Mar 122015 4 Responses

Start Making Good Decisions

Every week I interact with people on the worst day of their life. At the funeral home, in the hospital, in the courtroom, at jail, or just in my office, I see peoples’ lives in shambles and they do not know what to do.

Many times the turmoil is outside the person’s control. A bad diagnosis, death, a poor decision by another person–those are not things a person can control. In those times I try to encourage the person not to lose heart.

Yet many times the person’s life is falling apart because of their own decision-making. Years of failing to invest in the marriage is now revealing itself. A long-held secret has been revealed. An addiction is ripping a family apart. (See: What a Timeshare Presentation Taught Me About Bad Decision Making)

In those moments people come to my office wondering what they should do.

My advice is always the same:

Make one healthy decision, repeat, and don’t stop repeating.

A bad decision is rarely one bad decision. It’s almost always a series of bad decisions. Maybe we are not conscious of the decisions we are making, but someone doesn’t suddenly have an affair, hit rock-bottom of an addiction, or lose all compassion. It happens slowly as one decision leads to another. Eventually bad consequences are experienced.

One of the first steps in helping people understand how their life got into a mess (assuming it was under their control) is showing them the series of decisions they made to get there. We take their attention off of the final choice and highlight the hundreds of choices which led to that moment.

Once they see how the small choices led to big choices, they are prepared to start the process of healing. But the process is rarely one they like. (See: The First Step to Good Decision Making–Stop Freaking Out)

Whenever you believe your life went bad because of one decision, you can fall for the deception that your life can be made good by one decision. It never happens this way.

In the same way that life rarely goes wrong with one decision, it never goes right by one decision. It takes hundreds of right decisions to repair what hundreds of bad decisions has done.

One counseling session will not fix a marriage which has been bad for three years.

One workout will not undo years of inactivity.

One healthy day of eating will not undo months of poor eating.

You have to walk as long in the right direction as you did in the wrong direction in order to make progress.

Sadly, many people are not willing to do so.

They will try faith for a day, but then give up.

They will choose wisely for a moment, but then return to foolishness.

They will flash diet for the week, but then return to the buffet.

They think one good decision can undo a series of bad decisions. It can’t.

Yet it does all begin with a good decision. Until a person makes a single good decision, they do not have the ability to heal, grow, or succeed. One decision can’t make it happen, but it does all start with a single decision.

Whenever I talk with someone whose life is in shambles, my main goal is to help them make a single good decision. What is the next step they need to take in order to walk toward wisdom and health? Once they make that decision, they simply need to repeat the process. (See: You Better Make Up Your Mind)

Make a good decision. Repeat. Don’t stop repeating.

4 Responses to Start Making Good Decisions
  1. Jing Reply

    Your articles have become inspirations to my life, thank you and looking forward to learn more wisdom from your articles. 🙂

  2. […] Foolishness is often the result of apathy. Failing to plan our actions opens us up to greater tempta... kevinathompson.com/five-proverbs
  3. […] 3. It should give us caution when making decisions based on current trends. We are easily deceived. ... kevinathompson.com/why-feeling-is-rarely-fact

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