What follows is a list of questions that will help you to
gain clarity on deciding whether or not to take a certain course of action.
Such a decision could be whether to continue
something you’re already doing, such as a certain relationship, project, or
hobby; or, it could be whether to start such
For example, your decision may be along the lines of, Should I take this job? Or, similarly, Should I continue this job, or quit?
The questions are in bold. Underneath each question is an explanation of what the question means.
Note that there are no right or wrong answers here. The point is to answer the questions truthfully. After all, you are the one making the decision here. From there, it’s up to you to take those answers into account when making your decision.
What am I doing this for?
Are you trying to produce a certain outcome? Or are you more concerned with the actions you take and experiences you have than with producing a particular result?
What result do you intend to produce? Money in the bank? Your face on television? Smiles on people’s faces?
If you’re trying to produce a certain result, is this the ideal means of producing this result? Do you really have to take this path in order to produce the result? If not, why are you going about in this manner? In that case, I’d bet there is a better way to produce the result. Why don’t you find, come up with, or hold out for a better way?
On the other hand, if your main concern is the experience and the action, keep reading.
Is there any growth in this endeavor?
Is this challenging you? Are you dropping dysfunctional and disempowering ideas as a result of this? Are you becoming more self-aware? What are you learning through doing this? What are you improving upon?
If you center your life around growth like I do, and there is no growth involved in the endeavor in consideration, you might as well decide not to do it.
On the other hand, if you care about growth at all (which you probably do, if you’re on this website) but don’t center your life around it, and this endeavor doesn’t produce growth in you, it might still be worthwhile as long as there are other growth-related activities in your life.
Does this inspire me to be my best?
Do you genuinely care about doing a good job? Do you feel called to be the highest version of yourself you can conceive of? Does success in this endeavor require that you be your highest self? Does doing this lead you to embody the qualities you most value and aspire to?
Or are you just trying to get something done and scrape by?
Does this produce an enjoyable experience?
Are you having fun? Are you in a flow state? Do you feel fantastically fabulous? Do you like doing what you’re doing? Would you like to do what you’re considering doing?
You know the answer.
Does this improve my experience of life?
Similar to the previous question, though it applies to a longer time-span.
For instance, you might find that exercising not only produces an enjoyable experience while you’re doing it, but it also improves your experience of life even when you’re not exercising. Perhaps it helps you to be more clear-minded, energetic, and free of fear. In that case, the answer to this question is, “Yes!”
On the other hand, if the thing you’re doing causes you to feel worse even when you’re not doing it, the answer is absolutely No. Eating junk food is a likely candidate for degrading your overall experience of life.
What is my highest truth about this?
What idea do you have about the situation at hand that most resonates with you—the thought that empowers and inspires you? Don’t get caught up in logic or “shoulds” here. This is about your highest truth.
Some of my highest truths about life in general include the following: we are all one; we already have within us and are everything we could possibly need and want; there is enough of what we think we need to succeed and survive; and the purpose of life is to experience and express our highest idea about who we really are, and fulfilling this purpose entails the expansion of consciousness (i.e. personal growth).
I can apply these truths when I make decisions, to ensure that that decision is in line with my clearest understanding of reality. Otherwise, the decision is bound to lead to dysfunctionality.
What state of being do I seek to attain through this?
All desires can be traced back to a desire to experience a certain state of being. The desire to have a romantic relationship is really a desire to experience a state of love. Money is about the experience of gratitude. Food is (ideally) about the experience of energy and health.
You have the ability to create any state of being for yourself at any time, at will. Knowing that, do you still want to do what you’re considering doing? Maybe you don’t really need the thing you think you need.
What are the long-term implications of this?
Will this decision still matter two years from now, no matter what I decide? Will this decision still actively influence my life two years from now? Two years from now, would I more likely regret doing this or not doing this? Does this course of action have the potential to produce some sort of benefit or value two years from now?
The time-frame doesn’t have to be two years: it could be much longer, even beyond your own lifespan. If a course of action is more likely to hurt than help you in the long run, well, you might not want to take that course of action.
If you’re deciding whether to continue a certain endeavor or activity, ask, Would I still want to be doing this two years from now? If the premise of continuing with the endeavor for that length of time makes you feel trapped or dreadful, that’s a hint and a half that you ought to get off the path.
Does this excite me right now?
Not a question for the logical mind. When you ask this question, just let your feelings be as they are. Don’t try to interpret, judge, or distort them. It will take very little time to come to the answer.
If you feel that you now have enough clarity to decide, go ahead and do it. Too much analyzing can do more harm than good by injecting you with unnecessary self-doubt and confusion. Additionally, further delay may cause you to miss opportunities that can help you in starting, stopping, or continuing whatever it is you are deciding on.
On the other hand, sometimes you have to simply take action and start on a certain path before you can tell whether you’d like to continue. If you’re thinking about leaving a partner, this would entail talking to them about it and potentially taking a break from each other for a while. If you’re considering taking a certain job, at least talk to someone involved for more details and/or send in an application. If at any point in the application process you’re clear that you don’t want to go further, then stop. Otherwise, take the job and try it out for at least a week. Then you’ll have more clarity about whether to continue.
Sometimes I’ll write the first few words, sentences, or even paragraphs of a blog article, and then decide not to finish it. The process of making that decision is usually very quick—I can tell that it just feels off. Still, the questions listed above do apply to that decision. Maybe I did it just out of self-imposed pressure to put content on this website, and I’d rather not write for that reason. Maybe I did it to express anger or to make a point that really doesn’t need to be made. Maybe I sense that I wouldn’t grow through writing the article. Maybe I don’t feel inspired by the article, or I don’t care about genuinely expressing myself or doing a good job.
All of those are good reasons to decide to not finish an article I’ve begun. Usually when I “quit” on an article like this, the time elapsed from the moment I start writing to the moment I stop is usually 2-10 minutes. So it’s not a big deal.
However, if I hadn’t started on that article at all, I would keep wondering about it. I’d say, Man, I really should write about that topic. I’d just keep going on and on about it with myself. I might regret not doing it. I would say, I wonder what could have been…
Truthfully I don’t get that emotional about blog articles, but you get the point. As long as I don’t do something that I’m considering doing, it will remain, in my mind, a valid option. On the other hand, if I start on the path and ultimately decide that it’s not for me, then that option is an option no longer, and I can move on.
This is why it’s important to tell someone when you’re attracted to them—if not for their sake, at least for your own. As long as you hide you’ll keep your sights on that person, and keep wondering and wondering about what could be…
On the other hand, if you just tell them how you feel and find out how they feel, you’ll know whether you can continue on this path or close the door behind you and move on.
So, go ahead and decide. If you end up choosing something new for yourself (which you will be, if you don’t decide to continue whatever it is you’re doing), at least start on the path. While you’re there, keep the above decision-making questions in mind. As long as you remain truthful with yourself and everyone involved, you’ll know soon enough whether this path is part of the larger path that is your life, or whether you can close the door behind you.
Read Related Articles: