We all have decisions to make every day. Big ones. Little ones. Which career path to follow. What style to cut your hair. Ice cream or no ice cream, and if yes to ice cream, what flavor? Some decisions come with little or no apparant consequence, some come with huge consequences.
A lot of times the consequences seem hidden, like choosing door Number 1, 2 or 3 on a game show, and you have no clue what you’re going to get. Those are tough, but even those can be made better if you’ve logically thought through the choices before push come to shove.
Which brings me to my point. The best decisions I’ve made in life are the ones I’ve made in advance. Long before it was imperative that a ruling had to be made, long before the ticking clock had wound down and it was time to say yea or nay.
A friend of mine recently reminded me of this. She is an excellent decision maker and she wastes no time. I don’t do so badly, but sometimes I waste time making the same decision over and over again when I could just do it once and be done with it.
Let me explain.
I remember a particular lesson in Mutual, eons ago. The lesson was on chastity and our advisor was explaining that if we made the decision right then and there, sitting in class, at church, to be morally straight, the decision would be easy and we could be sure of the outcome. But if we waited to make the decision on whether or not to be chaste until we were in the back seat of a car, at a drive-in, with a really hot boy, whom we were absolutely crazy about, the outcome might also be predictable. But all the baggage that came with that outcome, might not be what we really wanted.
I distinctly remember making a conscious decision that day, that come what may, I would remain morally straight and find someone of like mind, whom I was crazy about, and marry in the temple. My resolve was tested with someone (not my future hubby) whom I was also crazy about, and I was very glad that the ‘decision’ had already been made when the pressure was on and I was able to do and say the right things at the right time.
This morning my friend (the good decision maker), called to chat. I told her I was debating about whether or not to go running that day. I needed to—my daughter has entered me in a marathon in October—but I didn’t really want to.
“Of course, you don’t want to,” she said, “You haven’t gone yet. But who ever came back from running or working out and said, ‘gee, I wish I hadn’t worked out today.'”
And I realized she was totally right. I’ve never regretted working out. I’ve only ever regretted not working out. I realized I’m waking up each day and leaving the decision of whether or not to do some really important things in my life up to chance. Up to whether or not ‘I feel like it’ that day or not. I realized I rarely make plans for my days off. I give it the ole, “If I feel like it, I’ll go to the temple this Saturday.” And sometimes, I go. And sometimes, I don’t.
My friend, the great decision maker? She’s gone to the Orlando temple and done initiatory work every Wednesday morning for about fifteen years, since they opened. She made the decision once. She doesn’t have to waste time deciding ever again.
Somehow I think she was getting the real lesson in mutual all those years ago. So I’m wondering this morning (post run, by the way, 9 miles!), how much time and agonizing I could save, and how many things I could eliminate having to decide each day, by making the decision once. Just once. And I’m done.