Thursday, October 7, 2010

ABC of Decision Making -- The Simpliest Way to Make a Decision

1 To man belong the plans of the heart,
but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.
2 All a man's ways seem innocent to him,
but motives are weighed by the LORD.
3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.
                                               Proverbs 1:1~3

When I was a junior student, everyday I felt panic building inside of me. I was about to graduate from high school, but I still couldn’t decide what course to pursue in college. It was like being pushed to the plank, the sharp sword pointing at my back and the dark wide ocean before me, when I couldn’t decide yet what to do once I'm in the water. A long time ago, I decided not to bother dreaming about college because I believed that my parents couldn’t afford it.

Fortunately, God sent me a beautiful angel. I was already enrolled in a three-year course in a local technical school when my English teacher, Maam Erna, came to our house to help me get a government scholarship. Months later, I received a letter from PESFA that stated that I was chosen as one of their scholars. The surprising part was that I can only avail of the scholarship if I took up a Bachelor of Science (BS) course. What a blessing!

I was both happy and perplexed though. What course should I take? I mulled over this question when my eyes caught sight of my brother’s book, Grob’s Basic Electronics. That’s it! I decided to take up Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering, not particularly because I like electronics or communications, but because I thought that my parents can save money from buying books since my brother already had books in electronics.

Did I make the right decision?

Not long ago, I started teaching my eldest daughter how to make decision. Since she is still very young (8-year old), I tried to make it as simple as possible. I call this the ABC of making decision.

A – Acknowledge your options
B – Balance each option
C – Choose the empowering option

To acknowledge is to realize that we have options. Each time we face a situation, and event or a problem, a crossroad is laid before us. Before we jump in or say mini-mini-mo, it helps to clear our mind by asking…

What are my options here?
Who can help me figure out what are my others options? Who is the right person(s) to approach?

To balance is to compare our options to a yardstick, a guideline or a standard. This is done by asking the following questions:

Which option is right based on my faith,values and principles in life? Which option aligns with God’s will? (For moral questions)
Which option is close to my heart based on my dreams in life? (For everyday questions)
Which option is correct based on my knowledge and experience? (For technical questions)
Who can help me understand the merit and demerit if each option? Who is the right person(s) to approach?

Finally, we choose. However, after acknowledging our options, and balancing it against our faith, values, belief, dreams, knowledge and experience, this time we have to do alone. This is a personal thing. To arrive at a quality decision, we have to…

Choose the option that aligns with your faith, your values and principles in life.
Choose the option that aligns with your dreams in life.
Choose the option that aligns with what you think is correct based on your knowledge gained though education, and experience.


In every decision we make, there is always a motive – the reason why we do things or say things. So before we choose, let’s try to examine our motive and see if it aligns with what we hold is true. We may fool the people around us, but God can see through us.

We can make all sorts of plans and decisions, but it is up to God to bless this or not. We can plant  the seed, but it is up to God to make it grow. A car accident, a terminal illness, an earthquake, a fire, a drought, a typhoon, a recession, etc. can simply throw a monkey wrench to all our plans in a blink. God always has the last say.

Years later, I am now here where I am today after I took that path based on that one book. Did I regret that decision? No! It was not that best way to choose a career though. I am happy because along the way I found the right way -- Jesus. I am truly amazed when I finally realized that God's way is the best way "all the time". (Before, I thought that God's way is for losers and non-achievers only. I was so wrong.) And I am very excited that I found my own means of serving and pleasing Him now.

Imagine. You are in your deathbed and an angel approaches you. Then he asks you, “Who do you want to please first: God, yourself or others.”

What would you say? Would you wait for the time that you are in your deathbed to make the best decision in life? Before you jump to you next to-do work, mull over this very important question and decide for yourself. Your eternity depended on it.

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