The price of a mistake

How do you make decisions? Perhaps you use a process, such as: start by collecting information, discuss the issue with people you trust, then weigh pros and cons, and finally, based on logic and due diligence, you decide!

If you actually do that, that's awesome! And I'll suggest (based solely on anecdotal evidence) that it's also rare.

While we know that it's important to use a logical, thought-driven process, emotion seems to creep in there, doesn't it? For example, let's say we're buying a house. We look at various houses; we go over the financials, we look at location, square footage, utility costs, construction quality, etc.

But then, when we walk through the adorable little sunroom that speaks directly to our hearts, we hear ourselves saying, "Yes! This is it!" And all of that practical information that we've collected somehow, possibly, remarkably, rearranges itself in our minds to fit that feeling of what we want.

Feelings are powerful. Just try to persuade someone (even yourself) to change their mind when they are experiencing a strong feeling, whether it's love, anger, jealousy, fear, or whatever.

Even if we do stick with a logical thought process and dismiss the pull to make a feelings-based "follow your heart" type of decision, we can still make a mistake. This is a humbling thought, and some of us are more resistant to the possibility than others. If we take pride in always being right, it can be quite a blow to realize that we are mistaken.

We'll do all kinds of things, even ruining relationships, to try to protect ourselves from looking foolish.

On the other hand, it's immensely empowering to accept that we're not infallible! When we say (and actually believe), "I could be mistaken," we open ourselves to a new freedom. We can be curious; we can ask questions! When we are not wed to a particular result, when we don't view our identity as tied to "always right," we can learn.

This isn't to suggest that we fling process to the winds! No, we still want to make the most effective decisions that we can. But when we accept the possibility that we could be wrong, a valuable new question comes to mind.

That question: What is the price of making a mistake here?

We can find a way to recover from many types of poor choices. Bad haircut? It'll grow out. Poor career choice? We can look for other options. Unfortunate relationship choice? Even with this, we may find a way and perhaps learn valuable lessons to boot. Patience and time can help rectify many mistakes.

However, some mistakes have much higher costs. The consequences of harming someone (or yourself); of taking some drugs, of having some surgeries, of making some decisions about life and death; many of those decisions are simply not reversible. Once done, you can't go back to square one.

If you're faced with a decision where the price of a mistake is very high, a question to keep in mind is, "Do I have to decide this right now?" Waiting, delaying, procrastinating; they all have a bad rap. Yet, when you're looking at an irreversible choice, consider: Can I delay this for a day, a month, a year? If something changes, would I make the same decision?

Have you had to make an irreversible decision? How did you decide? How did it work out for you? Let me know at choices@focusonclarity.com or by mail c/o Progress Bulletin.

To your choices! ~ Susanne ~

Susanne Beck, RTC is Reality Therapy Certified by the William Glasser Institute

Thank you for printing this article from lighthousenow.ca. Subscribe today for access to all articles, including our archives!