May 302014 5 Responses

Stop Freaking Out: A Lesson on Decision Making

There are some things you should freak out about:

Your spouse is cheating.

Your child is missing.

Your lab reports show cancer.

In these and many other moments it is perfectly understandable for you to lose your mind.

On occasion life throws situations our way which overwhelm every capacity we have to understand and make a decision. In those moments we have to trust others and receive their assistance in navigating life’s challenges.

But those times are rare. (See: A Map for Navigating Life’s Disappointments)

For every other situation the very first thing which needs to happen is you need to STOP FREAKING OUT.

Truth be told you need to stop freaking out in the other situations as well. As difficult as they are, freaking out about them will not help, but at least it is understandable when a major event drives you crazy. It’s doesn’t make as much sense when people flip out over the common issues of life.

News flash: Life will be full of difficulties.

Expect them. Don’t be shocked by them. If ever there is a moment in which there isn’t something happening in your life don’t be deceived into thinking nothing is going on. Be wise enough to know you simply don’t know about it yet.

Life never goes exactly as we plan. Every day will have challenges which will require you to audible your plans and figure out a new path.

Deal it with. And whatever you do, STOP FREAKING OUT. (See: Avoid This Corner At All Costs)

Notice: You will not make a wise decision if you are panicked while making the decision. It’s impossible. It won’t happen.

Far too often, you and I freak out over a situation. The situation itself isn’t that dramatic and it is something we could reasonably navigate if we would simply keep our wits about us. However, the situation turns disastrous, not when the original event takes place but when you and I try to handle it in a panicked state. We take a normal situation in life and make it miserable.

Has your child made a bad choice?

Did your spouse forget to do something?

Did a business mess up your order?

Did an employee make a mistake?

Did your boss use the wrong tone?

All of these are situations we have to handle, but they are not things which should throw us for a big surprise. Very few things should shock us. (See: A Simple Way to Better Your Day)

Consider:

how prone we are to making mistakes

how difficult it is to communicate

how easy it is to make wrong assumptions

Life will be complicated. Things will not go as we wish. We must expect it and not be freaked out about it when it happens.

Those who have the ability to make decisions from a calm mindset will far outperform those who make decisions from a chaotic mindset.

As a pastor, I see people in a variety of situations. What strikes me is how little it takes for some people to have their lives flipped upside down. While I’m watching young people battle disease or parents deal with the addiction of a child, others are distraught because life’s small situations are not going their way—a grade isn’t what it should be or a spouse isn’t as perfect as we want or a boss makes decisions we don’t like.

While I recognize these things can challenge us, they shouldn’t destroy us. They shouldn’t even greatly surprise us.

It’s life. And life has its challenges. (See: When You Feel What No One Else Has Ever Felt)

You can either accept it and try to navigate it in the best way possible, or you can freak out about it. The former will lead to a peaceful and purposeful decision making process; the latter will lead to utter chaos.

Decision making is a process. While it is not always the same for every problem, there are many common steps no matter what needs to be decided.

Step one with any problem is simple—stop freaking out so you can start figuring out what needs to be done.

5 Responses to Stop Freaking Out: A Lesson on Decision Making
  1. […] It’s not wrong to get married, spend money, or change jobs. All of us will do those things at ... kevinathompson.com/bad-decisions-timing-vs-choices

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