Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Choice is Yours: A Guide to Decision Making

Making choices is one of the hardest things we have to do. It's so difficult, and often stressful. There are so many choices, and so many ways we can use our time. And it seems like there is so much pressure put on us to choose the right decisions. We face such a variety of choices everyday. There could be so many ways to categorize the choices we have to make, but I'm going to categorize our choices into three categories:

Unimportant Decisions
Life-Altering Decisions
Momentous Decisions

Unimportant decisions are the most common. What shoes you will wear, what font you choose to type your paper in, drinking juice or water with lunch..... you get the point. These choices either impact nothing at all, or have such a small ripple that nothing happens. In most cases, these decisions don't matter.

Life-Altering Decisions are just that: life-altering.  These include the college you go to, the career you pursue, choosing chastity, gaining a testimony, going to the temple regularly, etc. These are either one-time decisions like getting married, or many long term decisions like attending the temple. Life-Altering Decisions are planned for ahead of time and are focused on when decision making is discussed.

Momentous Decisions are the choices that people don't often think about. These include how you manage your time during a given day, your attitude for the day, or how you choose to dress that day. Notice how all of these choices are daily choices. Will you choose a modest outfit today? Will you read the scriptures? Momentous Decisions are vastly important, hence the name momentous. However, they are made in a second, and only seem to affect a moment. But, the ripple effect of momentous decisions reaches much farther than anyone could ever know. For example: If you choose not to exercise today, you know it will be harder to choose to workout tomorrow. Not only will it be harder, but you may feel more sluggish that day, be in a worse mood, etc. 

Lots of people overlook momentous decisions everyday. I know I do all the time. One of the hardest things we must learn to do in this life is to balance our time and choices. 

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a talk in a 2007 General Conference about making decisions. He focused on "Good, Better, Best". This talk is very helpful when trying to learn how to determine what decisions to make. He says:

"We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives."

 "As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all."

I know that we will be blessed in our lives when we learn how to choose wisely when making all kinds of decisions. While there is sometimes, a lot of pressure, we also have many resources to help us. But most of all, I know that Heavenly Father will guide us when we make choices. And I know that no matter what we choose, He loves us.

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