The ability to make a conscious decision is one of the things that separate human beings from animals. We make choices and decisions all the time and our lives are filled with them, consciously and unconsciously. Some are rational; some are made out of emotions such as love or fear. Some decisions we make in a blink of an eye, some take us longer as we need to ponder a bit before we decide. Making decisions is part of who we are.
How do we make decisions? The decisions we make can be small ones like switching lanes, what clothes to wear, deciding to get a cup of coffee or what kind of sandwich to eat. We also make bigger decisions with the potential to change our life such as deciding on an education, what kind of job to do or choosing a mate and having children.
We think we make all decisions by ourselves, consciously, but is this really so? How many of those decisions are actually being made by our subconscious mind without us, consciously, knowing why we make them? It will surprise you how many decisions are made this way. My estimate is that this is more than 90 percent for the average individual. That is a huge percentage. Can you imagine how much it will improve your life if you take charge and can lower this percentage by making more conscious decisions?
Let’s have a look at the kinds of choices and decisions we make. For the convenience of this article I divided them up into three categories:
- Fully aware and conscious decisions. We are not hindered by conditioning and are fully aware when we make choices and decisions. We use the information that is available to us, balance it, look at from all possible angles and listen to the signals our body is giving us through intuition or our gut feeling before we decide. We take full responsibility for each decision, knowing and feeling it was the right thing to do.
- Conscious but conditioned decisions – influenced by our subconscious mind. These decisions are colored, based on past experiences, fear, our culture, what our friends would like us to do, advertising and other sources. Our subconscious play a major part in our decision making progress as well. Often we think we have a choice, but the way our subconscious mind is “programmed” is actually determining the outcome of the decision. We are aware we take decisions, but not why we take them.
- Fully unconscious decisions. These are the decision we make while we are not really aware making them, and cannot explain why. This can be decisions made out of habit or generally doing something without thinking about the consequences for yourself and others. Most crimes are “planned” this way. It’s like switching on the TV, selecting a channel, and at the end of the evening not remembering which show we watched. This is auto pilot mode, fully unconscious. We give away the control over our lives and often blame others for the consequences.
Now I presented these categories to you I hope you will see that most of your, and the decisions made by others, will fall in category 2 or 3. This is the first step towards a more conscious way of living and taking decisions in your life. Now you are aware of this, you can decide to change. The goal is to make fully conscious decisions as much as possible. Knowing how and why you make decisions, fully conscious and aware, making the right choice, will enrich your life; by doing so you regain full control as you are the director of your life, you decide.
You can start by examining your own decision making process. Why do I take this decision? What are the pros and cons? Am I influenced by someone or something else? How do I feel? Remember, any decision is better than no decision at all. Make decisions that feel good. Decisions made out of fear are usually never good. Make decisions with your heart, feel what is right for you.
Be aware that no one is perfect. Nobody is making conscious decisions all the time. Even if we are fully conscious things may not work out the way we thought they would. Give yourself some credit. Circumstances may change and not all information was available at the time you thought you made the right choice. Know you did the right thing given the circumstances and the information that was available to you at the time you made the decision. Take charge by making conscious decisions.