Your Power To Decide

By Asoka Selvarajah, Ph.D

In his classic work, "Think & Grow Rich", Napoleon Hill stated that 98% of people are in the jobs they have through "indecision", i.e. because they never made the decision about what they wanted to do in their lives in the first place. Sadly, nearly a century later, we can say exactly the same thing.

Decision is the key to transformation. Yet, most of us never learn this from our parents, from school, or indeed from anywhere else. It is one of the key character traits distinguishing high performers from the vast ranks of the mediocre. Can you "decide" upon anything? If you can, almost anything you want in life can be yours.

If you think back in your life to some of your greatest achievements, those things you are most proud of, you will see that behind it all there was a decision you made at some point, and persisted with against all opposition, right through to the successful conclusion.

For me, it was the three tortuous years I spent labouring away on my Ph.D, doing a subject that was so complex that after a while, all I had left was persistence and determination to see the decision I had made through to its final conclusion.

Indecision explains why many people feel that they have a life purpose, but have no idea what it is. We have lost the use of the decision muscles that should normally enable us to manifest into our reality what we decide upon, and persistently hold in our minds. Ask a child what it wants to have and you'll get a long list. Ask an adult the same question and you may well be greeted with silence.

The problem is that all too often that people hunger for instant gratification. The ability to engage in delayed gratification, i.e. working hard for a goal NOW in order to see it realized at some point in the future, seems to be a dying art. Hence our ability to make decisions and see them through to a fruitful end has grown very weak. For many people, the biggest decisions they ever make in a year is where to go on vacation, how to get there, and where to stay! Sad but true.

Decision is, by definition, behind every truly great achievement anyone ever makes. Most of the people who live to be a hundred actually DECIDED at some point in their life that they wished to live to a hundred. Most millionaires, at some earlier point in their life (often when they were heavily in debt), DECIDED that they were going to be millionaires. The Buddha's enlightenment came only after he DECIDED to seek Enlightenment and persisted for six long hard years until the achieved it. Edison DECIDED to invent an electric lightbulb and persisted despite 10,000 failed attempts.

Decision coupled with Persistence is unstoppable. Napoleon Hill also commented that, in examining the lives of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, the only quality he found in them that remotely accounted for their success, i.e. was NOT common in ordinary people, was that of Persistence.

Interestingly, the most successful people make decisions quickly and change them slowly. They persist with the decisions they have made. However, failures are very slow to make any decision at all (most never make any), and they change the ones they have made very rapidly indeed. Which description applies to you?....

It's not about making the "right" decision in the first place, but rather about making the decision you have made "right". If you wait to make the "right" decision, you could wait forever. If you make your decisions "right", this means that you work with the decisions you have made, adapting them as necessary to the situation at hand.

Yes, of course it helps to make the best decision possible in the first place. This is where excellent research and accurate thinking come into play. You should do your best in this respect. However, you also need to set some sort of deadline or limit to this to be prevented from engaging in "paralysis through analysis". At some point, you have to DO. Thereafter, you adapt your thinking to actual circumstances, in order to ultimately bring about what you have decided upon.

For instance, you may decide to live to be a hundred. However, you then work with the existing health systems available to reach that goal, adapting and choosing what is available to your personal needs. You may decide to earn a certain sum of money, e.g. a million dollars. From then on, you adapt your thinking to the many means available.

You don't give up on the decisionn itself, although you may give up on a specific means of achieving it, and instead move towards another. Flexibility in the means of obtaining the outcome of your decision is okay. Flexibility in dumping your decisions the whole time is NOT.

The Latin root of the word decision means "to cut off from all alternatives". This is what you should do when you decide. Don't leave yourself a life-raft so that you can give up later. A famous example of this kind of decision is Hernan Cortez, in his conquest of Mexico. When the Conquistadors first arrived in Mexico, Cortez literally DID burn their boats. There was no way back home. They could literally only go forward and conquer. That is how just a few hundred Spaniards, thousands of miles from home, took on, and triumphed over, the power of the Aztec and Mayan Empires. Decision!

Decide, and then act as if you could not fail. Interestingly, this attitude of mind attracts to you forces from the universe that are fully capable of supporting you and bringing your decision into manifestation. If you ask a lot from life, you will receive a lot. If you ask a little, that is what you will get. Interestingly, the universe has no favourites and does not care either way how much or how little you ask for. As and you shall receive, is the way it was once expressed.

The key is to KNOW what you want, DECIDE to get it, and then PERSIST until you have done so.