Life is like a road. There are long and short roads; smooth and rocky roads; crooked and straight roads. In our life, we encounter many roads as we journey through life. There are roads that lead to a blessed life of marriage, and religious vocation. There are also roads that lead to fame and fortune on one hand or isolation and poverty on the other. There are roads to happiness and there are roads to sadness, roads towards victory and jubilation, and roads leading to defeat and disappointment.
Just like any road, there are corners, detours, and crossroads in life. Perhaps the most perplexing road that we encounter is a crossroad. With four roads to choose from and limited knowledge on where they lead, which road should we take? What is the guarantee that we will choose the right one along the way? Should we take just any road, or just stay where we are: at a crossroad?
There are no guarantees.
We do not really know where a road will lead us until we take it. There are no guarantees. This is one of the most important things we need to understand about life. Nobody said that always choosing to do the right thing will always lead to happiness. Loving someone with all your heart does not guarantee that love will be returned. Gaining fame and fortune does not guarantee happiness. There are too many possible outcomes in life, which we really cannot control. The only thing we have power over is the decisions that we make, and how we will respond and react to different situations.
Wrong decisions are only apparent in hindsight.
Had we known that we were making a wrong decision, would we have continued with it? Perhaps not, why would we choose a certain path when we knew it would get us lost? Why do we make certain decisions when we knew from the very beginning that they are not the right ones? It is really only after we have made a decision and reflected on it that we realise its soundness. If the consequences or outcomes are good, then we have decided correctly. Otherwise, it was wrong.
Take the risk: just decide.
Since life offers no guarantee and we will never know that our decisions are wrong until we have made them, then we must take a risk and make a choice. It is better than keeping ourselves in limbo. Although it is true that one wrong turn could get you lost, it could also be that such a turn could be an opportunity for a wonderful adventure. It is all a matter of perspective. We have the choice between being a lost traveller, or an accidental tourist. But we must be careful not make decisions recklessly. Taking risks is not about being careless and stupid. Here are some pointers that could help you choose the best option in the face of life’s crossroads:
Get as much information as you can about your situation.
We cannot find the confidence to decide when we know so little about what we are faced with, so ask the 5 W’s: what, who, when, where, and why.
- What is the situation?
- Who are the people involved?
- When did this happen?
- Where is this leading?
- Why are you in this situation?
These are just some of the possible questions to ask to know more about your situation. This is important. Oftentimes, the reason for indecision is the lack of information about a situation.
Identify and create options.
What options do the situation give you? Sometimes the options are few, but sometimes they are numerous. But what do you do when you think that the situation offers no options? This is the time that you create your own. Make your creative mind work. From the most simplistic to the most complicated, entertain all ideas. Do not dismiss anything down when an idea comes to you. Sometimes the most outrageous idea could prove to be the right one in the end. You can ask a friend to help you identify options and even make more options if you encounter some difficulty, but make sure that you make the decision yourself in the end.
Weigh the pros and cons of every option.
Assess each option by looking at the advantages and disadvantages it offers you. In this way, you gain more insight about the consequences of such an option.
Trust yourself and make that decision.
Now that you have assessed your options, it is now time to trust yourself. Remember that there are no guarantees and wrong decisions are only ever apparent in hindsight. So choose… decide… believe that you are choosing the best option at this point in time.
Now that you have made a decision, be ready to face the consequences: good and bad. It may take you to a place of promise or to a land of problems. But the important thing is that you have chosen to live your life instead of remaining a bystander or a passive watcher of your own life. Whether it is the right decision or not, only time will tell. But do not regret it whatever the outcome. Instead, learn from it and remember that you always have the chance to make better decisions in the future.