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26 June 2014

Choices and how they change us

I received an email from a young woman the other day who told me that she's so conflicted about a choice she has to make that she's deliberately not thinking about it and she'll probably end up just flipping a coin to decide. She said by doing that she'll be getting what is meant to be. Phttttt! I don't believe in fate or coincidence. I believe we make our own luck and good fortune by working for what we want. Usually the decisions we have to make are those involving your work, family, friends and home so you should do as much thinking about those decisions as you can. The choices you make, whether they be good choices or bad, will impact you when you make them, and like a ripple on a pond, long into the future too. Flipping a coin to make a decision is like saying you're not worth the effort. Everything you do matters.


Flipping a coin and deliberately not thinking about important issues is side stepping the opportunity you have to make your own decisions. I encourage all of you to plan ahead and live according to your values. Own your life! This isn't a dress rehearsal. You don't want to realise that too late.  Plan your life as best you can, but be flexible when you have to be. Planning ahead will give you the best chance of success because you can actively work towards what you want. Non-planning really doesn't take the decision making out of your hands, there will still be an outcome. You're making the choice to not make a decision and then you have to take what comes of that.


When I look back and think of all the people I've met, the work I've done, the places I've seen, the time spent on such a wide variety of things, the countless hours I've spent raising babies and children and teens, the years I've spent working, I can see clearly that my path to here was never straight. It was one with curves, highs and lows, periods of intense happiness but also periods so dark I could barely see what was ahead. Some of my choices were not given enough thought and some just plain wrong, but all those past choices helped make me the person I am now. Sometimes I look back I wonder where all that energy came from, and where it went. I've tried many things, left most of them behind, and am here now with my basket full of what is important to me. I am happy and self-confident and I have the most wonderful family.


So to that young woman who wrote, and to all of you, I encourage you to think about what you want, work hard for it, plan your days and make the most of the intelligence, skill and talents you have. Stay close to your family and friends. I'm not saying this is easy, in fact, I know its not, but since when was the easy option the smart one? No matter what, when you think enough about the issue you're dealing with and then make the decision you need to make, own it, and then put in the effort to make it work.

Are you a decision maker or are you inclined to flip a coin?


37 comments:

  1. I'm a decision maker and it's the best in my life. I continue in French.
    Prendre des décisions réfléchies, les assumer pleinement et travailler dans les bonnes directions sont des éléments essentiels à la réussite.
    Lucie x

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    1. Lovely! "Make well thought decisions, embrace them fully, and working towards your goals (?) are the elements essential to success"

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  2. I'm not one for flipping a coin. Although,sometimes, if you're really unsure which way you want to go with a decision it can help to flip a coin...and monitor your inner reaction. Do you feel a 'Yes!' or 'Oh NO!' Not as an excuse to run away from the hard choices, but just as a pointer to how you really feel.

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    1. Yes I do this! I pretend I've made a final decision and see what my gut tells me. If I'm happy it's the right choice, if I get that sinking feeling I know I need to reconsider.

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  3. I have always been a decision maker, after weighing the pros and cons but after my incident at work and subsequent anxiety and panic attacks my decision making ability was impaired. It can be a long road back for some people and even dealing with Telstra or ergon was difficult for me. Thankfully I am in a lot better place now and my retirement means I can choose what to do when....

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  4. I always sleep on it. If there is a decision to be made,by the morning I have usually found the answer. I always seem to get my best ideas to do anything whilst I am in bed!

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  5. Definitely make my own decisions, always have done, always will do. I choose. I don't know how anyone can leave things to chance, life is so precious.

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  6. I reminded both of my kids quite often that the decisions made when young are going to affect them the rest of their lives, even those which seem very minor at the time.

    I had to smile when I saw your needlework in the photo above. One of my dear blog friends knew I loved it so she used your pattern to make one for me. It appears in photos of my kitchen once in awhile and I always send people over this way.

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    1. I just saw yours, Brenda. You know, when I drew the original pattern, it was done keeping my our values in mind. I wanted to see something in my home everyday that reminded me of them. I never thought for a moment that others would connect with it so strongly, but that's what's happened. I'm pleased because I believe it is beautiful and it helps spread an important message.

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  7. I am embarrassed to say that I am more of a "reactor"...I "react" to whatever is going on around me instead of planning. I would love to be a planner, but feel so overwhelmed by my life right now.''

