“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is tenacity.

The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.

You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”

~ Amelia Earhart

Life can be described as a a road, a journey, and a trip. There are long and short roads, smooth and rocky roads, crooked and straight paths. In your life, many different roads and opportunities will come your way as you journey on. There are roads that may lead to a life of single blissfulness, married blessedness or religious vocation. There are also roads that lead to fame and fortune on one hand or isolation and poverty on the other. There are roads to happiness, just as there are roads to sadness. There are roads that point toward victory and jubilation and roads leading to defeat and disappointment.

Just like any road you drive down in your car, there will be corners, detours and crossroads in life. The most perplexing road that you will encounter is a crossroad; round-abouts may be a close second. At the crossroads of life, you are faced with multiple roads to choose from, and have limited information on where each road will go. So, which road will you choose? What guarantee do you have that you have chosen the right one along the way? Would you take just any road or just stay where you are staring at the crossroad.

There are no guarantees in this life.

You do not really know where a road will lead until you get on it. There are no guarantees. This is one of the most important lessons you need to learn in life. Nobody ever said that choosing to do the right thing all the time would always lead you to happiness. Loving someone with all your heart does not guarantee that it will be returned. Gaining fame and fortune does not guarantee happiness. There are just too many different possible outcomes that you really don’t have control over. The only things you have complete power over are the decisions that you make, and how you’ll act and react in different situations and circumstances. Wrong decisions are always best seen in hindsight.

Honestly, if you had known that you were making a wrong decision at the time, would you have gone ahead with it? Probably not! Why would you choose a particular path when you knew it would get you lost? Why would you make a certain decision if you knew from the very beginning that it was not the right one? It is only after you have made a decision, gone through the experience and reflected on it that you realize that it was either sound or not. If the consequences or outcomes are good for you, then you will usually judge that you have decided correctly. Otherwise your decision was wrong.

You are in control. Take the risk. Decide.

Since life offers you no guarantee and you won’t know that your decision is wrong until after you’ve made it, then you might as well take the risk and make a decision. It is definitely better than keeping yourself in limbo. Although it is true that one wrong turn can get you lost, it could also be that such a turn may provide an opportunity for an adventure and open more roads.

It is all a matter of perspective. You occasionally have to choose between being a lost traveler or an accidental tourist in life. But, take caution that you do not make your decisions haphazardly. Taking risks is not about being foolish, careless or stupid.

Here are some pointers that can help you choose the best options in the face of life’s crossroads.

1. Get as much information as you can about your situation. You can not find the confidence to make a decision when you have too little information about what you are facing. Just like any news reporters, ask the 5 w’s: What, Who, When, Where and Why.

What is the situation? Who are the people involved? When did this happen? Where is this leading? Why are you in this situation? These are just some of the possible questions to ask in order to know more about your current your situation. This is important. Often the reason for indecision is the lack of sufficient information about the situation.

2. Identify and create options. What new options does the situation give you? Sometimes the options are few, but sometimes they are numerous. But, what do you do when you think the situation offers no options? This is the time when you need to dig a little deeper and create your own. Put your creative mind to work. From the most simplistic, all the way to the most complicated of ideas, entertain them all. Do not shoot any ideas down when they first pop into your head. Sometimes the most outrageous idea may prove to be the right one in the end. You can ask a friend to help you identify your options. But be sure that you make the ultimate or final decision yourself.

3. Weigh the pros and cons of every option. Assess each of your options by looking at the advantages and disadvantages they each offer you. In this way you can gain more insights about the possible outcomes and consequences of each of them.

4. Trust yourself and make the decision. Now that you have completely assessed your options it is time to trust yourself. Remember that there are no guarantees and wrong decisions are always best seen in hindsight. So choose…… Decide…… Believe that you are choosing the best option at this point and time.

Now that you have made a final decision, be ready to face its consequences good and/or bad. It may take you to a place of promise or a land of problems. But the important thing is that you have chosen to fully live your life instead of remaining as a bystander or passive audience to it. Whether it is the right decision or not, only time can tell. However, do not enter into your decision with regret. Instead make it a point to learn from each decision and keep in mind that you always have the chance to make better decisions in the future.

Thoughts? What other steps would you add to this process?

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