Posted by: 1of10boyz | June 8, 2014

Important Things in Life – Part 3: Decisive

This is the second factor or category that I have learned from living with that monkey, George, on my back. It is a follow on third segment in our continued discussion about the important things in life. Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2.

One of the most interesting things that I have observed living here in China is related to how decisions are made and the matter of choice (I am not talking about pro-life and pro-choice although that is another interesting topic.). One of the challenges that I see each day is the cultural process where the decisions made by leaders and those in power are followed regardless of how the person feels about it. Now, I certainly understand why that it and how that came to be; it doesn’t take a lot of historical reading about China to see why these people that I work with are that way. I am not sure how much of a rebel (someone that questions authority or has to understand WHY on nearly everything that happens – I am sure that I drove my parents and others crazy with that question) I would have not handled the Cultural Revolution very well with its public denunciations and related humiliations. I am afraid that even my strong will would have been bruised if not broken.

This exposure to the strangeness of China has only reinforced in my mind the importance of being able to make a decision; to be decisive. If you are decisive you have the ability make choices quickly and confidently; you are going to cause something to end in a particular way or you will determine what the result of something will be; and you will be clear and obvious. I think you can recognize that this is a very important factor because it also has cause and effect in everything that you do in life. Again, establish what it is you will be in the long-term and begin building for that goal.

You probably realize that I am an optimist; I see the glass half full unless my friend, George, is raging. I try to keep George as a little as possible because I really don’t like being negative and I have always found that pessimism is negative energy in my life that I really can’t do anything with. Some negative energy is good when it spurs you to do something and make changes but most of the time I have found pessimism just weighs me down and causes me to become depressed. So here are some things to help be decisive.

  • One of the first decisions you have to make related to being decisive is really very fundamental in my mind. It is this: “Will you choose to follow the Lord or the philosophies of men?” I know that may sound irrational because I am an engineer and a scientist. Too often those in my field find it difficult to reconcile the knowledge that they have with the faith that they need. I learned a principle and it was summarized in a catchy little phrase when I was just beginning to learn how nuclear fission occurred. The phrase was “Push the I Believe Button”.

You see the process of learning how all of these infinitesimally small pieces of matter interact with each other is challenging for even the greatest minds and I am not one of those. I was able to use that principle or concept to make it over difficult obstacles in my learning that made only sense when I learned other concepts later. That concept has been very important for me as I try to make the fractional knowledge I have of EVERYTHING fit together; sure I have things floating around in there that conflict with each other. Sometimes what I understand and believe to be true doesn’t always fit with other pieces. I sometimes have to push the “I Believe” button when I have information that doesn’t seem to fit together.

That is possible because I have accepted that man is fallible and that the knowledge we have today is not complete. There really are new things being learned by the “greatest minds” every day that may be as significant as those things that have been learned in the past 150 years or even 500 years (the world is not flat for example).

What I do know is that the most important “I Believe” button to push in life is the one that recognizes that when I follow the Lord, the rest of it will eventually fit into place. Don’t assume that means that life will be easy and everything will be roses and milkshakes; in my experience it isn’t easy and it isn’t supposed to be easy. Life is hard for a reason and surviving those challenges is what makes us grow and mature.

The major decision and life altering results is based on your choice of whom will you put your trust. You can trust in the Lord or you can trust in man; I would encourage you to trust that the Lord loves you and wants the best for you. You decision to choose to follow Him will make all the difference in the rest of your life. You must be decisive in your choice to “Follow the Lord”.

  • Choose to Live. There are so many choices that you could make, some will make your life easier and some will make your life harder. There are many competing priorities for your time, talent, and treasure. You have to be decisive in what you want from living. Ask yourself what manner of living would you like. Decide that you want to live free and not in bondage. There are so many ways that you can cause yourself to become a slave and to be in bondage. Ask the man who has a house and several cars with notes and loans if he feels free; his is not; he is in bondage to the bank and the mortgage company. Ask the addict if he feels free; he is not; he is enslaved to the chemicals or substances that have polluted his mind and/or body. Live your life so that you can avoid those situations that will enslave you. Choices about these situations often don’t show the challenges that will be presented that will modify your life and limit the choices you can make later. Realize now that your decisions today have consequences on tomorrow. Remember that being decisive means that you are going to cause something to end in a particular way or you will determine what the result of something will be. You need to understand what end you desire or the results you expect and then decide to make the life choices that meet those objectives.
  • Some of the most satisfying moments in my life have been those that are tied to key events where the decision was confirmed in communication with God. Decide to live so that the Lord can guide you. There are so many important decisions in life; many times we are expected to walk the challenging path. You need to choose a path that is centered on the commandments of God. This decision will allow you the opportunity to receive the confirmation of choices that will be in addition to your own strength. I can promise that it is much easier to take that step into the unknown when you have received the confirmation of the Holy Ghost. Once you have made a decision and gotten confirmation of it move forward; DO IT. The most important part of making a decision and being decisive is taking action. It doesn’t matter where you were, what you were doing, or how you were doing it in the past if you don’t move forward. Decide to do what it takes to act upon the decision.
  • Serve Others. There will be those that tell you that the only way to the top is over the bodies of those your conquered or destroyed. I would tell you that if that is how you plan to get to the top you need to go back and read and implement the ideas discussed in Character. Those that get to the top by sacrificing others are never going to be happy when they get there. Make sure that you share what you know with those around you, if you know the way share it. I am telling you to make your boss look good. Help your colleagues on those tough projects and deadlines even if they will get all the credit. Realize that it is about how you play the game and that good guys don’t finish last in the long run. Decide to be a “good guy” and wear the “white hat”.
  • Attitude. It is important to recognize that your feelings matter. Everyone has a bad day now and again. Even when you are struggling to feel good about your job and what you do, smile. A smile costs you nothing. While it may not make much difference to you, it may make someone else feel better. I have tried to smile and say hello to those I see here in China, I am certain that I don’t know most of them but after 3 years they know me. It is just a matter of having an attitude that allows me to smile and say hello; it makes a difference to them and do you know what? They now smile and say hello back, and that does make my bad days better because they do that every day just like I do. Decide to smile.
  • Don’t Complain. Decide that you will seek to understand and then be understood; sometimes that means recognizing the right answer when told. I always want you to try and understand why you are being asked to do something. In some cases that is going to be easy to see, in other cases it may not be obvious at all. Sometimes there is not going to be an opportunity to understand why something is the way that it is, in those cases you may have to just do what you are told. When you are in the moment of tasks that aren’t enjoyable, there will likely be many of them, remember that it doesn’t help you or anyone else involved to complain about it. Decide not to waste any energy in complaining.
  • Status Quo. I hate no answer as much as this one: “Because, we have always done it that way.” Challenge the way things are done if you believe that there is a better way to do it. Never let yourself be caught up in the old way of doing things just because that is the way it has always been; embrace the unknown. Challenge the status quo and the known way of doing things. Look for opportunities to embrace the unknown because those are the opportunities that provide the greatest chances to learn. Great things happen to people that decide to embrace the unknown.

Coming up next:

Important Things in Life – Part 4 – Persistent



  1. […] Important Things in Life – Part 3 – Decisive […]

  2. […] I expected. So I am splitting it into at least three parts. Up next, the categories: Character,  Decisive, and Be Persistent will be coming […]

  3. […] to my discussion of the important things in life. These are the links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. What I realized as I got to the end I wanted or needed to summarize, that will be the final part: […]

  4. […] learned from living with that monkey, George, on my back. These are the links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part […]

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