    I love the new photo, Rhonda... it is very pretty, you look very happy and peaceful! Darlene

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  8. My concern about coin flipping (or taking someone else's advice wholesale) is that it absolves you of responsibility for the outcomes. If all doesn't go well or according to plan, then the coin or the friend is culpable (or 'it just wasn't meant to be'). Being free to make decisions (good and bad) is liberating. If you "can't" do something, you're locked in and helpless. If you "don't want to because I'm frightened" then at least there's some wriggle room for you to take control of your outcomes. Ditch the coin, make the best decision you can on the day and wear the consequences with grace. Whatever they be.

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  9. I'm a decision maker and I don't like to compromise, which is hard when you're in a partnership. To a degree I go with the flow and believe things happen for a reason but you need to know where you want to go in order to get there. In other words, you only hit what you aim at. Leaving the decisions up to others or a coin toss can leave you feeling resentful if things don't turn out well. At least if you make a decision and fail you know you tried and can be proud of that and learn from the experience.

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  10. I'm far too lazy to trust my own reactions; I HAVE to decide things ahead of time.

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  11. I am a fully committed decision maker. I don't waffle; I decide. However, when it comes to what to eat... I don't care so I don't make decisions. Sell the house? I can decide. Buy a car? Let me at it. Find a job? Resume' ready. But, the small things that don't matter?? I usually just let it go and let someone else decide or I make the choice on the spur of the moment... Crazy, eh?

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  12. Flipping a coin can sometimes help. It has been said that for the brief second the coin is in the air your gut/brain/heart etc. will scream "let it be tails" or "let it be heads" and that in itself tells you the direction or choice you really want. Personally though I don't flip a coin, I'm more of a pro/con list maker :-)
    ~ Pru

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    1. I like this answer, Pru. I think inside , we do always know the right answer .

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  13. Such a matching article to my current situation (http://simplelivingforums.com/forum/sustainable-backyards-your-moderators-are-robynlouise-and-sherri/our-productive-backyard/developing-sustainable-systems/434250-to-buy-or-not-to-buy-land) :-)
    Being an Engineer, I normally do lists and make head decisions but sometimes (like in this occaision) my heart is intervening and then I don't know what to do anymore...

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  14. I'm glad for this response, Rhonda. It seems that so many young people don't see a purpose in life, and it's sad.

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  15. I think it's very important for your overall sanity to feel that you have an overarching purpose/direction in life. It makes decision-making much easier when you understand your priorities.
    I'm all for taking charge of making decisions, but at the same time I find that looking at things as "everything happens for a reason" really helps me to graciously accept setbacks and not lose hope when those decisions don't turn out the way that you had planned!

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  16. Oh I can't imagine flipping a coin :D I'm a big planner and list maker... I guess taking control is important to me!

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  17. No coins for me. Life is too important to leave things to chance. I agree with all you have said today. By the way who is that young thing in the new photo? The good life is certainly agreeing with you. What's the saying? I'll have what she's having!!!!!
    Blessings Gail

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    1. HA Gail! It was a different photographer and maybe longer hair. I need a haircut.

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  18. All I know is that I love coming to your blog and knowing that your life's journey teaches has made you the person you are and that the life journey I am on is wonderful. It is through living thoughtfully and mindfully good things will happen and when I forget that , I read your blog and get on with it again!

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  19. Thank you for such a lovely post which is an answer prayer Rhonda in so many way to long to reply
    here have a blessing of a day

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  20. It's the end of the school year and together with y colleagues we have to make sometimes difficult decisions on whether a student is or is not capable of following the path he/she had in mind. We base our decisions on their results mainly, but character and gut feelings are always thrown into the decision making process. If it comes to the point we have to vote, I will always vote in favor of the student's hope, even if during the decision making process I have defended the opposite point of view. I think we should never forget we are taking decisions that affect often several years in the life of a person. I cannot imagine flipping coins over that, so why would I do it for my own life, especially since often it affects my family too?

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  21. I went through a phase where I flipped a coin for everything, I was stuck in a really indecisive point in my life. Thankfully that is well behind me now, and though I'm inclined to put off making hard decisions until I have to, I will make them and follow through on them. What a lovely post.

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  22. I am definitely a decision maker although I sometimes find making the decision hard. I like to ponder and collect my thoughts on occasions.

