Wednesday, August 13, 2008

YSA Summit 3 - Deciding to Decide 2/4

How can I make better decisions?

Decision Principles

1. Answer: what do I want? If we don’t know “what is wanted” (which is the critical question), the Lord doesn’t know how to interact with us. Will the Lord support our righteous desires? Yes. And how do we determine what we want? By answering two questions: What is easy, energizing, and enjoyable for me? And, “What if I were guaranteed success? Then what would I want?”

2. Get real. Our aspirations should be within the limits of our resources. Here he gave an example of how he wanted to be a pro basketball player, and tried playing for his school but quickly learned that he was just too short and not any good at basketball. (It’s wonderful to have aspirations, but it’s dangerous to have aspirations that exceed our capabilities.) How do we get real? Try it. If it doesn’t work, let it go. If you have conflicting goals, put yourself in a position to do both. (Someone asked about wanting to be a mother, or if she didn’t get married, she wanted to be a doctor.) We need to make sure that our aspirations are real, or we will just face repeated disappointment.

3. Chunk. Turn a long term aspiration into today’s goal. Make choices that are within your control. (On some other tangent, he said everything has a price. Luke – “Before you build a tower count the cost.”) There are four steps to this. 1. Think big. 2. Test small. (You want to be a doctor, take a Bio class.) 3. Fail fast. (It’s okay to fail. Rejoice in rejection because you were doing the right thing.) His example for this was, he briefly thought he wanted to be an accountant, but he took an accounting class and learned that he hated accounting. And that was fine! Because he realized it wasn’t the right thing and moved on. 4. Learn always.

4. Let go and begin anew. (Identify that I can be evolved.) When you let go and begin anew, you need to 1. Disidentify. The identity you HAD is not the identity you WILL have. 2. Disengage. Don’t call the same people. 3. Accept that you’re disoriented. 4. Accept that you may be a little disenchanted. There are two things that you take from any transition: 1. Knowledge from our experience, and 2. Relationships. We should nurture good relationships.

5. Prioritize. NOT everything worth doing is worth doing well. There have been whole studies about this, and it’s called satisfice. Some things are so important to do that they’re worth doing poorly. There are a lot of things that are worth doing well. There are a lot of things that aren’t. Do them anyway. (He told us a story of when he was getting his….doctorate? Masters? I don’t remember. But he told us things were different back then. He said he went to his dean because he was going to have to take some class that had absolutely nothing to do with what he was actually studying. He told his dean he didn’t want to take it. His dean said, “Well, you have to. It’s required.” And he asked, “Do I have to pass it?” And the dean said nobody had ever asked him that! And so that meant no, and he went to the first day of the class and told the teacher that he had nothing against him (he didn’t even know him), but that he would not be attending any more classes, and that he planned to fail the class. He got 3 F’s as part of the degree, and graduated with the lowest GPA of anyone doing his program, with like a 3.18 or something. He said though, he’s as proud of those 3 F’s as he is as he is of all of his A’s. Because those 3 F’s meant that he prioritized correctly; in the same time he also published a book and wrote articles, etc, which was far more valuable and relevant to him than classes that someone had arbitrarily decided that he should take.) Learn the things that are important.

6. Reflect, repent, and renew. A big predictor of the success of a leader – is whether or not they can LEARN (their “learning agility”). We have weaknesses that we need to learn from and sins that we need to repent of. Sometimes we mix these up.

7. Make mature choices. (Your decisions will not always be right or wrong; have them be the best that you can do.) It’s not either/or. Almost every choice has trade offs. What am I willing to trade? When we goof, begin anew. How do we make mature choices? Envision. Anticipate. Know your strengths (the things that are easy, energizing, and enjoyable for you). Also, enjoy the process. (Don’t play the “if only” game. Because when we play the “if only” game, we never win.)

8. Seek spiritual guidance. Will the Lord bless us as we make decisions? Yes. We feel the Spirit in different ways. He wanted us to list at least eight, and the ones our group came up with were: - through the scriptures, - prayer, - attending church, - attending the temple, - through service, - being still (anywhere) (If you’re ever on an airplane and you don’t want the people next to you to talk to you, he said, take out your Book of Mormon or Bible and start reading. That always works. Or if it doesn’t, start humming as you’re reading. Then they never bother you. He flies at least six times per week to teach at the University of Michigan.), – music, - bearing testimony (sometimes bearing testimony by deed), - teaching, – writing/journaling, - spending time with friends/family. Whatever language of the Spirit, let him participate in your decision making. God will answer our prayers in a way that we understand.

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