I want?" Decide what it is that you want and focus your energy on it. Begin it. Find some way to get started. Focus your attention not on your perceived barriers, but on knowing that the way will be shown to you.
Years ago I decided to put on an audio visual production with live music at my church for Mothers' Day. I had no idea how I could do it, but I decided to do it. My vision was to create a show that would leave almost no dry eyes in the congregation. I started talking about it and asking people to help. Amazingly musicians, equipment, and the right people showed up to help. They all had great ideas and lots of talent. Our production was seen by 300 people and there was hardly a dry eye in the house. That experience taught me to act upon my visions without worrying about how they will work out.
Over the past few years I have made many decisions. I have decided to love myself. I have decided to love others. I have decided to move beyond blaming and to be at peace with all others. I have decided to be joyful. What this means is that when I experience conflict or negative emotion, I remember my decision. I remember my decision and I move my thoughts and actions in that direction. My decision is more important than the approval of others; more important than money; and more important than being right. Decisions are priorities.
Love, peace, joy, success and other positive emotions are not merely the results of things going well. They are the cause of things going well. These positive emotions don't just happen if things go the way we want. We bring these positive thoughts and emotions to our relationships and to our endeavors. They are intentions. They are decisions we make.
Whatever you truly want, you have the power to decide it and to do it. Refuse to blame yourself for all the things you haven't done and focus on what you can do now. Clarify what you want; envision it; and decide to do it. Boldly begin it. Don't worry about what everyone will say. The world is not your audience. Listen to your inner voice and bring the full power of your commitment and passion to whatever you decide to do. The power of decision is yours.