The following post is written from the perspective of one who has not always made the best decisions. But I am learning. And I am happy to pass on to other men and women the principles I have learned that help me make good decisions.
1. Weigh the decisions you make before they weigh you down.
Every day I meet people who are prisoners of their own body because of poor lifestyle decisions they made throughout the years. The decisions they made were little choices that ended up having a cumulative affect on their health. I know this because I have been there. The temptation of the moment resets the course of their life. Each action we take must be weighed in light of what we want our life to look like in the future. Whether your dealing the physical, spiritual, or social dimensions of your life, what you do today matters. Weigh your decisions carefully.
2. Keep your ultimate goal in mind.
Years ago I read about a pro golfer who prepared for each major tournament by going to the very last hole and working his way backward He would stand on hole 18 looking back at the course. From there he would plan where his drive or fairway shot needed to land to give him the best opportunity to get his approach shot close to the pin. Then he would walk back to that spot and calculate what kind of shot he would have to make from the tee box to put him in that position.
He would walk the entire course backward to plan each action to lead to the ultimate goal of success at the 18th hole. In his book Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey clarified this principle in a chapter entitled “Begin with the end in mind.” These are principles essential to anyone who seeks to live fully alive. Have a purpose. Know what you want to accomplish with your life. Then work backward from there to so that each shot you take at life puts you in the best position to reach that goal.
3. Recognize the importance of little things
My friend Phil Waltrep tells a story that illustrates the power of small actions over a period of time. One day he discovered that the foundation of his house was settling to the point that the structural integrity of his entire home was being threatened. He called an expert and found out that the problem was due to a small leak in the gutter system. One drip at a time the defective gutter had deposited tens of thousands of gallons of water that eroded the soil at the foundation of the house. So little decisions over time can alter the course of life. But there is hope! Phil recognized the problem, fixed the gutter and repaired the foundation.
You see, little decisions can also add up to create character and foundational strength that leads to living fully alive. As a boy I visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. As I stood in awe of the majestic and beautiful stalagmites, rising hundreds of feet from the cave floor, The guides said that they were formed over thousands of years one tiny drip at a time. The decisions you make today can be foundation of your success tomorrow.
No decision is a small decision.
Every action is worthy of careful consideration.
Small decisions are the building blocks of success or the emissaries of destruction.
As a pilot, I learned aviation accidents are rarely the result of a single catastrophic event. Most are the accumulation of a series of bad decisions.
- Rather than getting enough rest a pilot stays up late to watch a movie on television.
- He overslept and rushed to the airport to get off in time to get to his destination for an important meeting.
- Because he was late he did not do a thorough flight check of his aircraft.
- He failed to check his gas tanks.
- Realizing his situation he pressed on rather than landing to refuel.
- The engine quit. He passed up a field that would allow him to land safely but he chose instead to try to land on a busy highway, hoping that a motorist might be able to get him to his meeting on time.
- On approach to the highway he hit power lines and perished in the resulting crash.
If the pilot had changed any one of these little actions and made the proper decision he would be alive today.
No matter where you are in life and regardless of the bad decisions you have made, your next decision can be a good one.
God’s mercies are new every morning.
Today is a new day. Don’t sacrifice tomorrow’s opportunity on the altar of today’s desire.
Love to hear your comments.
“God’s mercies are new every morning,” woulda been my opener. When talking about the vital things, one should mention Jesus first and often.
Dr Covey seems to take it a step further (or should I say farther) from Jesus when he counsels in his first habit to ‘expend our energies’ rather then draw on the Father’s power. Covey later elaborates, “Habit 1 says, ‘You’re in charge. You’re the creator.'” Frightening.
Habit two he writes, “…Create your own destiny and secure the future you envision,” omitting entirely God’s plans.
His remaining habits are similar in scope; omitting God and focusing on self. The Christian knows this is a recipe for disaster.
There are gazillions of knowledgeable (and yes, successful) folks in the world, but that does not necessarily mean we should follow their ways. If Jesus Christ is not included somewhere in the equation, then their formula should be seen as severely flawed.
Check out the meat on this bone:
“If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:6-16
“Godliness is profitable for all things.”
Just read this amazing 3 principles that I printed to have on hand at any time to make the most of decisions from now on.
I appreciate your message that will change my way I operate each day in all ways. I liked the way the pro golfer prepared for his tournaments, something I’ve never thought about as a way to plan
to reach my goals. Thank you Ken.
I also appreciate Dave’s comments and
thank him as well.
Thank you for your comment Lynne.
Thanks dave, I put my response under the wrong comment. Ken
I LOVE this Ken. God’s mercies are new every morning. No need to be paralyzed in the fear of a bad decision. Take the consequences with humility, learn and move forward. Shared your piloting analogy with Todd, he nodded emphatically to everything you said! Would love to put the two of you in an aircraft together someday… =)
Thank you Erica, and thanks again for the story you sent my way. We are still laughing. Ken
It’s been nearly three years and it still makes us laugh, now that we are back in the U.S. that is!
For a bloke who has the will power of a kid in a lolly shop your blog should give me added incentive to strive harder to get where I want/should be within myself, I know not to eat the next biscuit, but I still do. As for my spiritual welfare….. Paul may have thought he was the worst sinner but I’m pretty sure I can give him a run for his money. It seems as if Satan has settled into my head for the long haul, with a pretty neat setup I might add, the armchair, the fridge for his beer, a pretty comprehensive book of Aussie swear words is just the start. I’ve asked Our Lord to wack me over the head with a cold wet fish when ever Satan is about to have his way… hey maybe that’s why I get those headaches.
Stephen, Thank you for your honest and insightful blog. You made me laugh and think. Ken
Why can’t I share this though E-Mail?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I must say that I have learned a lot from your posts. I will use your tips whenever I make a decision. Thanks!
Carol F. Varner
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