Decisions are made through a mix of past experiences, current conditions, others’ judgment, fear, etc.
Being decisive is a key element to knowing if we are on the right path toward understanding who we are and what makes us happy.
Because indecision comes from our inability to make clear choices.
We want everything.
We feel we are missing out if we choose one thing over another.
We get stuck.
When we continually question ourselves and our decisions it shows a lack of focus on a vision for our future. We have no idea what we actually want and therefore will get paralyzed with fear and anxiety when having to make decisions, especially ones that appear difficult.
We can’t let ourselves go down this path. We have to be willing to stand our ground and be comfortable and confident with who we are and what we believe in. If we aren’t there yet then we have to be willing to put in the work to understand why.
It’s okay if we are different from everyone else in the room.
Have we ever considered, that maybe we are in the wrong room?
Be okay with making the decision to walk out and find a better one that fits the life we want.
A coffee cup can be used for:
Tea and other drinks
As a measuring cup
To rinse your mouth while brushing
To hold pens and pencils
To trace a circle
To fill with loose change
We can keep going but the point is that just because a tool was intended for one purpose it doesn’t mean it can’t be used for many others.
Before we go and buy the latest widget to solve a problem we should look around and see if we can create a solution. We get to use our creativity and imagination like we’re kids again. We get to solve a puzzle.
It pushes us a bit outside our comfort zone and we get to take agency over the decision. It could be small but it will help us grow. It helps us think outside the box. It lets us question what can be possible if this is possible.
Sometimes a coffee cup is for coffee. Until it’s not.
It takes us until we become adults to realize just how hard it is to be a kid.
Kids rarely have free choice.
They have to go to school.
They have a specific bedtime.
They may have to eat their veggies.
They may have to play a sport they don’t like.
Rarely can they buy things that make them happy without approval.
The list goes on.
It should make us wonder then, why we complain so much as adults.
We can choose where we work and what we do
We can determine who we want to be around
We can choose the activities that excite us
We can choose what we eat and when we eat it.
We can choose a lot of things. We can choose to complain or choose to be happy.
It doesn’t switch overnight but we can make decisions to lead us in either direction.
The significant part about being an adult is that we have the choice.
It’s been 3 years since my wife and I got divorced. Funny how that much time has passed. Funny to think what we could’ve changed to make it work.
A lot of things for sure.
But, then again, it was probably the right decision. We were both unhappy.
Why stay in something that you are “lukewarm” about, at best?
But that’s what we do as humans. We sort of just settle in for what feels comfortable. We do whatever we can to hold the walls up around us in order to eliminate the abrupt pain of it all caving in at once.
We fail to recognize that having the walls cave in can allow us to rebuild a stronger foundation from the ground up. We can create a more solid structure that is long-lasting.
It doesn’t mean we have to run from every bad situation but it could mean that we have to take a hard look inward on why this is happening in the first place.
What have we done to get here? What have we done to cause this situation? What has been out of our control? How can we change for the better?
Change is really hard. I remember the time between getting “separated” and then actually leaving the house we built together. Those 5 weeks transitioning to leave the house and officially, by legal standards, become separated were brutal.
I cried a lot.
I was heartbroken.
I was depressed.
I was sad.
But then, I wasn’t.
Sure, I can be sad that we weren’t madly in love like many years prior. I can be sad that our son has to be a part of a co-parenting situation. I can be sad that the happy moments we had together would be clouded by this decision we made.
But that’s all a matter of perspective. I had the choice to be happy or sad.
So I chose to be happy.
Everything ends at some point. That’s the rub of life. It all eventually ends. Our situation ended just a bit more abruptly than originally planned. Our story just took a different direction down the wandering path.
But, I’m happy I had those moments with her. I was madly in love, and I know she was, too.
I’m happy my son gets to spend time with each of us individually and grow a stronger bond. He gets to grow up going through some shit. That’s only going to make him more resilient.
I’m happy with all those moments of happiness, laughter, and fun we had together. We had some great times. But I’m also happy for the less-than-desirable moments, too. Because, as I reflect, it’s made me grow as a person and be a better version of myself. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to go through hard times to figure that stuff out.
Life is never easy but if I’ve learned anything it’s that negativity and pessimism almost get you nowhere. I’m sure someone can tell me there is some utility to it but not much that I’ve seen.
If we can take every situation, no matter how dire, and work our way to see the sunshine and rainbows then we have a much better chance of finding the happiness inside ourselves and using that as fuel to power us forward.
It’s hard to get there when we think the world is always giving us a bad hand to play.
Once we accept that we may not have played the hand correctly then it can make it much easier to respect the outcome and move on.
It doesn’t mean we forget about the past as those moments and experiences helped define who we are, good or bad. But it gives us the opportunity to use those moments and learn from them.
We have the opportunity to start anew. Not from square one but from much farther ahead because of the wealth of knowledge we’ve gained through all of it.
Be open to change. Be receptive to it. Embrace it.
Regret might be one of the least desirable emotions to have because when it surfaces we have almost no answer to it.
It’s in the past. It’s over.
We can’t fix it or go back and that’s why it hurts so much.
