Many talk about making decisions as if “just the act of making it” solves most issues of indecision. It doesn’t.
Not only does one need to make decisions at critical times, one must also know why they are making those very decisions while being fully prepared to live with the consequences if those decisions don’t bear the fruit they originally thought. If not – one is setting up for a lifetime of would’a, could’a, should’a thinking. And that’s one limb of a decision tree you don’t ever want to climb out on.
This is why you need to understand why you’re making a decision or decisions. It’s not just in the approach but rather; you need to be able to fully accept the consequences of those decisions. For it is the only part of the process that will save your sanity if or when things don’t work out as you either hoped, or planned. For when it doesn’t turn out like you thought but you continue to stick to your original decision with eyes wide open, is when you’ll have your first true indication (as well as true test) on whether you’ve made the correct decisions or on the correct path.
You can always re-evaluate and adjust if needed of course. But the original premise I’m trying to convey stands as paramount. Again, you can always reevaluate a past decision and change course. But the same reasoning’s as to why needs to be answered in conjunction and truthfully. Not something willy-nilly as if deciding whether to have chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
Let me share one of my own instances of what I’m trying to express so that maybe you may gain further insight when you are faced with important decisions in your own matters…
In the early 90’s I was for what many would equate (to use a sports analogy) as to playing AA baseball in the music business. For those not familiar AA is the minor leagues where many athletes with real potential play before being called up to the Majors such as the Red Sox et al.
During this time I was also pursuing my business goals. Suddenly, once again, I had what felt like my umpteenth kick in the teeth. I had a falling out with a partner within a business venture that was in many ways groundbreaking and difficult. I poured myself completely into the project and it become a great success against incredible odds. Then, others became involved against my wishes and feelings soured. Rather than make enemies I divorced myself from the business leaving me unemployed, uninspired and discouraged.
During this time as I said earlier I was still playing music. The month after I left I decided along with a friend to do a show at a local venue. On a spur of the moment we gave the band a name, decided who else we would have in that band, wrote a set list, and booked a gig.
Sounds pretty ordinary but let me add some facts to this mix so one can understand better the gravity and perplexity of trying to make the “right decision” when a decision was needed.
A good crowd for any band just created, even with members that are locally known would be a few hundred. Our one show with no publicity, where there wasn’t even a band 30 days prior, put a line down the boulevard and total attendance was just under 1000 in a venue not designed for such a crowd. It was an amazing night. So amazing the owner of a competing club on the other side of town begged us to do one at his. (this was originally only to be a one night thing)
We played that club two weeks later with the same results. It was absolutely stunning and it was in the dead of winter which made it all the more memorable. Was this a sign? Now it was question and answer time for me: What was I going to do next? Pursue business? (entrepreneurship) Or music?
As I stated earlier I had been recently (once again) disappointed business-wise. Music seemed as if it was showing me the way. However, just like business, I had my teeth kicked in a few times there also over the years. Yet, a decision needed to be made and the prospects for either were in many ways the same for me.
There were, and are no guarantees, but one would think giving the above I must have chosen music. I didn’t. I decided entrepreneurship or business was the choice – and made it.
Now stick with me for I know this may sound like it’s off topic, but I can assure you it’s not. You’ll understand more as you read further.
This is where my circumstances are a little different from most people. For what happened to me shows in vivid detail the reasons why I say, “You must not only decide your path clearly. But (and it’s a very big but) you must have the fortitude to be comfortable with that decision. For it’s easy to say OK this is it! However, to continue down that path is a whole n’ther matter when everything seems to be going not as well as one anticipated.”
At this time I was helping my friend who was my counterpart in that band at a restaurant he owned. Basically, I was just killing time as I sort things out. Another friend was also helping out intermittently. (Although it was a local popular restaurant in Lawrence, it was more like “our family hangout.” If a waitress didn’t show any of us would fill in. Same with a dishwasher. It’s just how we were.)
We all would talk (especially about the music business) and I made my plans known that I was no longer going to be perusing music as a career and was going in a different direction. Another friend of mine (who also had moderate success) shared he was going full tilt (in music) and if it didn’t work – so be it. But he was going for it. All of us understood the meanings of our decisions and were resolved. For we knew the decision was here and needed to be answered. And each did.
After my decision things went far from rosy. There were many, many more kicks in not only the teeth but other body areas. The same was happening with him as well. It looked like we were both on paths to nowhere, but they were the paths we chose.
As hard and as grueling with what might be seen in retrospect as “a road to nowhere” we both pressed on. Success was not guaranteed, only the making of the decision, and being able to stick by that decision while accepting the consequences if failure was the result.
There are no guarantees – just the requirement along with the understanding of knowing why you’re doing it. Only with this true understanding in your gut will it help you toward reaching those goals or successes when everything seems to be going the wrong way.
Suddenly for what seemed like a lifetime of more hard knocks and kicks there was finally a break. Not for me, but my friends. Too my delight I heard the news Godsmack was to play at Woodstock. Yes, those friends of mine who earlier were just like me wondering whether to go this way or that were rewarded with playing what many of us dreamed of as kids. Woodstock! Then it was onto others such as OzFest, world tours, hit singles, Grammy™ nominations and more.
However, when it came to my own situation those kinds of rewards were not panning out. As a matter of fact it seemed as if there were people painting more and more bulls-eyes on my body parts for people too kick!
It was not a very good time for me. Yet, what never crossed my mind, and what I was actually grateful for was my resolve that I made my decision (and understood it along with the possible consequences where I could live with myself) and could now revel in their success. For if I had not – I would have begun a life long question and answer battle of misery within myself of “would’a, should’a, could’a.”
I like anyone else had all the fuel one would need to burn a life long candle to re-read my minds pondering of: For only if I had made the decision to stay in music! Maybe I would’ve had similar success! And, it would have ruined my life.
There is no way of ever knowing if I could have reached any level of their success in music. Yet, there is an absolute guarantee had I viewed it via a “would’a, could’a, should’a” mindset – I would have lived a life of misery far worse than a life where success may not have shown. Yet, I never once felt jaded by life. I knew I had made my choices along with my decisions and needed to keep pressing on in my own adventures.
Again, in that “knowing” of what I was doing, and what I needed to pursue was the definitive reason I was able as I said earlier “to revel,” and be happy for them as they grew into the world band they are today. Had I not you wouldn’t be reading or hearing from me today.
Only with my own decisions firmly in hand while doing what I needed and decided to do, were the doors opened for where I decided to venture. For eventually as evidenced by your reading this – they finally did.
© 2015 Mark St.Cyr