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  23. I've always just gone with the flow quite passively and have mostly been unhappy about it! Having children has motivated me to change and now with my second child I am much more confidant and stronger to make choices about my life. It's not just about me but my family and I have to step up and steer them in the direction and lifestyle I want for us and not what mainstream society or how our relatives want us to live.

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  24. Great post, RJ. But just wanted to say I love your new picture :)

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  25. Very thought provoking post. It is much better to live life with intention. I don't believe in luck either but I do believe in God's plan for us and we don't know all the answers so we have to do the best we can and the best we can is to look at any decision making situation and making the best decision we can in light of what we know at the time. Not facing something isn't good because, from my experience, at the end we always look back in regret. Making a decision and taking control of your life is empowering. In the end, it might not be the best decision but making no decision at all is very defeating.

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  26. Years ago I had one of those brief life changing moments when I told someone about the mistakes I'd made along the way. She said "We don't make mistakes, we make decisions. Sometimes our decisions lead us down a path that we discover is not where we want to be. In that case we have to go back a few steps and find another path". I really liked this bit of wisdom.

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  27. Hi Rhonda,

    I love all your posts, but sometimes there is one that makes me sit up straight and listen - today's post, for example. I love your answer to the woman about not believing in luck. Your answer is so, so true. We all may wish that we could stick our heads in a hole from time to time, but eventually we have to come up for air. As the old saying goes - you can run, but you can't hide. The longer I live, the more I realize how true that is. I find that I usually sleep on a difficult decision, if possible, and then talk it out with my husband. I can always count on him to listen to me - he doesn't always offer advice - just listens. In my talking and his listening, I can usually come to a decision on my own.

    I too, love your new picture.

    Diane in North Carolina



    .

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  28. Decision-maker all the way. I believe in living intentionally and making my own "luck." Very little in life happens by accident, I have found. What does happen by accident, or unintentionally, has consequences too.

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  29. As a child, teen, and young adult, I was very passive with everyone but my family. My motto was "If I don't disagree, no one will quarrel and everyone will like me." I avoided having an opinion on most subjects, and as such, I also avoided making important decisions (as well as small decisions); I preferred to procrastinate until the choice was made for me.
    Early this year near my 28th birthday, something within me changed. It wasn't a conscious decision to become a fuller person, but that is what has happened - I now make an effort to make decisions (from "what would you like for dinner?" to "should we spend this exorbitant amount of money to fix the house or should we pretty it up and try to sell it?") and form opinions that I am comfortable standing up for. My marriage is happier, my work is more fulfilling, my friendships are fuller, and I feel much better about myself, my life, and the future.
    So Rhonda, I completely agree with what you are saying. Making decisions, especially conscientious and well researched ones, is definitely daunting, but it leads to a more fulfilling and stable life. To this young woman: it will take time and dedication, but facing these decisions with knowledge, strength, and conviction will be well worth it.

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  30. I am a decision-maker, but sometimes I get stuck because I think I don't have enough information to make the "best" decision. It can be difficult, because in those cases I doubt I'd ever have as much information as I want, but I still make the decision. It might end up not being the "best" decision, but it was the best I could do at that time, and I can't expect anything more from myself.

    It might seem like not making the decision, using the coin-toss, is abdicating responsibility for it, but that isn't really true - you are still responsible for what happens, it is just out of your control as to what that might be. You can't blame anyone else for it - you made the decision to do nothing. Live with it! Own it!

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  31. If I'm honest I think I'm probably a bit of both. I suffer from MD so sometimes I'm not in a position to make decisions for myself and have to let my fiance make some decisions on behalf. That said I am always much happier when I'm making my own decisions and plan for things in advance. I think writting my blog helps me to stay focused and on track to. If you don't have a blog you could always keep a journal instead I find writting things down definitely helps with decision making xxx

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  32. Firstly, hello! I discovered your blog yesterday and I'm enjoy it very much so far.

    In answer to your question, I tend to have somewhat of a fatalistic approach towards choices; something of an 'oh well, if it's meant to be, it will be' attitude that is a bit similar to the person you mentioned in your post. But obviously, if I don't do anything to make it be (whatever 'it' may be), then it won't ever be at all, will it? That's something I didn't really think about until you pointed it out. We can't just go blah-ing our way through life - that's a waste! Thanks for this - you've really given me something to think about.

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