Recently I’ve been walking a point in relation to making Practical Decisions – – meaning decisions about something in my practical reality. And I’ve seen how making decisions based on reactions of emotions and feelings are detrimental towards practically deciding in a moment as well as prioritizing that which is best for all rather than making decisions based on self-interest.
This is also something that I’ve been discussing with my partner in relation to how we make practical decisions for our lives, in how we can’t trust our decision-making if our starting-point isn’t clear.
So – a couple of days ago I was faced with a decision. It was a seemingly ‘small’ decision within a moment that I had to make fast. I was about to have a chat on Skype with someone with whom I had rescheduled the chat with several times already. So it was important to me to make this appointment, because I knew that if we missed this chat, it might take a while before we could arrange another chat. Five minutes before the chat, the phone rang and I knew who it was because we had agreed that this person would call me later that day. I simply didn’t know exactly when the person would call, but I had been waiting for the phone call. In that moment when the phone rang – – I could see that I had a decision to either take the call or let the phone ring and call back later, with the first option having the risk that I would be late for my chat appointment. Now – all of this happened in what I experienced as a ‘split-second’ however when I rewind the moment now, I can see that I did in fact have a moment of opportunity where I could have considered the point practically.
Instead I went into a reaction. I answered the call convincing myself that it wouldn’t be a problem, even though I knew that this person most likely wanted to talk for a while and that the call therefore would make me late for my chat appointment. As I was talking with the person – by the way an important phone call – I felt stressed and conflicted because I could see that I was going to be late for my other appointment. Eventually I cut the call short and told the person that I would call them back the next day. After all this I felt stressed and conflicted and I had an experience of guilt in my solar plexus coinciding with an experience of feeling like I was being sucked in, like having a weight in my solar plexus pulling me towards it.
I later realized how I had made the decision to first answer the call and then end the call within a reaction. At first I thought that the point was that I felt guilty for being late for my chat appointment. But as I continued to investigate the point, I realized that my decision had actually been based on self-interest, because I WANTED to keep my chat appointment as it was something that I had looked forward to for myself. I also realized how work and practical living is the most important priorities in our lives because without it, we can’t walk our processes effectively and as such it is the foundation for us even being able to walk our process. Therefore, the common sense decision would have been to prioritize the phone-call over the chat, as the chat was something I was more doing for my own sake, where as the phone call was a part of my work-responsibility. I also saw how I decided to place myself in a conflicted position because I answered the phone-call while knowing that I wouldn’t be able to do both at once – – – and so in a way I compromised both myself, the person in the phone call as well as my chat appointment for which I ended up being late.
When I looked at the practical solution and correction for this moment, I saw that I should have made a distinctive decision to either answer the phone call or adhere to my original chat appointment, instead of convincing myself that I could do both, while ending up doing both sort of half-assed. Now that I’m writing about this, I realize that this has been a distinct pattern in my life – – – wanting to and believing that I can do everything at once, only to end up doing everything half-assed because I wasn’t able to give each point it’s appropriate attention and focus. I’ve stood in this kind of situation numerous times in my life where I have a choice between two responsibilities and instead of practically looking at which one to prioritize, I’ve decided to do both of them – out of fear of failing with either or letting other people down or out of some greed to have control of things – – ending up doing both points ineffectively, because my mind was split between them. So I clearly see how important it is to be able to prioritize. And to rather for example cancel an appointment and rescheduling it for another time, than trying to squeeze several things into the same point of focus. Obviously this is not so for every point one encounter, there’s obviously things that can be done within a point of multi-tasking. However there are also things that require that one give one’s full attention and focus to this one point.
In context to seeing which decision is the most practical, I’ve been assisted to look at each scenario and see whether or not I’m reacting. So for example when I looked at the two options to either not answer the phone or ask for a rescheduling of the chat appointment, I saw that I had a reaction towards not answering the phone while no reaction to the point of rescheduling the chat. Within this I then saw that not answering the phone could have potential consequences within my work life, where as rescheduling the chat wouldn’t. However within this I also see that it’s important to check and cross-reference whether the reaction is for example indicating a point of self-interest. So what I for example found here was that I had acted within self-interest where I believed that I could keep both responsibilities, while actually compromising both.
What was then interesting afterwards was that I had a conversation with my partner about making practical decisions in context to our future and here I could then practically direct the situation through simply looking at whether there was any reactions towards either possible decision and we agreed that when facing such decisions we make sure to firstly clear our starting-point so that when we’re looking at what decision to make, we can do so from a starting-point of practicality within a context of what is best for all.
What I’ve thus also found is that even when our decisions are made from a reaction of fear or guilt – it is still decisions made in self-interest in that we’re then making decisions from within/as the mind only looking at what we (as the mind) believe would be best for us, while not taking practicality into consideration, for example considering the implications of our decisions on everyone else involved.
So my commitment is that whenever I’m faced with having to make a practical decisions, to first of all look at the priorities at hand – because for example as I mentioned previously, our work/money responsibilities comes first, before what we would prefer doing or like doing. Within this, in the example I mentioned above, it would have thus been clear to me that the phone-call was something I had to prioritize even though it might have then compromised my chat appointment. I also commit myself to stop believing that I can do everything at once and especially to stop this pattern of placing myself between ‘two chairs ‘ where I end up compromising both responsibilities because I can’t give each point equal attention and focus at once.
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Interviews that Expand on the point of making Practical Decisions: