“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”Abraham Lincoln
One day, you are going to become your future self. Who is that person?
Think back ten years ago. Where were you? What were you doing? What were your goals and dreams?
Is that where you are today? Is this where you planned to be? Why, or why not?
Have you been intentional about creating the life you want, or has it just happened? Is it just the life you’ve been dealt?
Are there times in the past ten years in which different decisions would have created an entirely different life than you have now?
- A career change, or not?
- To get married, or divorced?
- To have children, to put it off, or not at all?
- To invest in your own personal development, or not…
Our lives are determined by the decisions we make and the actions we take. Your future self, your future life, and the person you will ultimately become will be determined by the decisions you make and the actins you take today. Now is the time to design the life that you want, not after it has happened.
In Personality Isn’t Permanent, Benjamin Hardy said, “successful people start by figuring out who they want to become and use that as a filter for everything they do.”
There will always be consequences to your decisions. Many people automatically think of negative consequences when they hear the word, but there are positive consequences as well. Make good decisions, do good things, and there are positive consequences.
In ten short years you will be looking back on today the same way you look back on 2010 now (I’m pretty sure you’ll never forget 2020). Will you be happy, or disappointed? Will you be grateful, or regretful?
As spiritual leader, Thomas S. Monson, often would say, “Your decisions determine your destiny.”
Everything that happens in your life – both good and bad – begins with a decision. The decisions that you are making right now will determine what happens now and will also shape your future.
In this article I want to share ideas that will help you to make the best decisions to create the life and future that you desire.
“Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.”Michael Joran
When you search, “the root of the word decision,” we learn it has Latin roots. The meaning of the word “decide” comes from the Latin word, decidere, which is a combination of two words: de = off + caedere = cut. Decide-to-cut-off
Making a decision means that you are committing to a result and you’re cutting off other possibilities.
When we talk about a real decision, it reminds me of the Yoda quote, “Do or do not, there is no try.” When you make a true decision, you’ve cut off all other possibilities. There’s no ‘try,’ you either do, or you do not.
I remember listening to eight-time Olympic medalist, Apolo Ohno, speak at an event in Salt Lake City. He was sharing his story of preparing to compete in the Olympics. At that time, food had only one purpose for him, it was fuel for his body. He had made the decision as to the person he needed to be, and what he needed to do to win the Olympics and he ‘cut off’ anything that did not contribute to that plan. He couldn’t be tempted by junk food, or anything else that would not improve his chances of winning. He had made a decision.
In 2012 I had the opportunity to meet Clayton Christensen and hear him speak. He shared an impactful story that speaks strongly about making committed decisions.
I’ll share it here from his article in the Harvard Business Review in an article titled, How Will You Measure Your Life (Https://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life ):
“I’d like to share a story about how I came to understand the potential damage of “just this once” in my own life. I played on the Oxford University varsity basketball team. We worked our tails off and finished the season undefeated. The guys on the team were the best friends I’ve ever had in my life. We got to the British equivalent of the NCAA tournament – and made it to the final four. It turned out the championship game was scheduled to be played on a Sunday. I had made a personal commitment to God at age 16 that I would never play ball on Sunday. So I went to the coach and explained my problem. He was incredulous. My teammates were, too, because I was the starting center. Every one of the guys on the team came to me and said, “You’ve got to play. Can’t you break the rule just this one time?”
I’m a deeply religious man, so I went away and prayed about what I should do. I got a very clear feeling that I shouldn’t break my commitment – so I didn’t play in the championship game.
In many ways that was a small decision – involving one of several thousand Sundays in my life. In theory, surely I could have crossed over the line just that one time and then not done it again. But looking back on it, resisting the temptation whose logic was “In this extenuating circumstance, just this one, it’s OK” has proven to be one of the most important decisions of my life. Why? My life has been one unending stream of extenuating circumstances. Had I crossed the line that one time, I would have done it over and over in the years that followed.
The lesson I learned from this is that it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time. If you give in to “just this once,” based on a marginal cost analysis, as some of my former classmates have done, you’ll regret where you end up. You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.”
When you make and commit to a true decision, you’re cutting off all other possibilities. You will hold to it 100% of the time, not 98%.
Many people fear making true decisions because it does mean cutting off all other possibilities. They fear not knowing exactly how to make it happen and turn their dreams into reality. As a result, they never make the decision and they never live the life that they deserve.
You don’t have to know the ‘how’ to creating results in order to make a decision. The important thing is to make the decision and commit that you will find a way no matter what!
Before you make a decision, you have to be clear on what you want from it.
Decide What You Want
“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.”Keri Russell
One of the most important things you can do to achieve your dreams and goals is to gain clarity. Creating clear goals is one of the main purposes of my free Momentum Training series. Clarity gives you power to produce the results that you really want in life. Making true decisions gives you clarity.
