Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success
I had the pleasure of seeing Andy Andrews the author of “The Travelers Gift” speak live recently. He shared with our group the Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success. His seven decisions are principles to incorporate into daily living and include: take responsibility; seek wisdom; take action; make decisions; choose to be happy; forgive; and persist without exception. A quick synopsis of each principle follows.
Sometimes it is difficult to see what is within our control when our lives are out of control. However, putting this principle to work requires that we only accept a part of what is happening to be able to change it. It is through owning what is ours that we can change it.
Andy told our group that we often seek sources of knowledge and education to build wisdom. A risk here in gaining knowledge is that we typically seek out the same people and sources for information. The challenge is that most of us associate with people like us-people who think like us. It is extremely difficult to gain a different perspective when we look for others to validate what we already know instead of trying to ensure that we have the very best information available to us to make decisions. Other authors have referred to this phenomenon as confirmation bias and encourage us to reach beyond what we already think we know into not only what might be true but what is possible.
It’s easy to dream but much more difficult to take actions on those dreams. What is holding you back? Inertia keeps us in repeatable patterns. When these are patterns of success then we absolutely need to continue the repetition. However, when we continue to repeat patterns that do not take us successfully into our future, these same patterns become our prisoners.
*Make Decisions-Have A Decided Heart
Before we can take actions, we need to make decisions. The biggest challenge to decision making is that once the decision is made we have eliminated other options so we sometimes hold back. Overcoming what we perceive as a loss will help us move more quickly into a decided heart. Additionally, knowing what you are truly passionate about and then following that passion will support your decision-making process. Where in your life have you let go of what you are passionate about to follow what is comfortable? Is this the year to follow your passions?
*Choose to be Happy
The concept that happiness is a choice can often be unnerving. Much like Shawn Achor shared in “The Happiness Advantage” happiness is not about the belief that we should be happy in all aspects of our lives rather it is about understanding that we have the choice to be happy. Frequently our happiness is a result of what we are thinking. Recognizing that we can not only take responsibility for our thoughts but that we can change them is a huge step to becoming happier.
Andy shared with us that forgiveness is a decision not an emotion. He advised that people don’t have to ask for it or deserve it rather, it is just a gift that is ours to give. Without extending forgiveness into the transgressions of others, we are left with bitterness about the situation. Others can pick up on this bitterness-even when it is unspoken-and tend to shy away interacting with people who live in this state. A big take-away here is to distinguish between forgiveness and trust. A good friend of mine used to say “release and remember”. You let go of the past-release-so that you can move into your future. However, you make a clear decision about where you will place your trust-remember-going forward.
*Persist without Exception
Every day we run into walls that seem to stop us in our tracks. We are out of time, money or control. Just experiencing one of these factors can cause us to pause and for many of us-give up. Andy shared that this is when we have to continue to look for another way. Successful people continue to explore opportunities when others cannot find a way. Ideas come in many forms but cannot come in when we are blocked. Ways to get unblocked include seeking out your most trusted friends for their ideas, putting the issue aside for a few days to gain perspective, or my personal favorite programming your subconscious to work for you while you sleep.
In developing conscious awareness of Andy’s seven decisions, we have an on-going benchmark to measure our progress and successes.
To Your Success!
- Andrews, A. (2002). The Traveler’s Gift. Nashville, TN: W Publishing.