Author's note: I am a compulsive advice-giver-always have been. When my own son was in high school, he wasn't interested in his old man's advice so I wrote it down in the hope that he might change his mind one day. What follows is one piece of that advice. I trust it applies to all of us, regardless of age.
It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.
Want to know a secret? The very act of deciding is often more important than the decision you make. Here’s what I mean:
In your life, you’ll be faced with many decisions. Some will be important, weighty choices; some will be small and relatively inconsequential. In some cases, the right answer will present itself, so the decision will be easy. At other times, there will be no clear-cut “right” answer. You’ll struggle. Which should you choose: door number one or door number two?
Here’s my advice: decide. Pick one—either one. Make a decision—and then make the decision work.
Remember, this is a case where there’s no clear-cut answer. Unless you’re expecting additional information that will help you make a more informed choice, you’ll just have to choose. So choose. Then, make a commitment to the decision you have just made, and make it work.
If there’s no obviously right way to go, then there’s probably no wrong answer either. In that case, either decision can work for you if you make up your mind to make it work. What you do after the decision is very important—probably more important than the decision itself.
Decision-making is an important skill for everybody, but those who are especially good at it are likely to go far in life. Here’s another secret: the real skill here is decisiveness, which is the ability to make a decision—any decision—and follow through with it. Nobody can read the future. Just make that decision and start moving. Others will follow.
Now, of course once you start going down the road, if you find that you’re clearly headed for disaster, then you may need to change direction. But even in that case, you have to start down the road before you can learn that it’s the wrong road.
In Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, the poet finds himself in the woods, facing a choice of two divergent roads. He must choose. Which road should he take? He writes, “[I] looked down one as far as I could/ To where it bent in the undergrowth.” At crunch time, you can only see so far. The important thing is to choose a path and start walking.