Susan Jeffers

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Words of Wisdom From the Archives
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Each month we will include an article, excerpt or thought that we feel will enrich your life in some way. Enjoy!

DECISION MAKING IN THE SCHOOL OF LIFE
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Making a big decision can cause anxiety, sleepless nights, and all other sorts of worry. But decision-making doesn't have to be so scary. Decision-making can be an exciting adventure if we have the proper frame of mind. Yet, few of us have learned to cultivate our thinking in a way that makes decision-making a blessing and not a curse.

''One of the biggest fears that keeps us from moving ahead with our lives is our difficulty in making decisions... The problem is that we have been taught 'Be careful! You might make the wrong decision!' A wrong decision! Just the sound of that can bring terror to our hearts. We are afraid that the wrong decision will deprive us of something - money, friends, lovers, status, or whatever the right decision is supposed to bring us,'' Susan wrote in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.

When we are faced with a decision, we fear being wrong, we fear making a mistake. However, what happens if you KNOW that there is no wrong decision? Susan created a technique that she called the ''No-Lose'' Decision Making Model. As she clearly lays out in Chapter 7 of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, when we struggle over making a decision, we continue to worry about it even after the decision is made; this is the ''No-Win'' Model, the technique, if you want to call it that, that our brains automatically default to. When we use the ''No-Lose'' Model, we see that however we choose, there are benefits to both choices. Therefore, if we make a decision knowing that whatever the outcome we will benefit, we will have no reason to worry.

''There really is nothing to lose, only something to gain, whatever the choices you make or actions you take in life. All you have to do to change your world is change the way you think about it. This concept works beautifully. You can actually shift your thinking in such a way so that making a wrong decision or mistake is an impossibility.''

Let's start with an example. Say you're taking courses at a local college and you have to choose between two classes. You know that whichever class you choose will help you in some way - either class will expand your knowledge - so you know that no matter what you decide, you are making a good choice, the right choice.

Now think of yourself as a student and your whole life is part of your education. Could there be a wrong choice? Or just something else to learn?

Susan said it best, ''Start thinking of yourself as a lifetime student at a large university. Your curriculum is your total relationship with the world you live in, from the moment you're born to the moment you die. Each experience is a valuable lesson to be learned.''

There is no such thing as a wrong or bad decision because whatever you choose offers you the chance to learn. Even if you choose a way or a thing that doesn't work out, it is still a learning experience. It may not be the learning experience you'd like, but it still offers you benefits on your journey of lifelong education. If you find that you chose something that ultimately doesn't suit you, the lesson you can take out of it is that you now know that is not the path for you. There doesn't need to be worry.

When you are learning a new skill, for example knitting, you know you are going to mess up a lot as you learn the techniques. In fact, you may have to take apart a whole project when you realize that you made a mistake early on. Same goes with woodworking, programming, marketing, finance, biology, or anything. Making a mistake is just as important as not making a mistake. That is why a decision can never be wrong. It's all a part of learning that, ''I can handle it.''

''After much consideration,'' wrote Susan, ''I have come to the conclusion that if you haven't made any mistakes lately, you must be doing something wrong. You are taking no risks - nor are you enjoying the goodies life has to offer. What a waste!''

None of us is going to be able to succeed in everything we attempt in life. That is one guarantee we can get out of living. Worrying over the right or wrong of a choice is only going to stress us out, not help us make the ''right'' decision. When we learn to change our thinking and understand that whatever we choose we are going to be learning as a student of life, we stop worrying about right and wrong, success and mistakes. We know that we are living our lives the best way possible.

The more you do in life,
the more chance there is to not succeed in some things.
Look at how rich your life can be, however, from your many adventures.
Win or lose, you just keep winning!

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