How are you going to live the next ten years of your life? What are you going to do today to create that life in the future? What are you willing to do? What are you going to stand for? What are you committed to?
Now is the time to design that future.
In the Momentum Series I use future pacing to help you identify your goals. I have you imagine yourself one year from now. You’ve just had the best year of your life. I then have you reflect on what would have had to have happened to make it the best year of your life. That is the beginning of figuring out your goals for the next year. Your goals will be to achieve those things that caused you to have the best year of your life.
As you are designing your future now, you can do the same thing. See yourself in ten years. Your life has never been better. What has happened to make it that way? What do you need to do to make that a reality? What decisions do you have to make now?
If you don’t put the effort into this and make the decisions about how you are going to live, you have already made a decision – the decision to let your environment direct and dictate your life, rather than creating and shaping it yourself. From those two options, which life do you really want?
Don’t just decide the things that will happen and the results that you are committed to, but also decide who the person is that you are committed to become
“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”Carl Gustav Jung
When you make a true decision it means that you are fully committed. You’re not going to dabble, you’re in, 100%.
Making the decision is often more difficult than taking the actions to make it happen. So be smart about making your decisions, but make them quickly and get to work. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says, “Men who succeed reach decisions promptly, and change them, if at all, very slowly.”
Often, just making the decision results in things coming together for it’s attainment.
Once you have made a decision, begin to act immediately to work towards it.
In our attainment of our desires, Napoleon Hill instructs us to “create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not.”
As yo begin this journey, you’ll have many learning opportunities. Things won’t always go as planned. You will succeed, and you will fail. These are both opportunities for growth, reflection, and learning.
Learn and Change
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”Henry Ford
Merely making a decision does not guarantee your success. But it places you significantly ahead of those not making decisions.
Tony Robbins said, “No matter how prepared you are, there’s one thing that I can absolutely guarantee: if you’re on the river of life, it’s likely you’re going to hit a few rocks. That’s not being negative; that’s being accurate. The key is that when you do run aground, instead of beating yourself up for being such a “failure,” remember that there are no failures in life. There are only results. If you didn’t get the results you wanted, learn from this experience so that you have references about how to make better decisions in the future.”
My friend, Eric Chang, recently presented at a Tedx Event. The topic of his speech was, “Why I’ve Learned to Stop Saying These Three Dangerous Words: Don’t Give Up.” In his presentation, Eric shows us the difference between “don’t give up,” and “test something different.”
As you are working towards your dreams, goals, and future, when you hit the rocks and things don’t work as you had planned, that is your opportunity to learn and “test something different.” When you don’t get the results you want, it means you need to be doing something in a different way. What you have done, like Thomas Edison, you have found a way that will not get the result you are looking for. Get over it and test something different. Then if that doesn’t work out, at that point you can give up… Are you kidding me?! Of course not! You’ve successfully found something else that doesn’t work, now you can test something different.
“Ten years from now, you will surely arrive. The question is where? Who will you have become? How will you live? What will you contribute?”Tony Robbins
Don’t go through life as a sheep, letting your environment create your life and your future.
Become very clear on who you want to become, where you want to go, and what you want to do. If you want help with this, use my free Momentum Series training.
Once you have gained that level of clarity, the most powerful thing that you can do for yourself is to decide. Make the important decisions that will shape and impact your life today, tomorrow, and into the future.
If you’re at 98%, you have not decided. To decide means you have ‘cut off’ all other options. You wouldn’t ‘like’ to lose ten pounds and get in shape, you’re ‘committed’ to it and you won’t even consider anything that doesn’t take you closer to that decision.
As you see the person that you want to be in the future and the life that you intend to create, don’t just look at it as two points. Don’t just look at today as Point A, and that future self you’ve created as Point B, ten years into the future. Remember that creating a successful life and arriving at the place you want to be in ten years, includes the life, the experiences, the trials, joy, and everything else that happens along the way.
“Decisions determine your destiny,” make the true decisions that are going to create that life that you want so that you can have the amazing future you deserve. Make the decisions that will also allow you to make the next few months, weeks, and days great. Don’t just look at making your long-term future great when you can still make 2020 great as well. It is possible and I wish you luck! My hope is that through this article I’ve been able to show you the importance of clarity and truly making decisions throughout your journey.
A mentor or coach can help you navigate this journey and help you to avoid many fo the problems you’ll face doing it on your own. When finding a coach or mentor to help you, make sure it’s someone that will be honest with you (even if it hurts your feelings) and hold you accountable. If this is something you’re looking for, this is what I do. Send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Decision.’ We can set up a free strategy session to see if I can help you.
Good luck. Dream Big, and enjoy life now!