Decisions are the building blocks of life. Each day we must make choices on matters small and large: where to go for dinner and who to marry; what toothpaste to buy and what career to pursue. Clearly, some decisions are more critical in shaping our lives than others. But thankfully there are no fixed decisions. What is right and true varies based on individual needs and circumstances. No one can choose but you.
At 27 years old, I was presented with a life-altering proposal. At the time, I was a famous singer in Europe and was invited to come to America to tour with my band. I could have rejected the contract and remained in my native Romania or accepted the offer and moved to America. Some might have believed it best to continue in a country in which I was already established, while others might have argued to take a leap of faith in the land of opportunity. I elected to immigrate to America. Here, I was able to reinvent my career to one extending far beyond the boundaries of a foreign singer. I met a wonderful man and started a family. I became, in all senses of the word, an American pursuing her dream. I often revisit the vivid memories of my youth and wonder, What would my life look like now had I chosen to stay in Romania? I can only speculate, although my conscience often reassures me that I made the right choice.
But this right choice, unfortunately, is never unaccompanied by the heavy burden of "what if." We want to ensure that we pick the best option possible, and more significant decisions require a degree of introspection and careful meditation. Before automatically reaching conclusions, reflect on these four golden rules of decision-making:
Timing is everything.
Listen to yourself.
Prioritize and balance.
Forecast your outcome.
While most decisions should be supervised by our rational mind, there also exist those we should seldom hesitate to take. These are always wise choices, guaranteed to improve the full spectrum of being according to unfailing principles:
1. Keep lifelong relationships.
Lifelong relationships are nothing short of admirable, from timeless friendships, marriages of many years, and long-standing partnerships. There is a rare richness in remaining loyal to the people whose faithful presence has withstood the test of time. Being able to maintain steady relationships also speaks volumes about you as a person. When you enter a relationship -- of the personal, business, or friendly kind -- enter it with the mentality that this human bond should become a lasting part of your life.
2. Invest, don't waste.
We all make financial mistakes, but they key is to learn from previous spending errors. As a rule of thumb, it is better to invest in things that grow in value in time instead of splurging on items that depreciate immediately. A good example would be buying a home instead of unnecessary luxuries. Investing and not wasting can also be applied to time. Be mindful of the ways in which your minutes, hours and days are consumed.
3. Care more for yourself.
We are all urged to "take care" of ourselves but few of us put this phrase to use. Indeed, we battle ourselves senselessly day by day, consumed in stress, doubt and self-blame. We are overworked and under-appreciated. But we can opt to appreciate ourselves through simple actions which promote our own well-being. Take 30 minutes out of your day, each day, to pamper yourself through exercise, good company, a relaxing massage or whatever activity helps ease your thoughts. List your priorities and place your own health first.
4. Have children.
You don't have to have your own children to invest in the youth of the world. Becoming a mother or father figure, sponsoring a child, or adopting a little one are actions of equal value. Invest in a young person in whom you believe wholeheartedly, be it your biological child or not. Becoming a positive force in the life of a child will prove to be a choice providing endless joy.
5. Seek your life purpose.
We are all born with a greater purpose, though few of us are aware of it. Seek your mission by understanding what you were born to do and incorporating your inherent talents and natural abilities into your routine. Though we may not all be able to make a career out of our calling, we can certainly introduce our vocation into our lives through hobbies, volunteer work, creative projects, or a part-time job.
6. Thrive on faith.
The decision here is not necessarily to align yourself with one religion, but to alleviate difficulties through constant faith. Having faith simply means believing that your problems will resolve and that you will be shown what actions you must take. Thrive on faith to transcend all trials.
7. Become an architect.
Architects are visionaries in that they use their mind's eye to foresee a beautifully finished project before the work has even begun. Whether they are constructing a house or building, an architect will lay out a blueprint of their pending masterpiece with uncanny precision. In this way you must become the architect of your own life, envisioning your planned achievements and strategizing a solid plan to help them manifest. By becoming an architect in metaphor, you can carefully craft your future according to your highest vision. Adopt the mentality of a skillful creator and apply it daily to expand your current version of yourself.
8. Stand up for yourself.
You will never regret the decision to stand up for your rights, your worth and your own beliefs. Make your voice heard in polite but firm ways. Empower yourself by knowing you possess undying strength to forge ahead. Stand up, in particular, against three things: conventions, limitations and injustice.
9. Break your patterns.
To a varying extents, we are all stuck in certain patterns: you may subconsciously attract the same kinds of relationships or situations into your life. Breaking your patterns involves first analyzing their source then implementing new actions that produce new results. Revised decision-making lies at the core of ending negative cycles of behavior.
Decisions are inseparable from everyday life. By following the golden rules of decision-making, we can avoid making erroneous moves. And although our choices will usually be based on our individual needs, there are several infallible decisions we should make without thinking twice, knowing that they will only reinforce positivity for us and others.
To brilliant decisions,
Dr. Carmen Harra
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