However, what we have to remember is that we had the chance to make the “correct” choice at that specific time. It’s easy to use hindsight to think we got it wrong but we have to remember the person we were when the decision was made.
Were they ready to make the choice that we now regret?
Were they prepared?
Did they have the courage to think differently?
It’s useless to regret decisions from the past because the person looking back is much wiser, lived, and weathered than the one that made the decision back then. They have more information now which gives them a skewed perspective on it all. Of course, we would change it if it didn’t appear to work out in our favor.
What’s more important is that the person we are today uses our past experiences to recognize new opportunities when they surface and then makes the best decision possible for their life with the information they have available to them at the time.
This way, as the years pass, there can’t be any regret because we acted in the best way we could’ve when we were called to make the tough decision.
Advice can be helpful if we understand the background of the person giving it, how much they know about us, and their intent.
Those are some of the lines we should draw on how much impact that advice has on our decisions. We can use the advice to help form our decisions or ask more questions but don’t necessarily have to take it verbatim especially if we aren’t sure of the credibility of the source.
Having agency in seeking out our own answers to unfamiliar questions by doing our own research can give us confidence in the decisions that we make. We don’t always need to take advice from others and, in fact, it can be used to slow down our decision-making process altogether.
Sometimes using our ability to problem solve ends up being the best route we can take when we are making decisions.
I wasn’t able to attend our 20-year high school reunion this past weekend but as I sat and reflected on the last 20 years I was inclined to write some things down. Things I wish I wrote a long time ago.
Here are a few observations, and hopefully, we can use these ourselves, pass them down to our kids, or maybe the class of 2021/22 can gain insight into areas that were unknown to us at the time.
Taking action is the key ingredient to achieving anything. Worrying is useless. Nothing good happens when you worry. Creating action and doing things is what moves the needle. You don’t know until you know. Don’t conjure up reasons why you can’t do something. Go out and try and see what happens. You don’t fail, you learn. And then you move forward. Progress can only happen through action.
Grades don’t matter. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to get “good grades” but you shouldn’t hinge your entire adult life on how many A’s you received. Grades are generally about memorization for tests, life is about your experiences, adventures, character, community, and courage. Those things matter more than any grade could ever give you.
High school doesn’t have to be your best time. It’s a short season in the grand scheme of your life. It can be awkward and lonely. It can be hard. But, it’s your choice on how you want to spend it. Will you educate yourself with new ideas, learn a new skill, or practice something you enjoy or will you binge every Netflix series, watch TikTok videos for hours, or sit around making excuses for why you can’t do it? When you realize it’s your choice, the game changes.
Create lasting friendships. Understand why you are friends with certain people and why they are friends with you. Find your “tribe” that has similar values and is willing to challenge you to be the best version of yourself. It’s not about popularity or getting invited to the best parties. It’s about having deep, meaningful relationships with people who support you. You’ll need those friendships when life gets hard.
You can create anything you want. Despite what we were taught, you don’t have to go to college, get an entry-level job, and work your way up. You don’t have to live for retirement before you can enjoy your life. You don’t have to do any of it. Carve your own path, find what makes you happy and gives you purpose, and then explore how you live a life around that. That’s where a great life begins.
Reflecting back, 20 years appeared as it evaporated like that. Where did the time go, we are asking ourselves? It seemed like just yesterday we were walking through the halls, going to football games, and messing around, thinking we had it all in front of us. A lifetime ahead of us that we could do whatever we wanted with.
And in a flash, 20 years have passed.
There’s been tragedy and triumph, highs and lows, and many more lucky breaks than we can count.
But we’re here. Wherever we are. We are here.
Whatever has happened is in the past. Those are decisions we’ve made, good or bad. Those are opportunities we’ve pursued or missed. Those are tragedies averted or endured.
But we are still here.
So now we have a choice. We have a choice, today, to decide if we are happy or not. We have a choice to make changes in our lives to pursue happiness each and every day.
We have to believe we have a choice.
That’s the first step. There’s no more complaining. There are no more pointing fingers. There are no more excuses. Now is the time to act.
What if we knew that high school, although 20 years ago, was just the end of the first quarter. Well, then that means we are just at halftime.
It means we can change. If the playbook didn’t work, then throw it out. Start fresh and create something new and different than you ever thought possible. You can create the life you’ve always wanted, even if the first half didn’t go as planned.
Get in the locker room. Regroup. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Why can’t it be you?” Why can’t you become happier than you ever imagined?
The only way this time is different is if you put in the work. The grind. Make the tough choices. The knowledge that you’ve gained over the years is that it’s not going to be easier. In fact, it might be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, to commit to the change.
But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.
You’re worth it.
So let’s start the 2nd half off strong. When you get tired, feel defeated, or start to panic, go back and read #1 above. Progress is only created through action. Sometimes taking action is hard because it is against the grain of what others around you are doing.
But this isn’t about them.
It’s about you.
It’s about what makes you happy.
Are you ready to take the field and fight for every inch of your happiness?
The clock is starting on the 2nd half and the ball is now in your hands.
What’s the first play you are calling?
A Message To The Class of 2001, 20-Years In The MakingBrian Ondrako2021-11-28T21:58:18-04:00