How to be Decisive Momentarily and Live a Different Life

My cat constantly decides - to eat.

What does it take to provoke active decision-making in our lives?  We go along to get along, don’t we?  It’s hard to change even if we want to.  Routine is comforting and useful, it’s handy when you need to know which way’s up.  But sometimes – more and more frequently these days, it seems – events occur – decisive events, fatally decisive events – that shake you up and out of your routine and running on automatic.  They can shake you into a decisive moment. 

I read a news story yesterday about a woman – a doctor from Sydney, Lynne Dowd – who was on holiday in South Africa when she was struck by lightning in a freak weather event and killed.  No warning, no second chance, no turning back.  Gone.  Just like that.

Just like the tsunami in Japan which destroyed and claimed so many lives.  Sometimes we notice these events – it’s hard not to notice something on the scale of the Japanese earthquake – but often we simply note them and continue on our routine way.

Why not note and decide to change, for a change?  Make a decision to do something differently – you never know, literally, when lightning might strike. 

Nobody wants to be like the woman on the lifeboat who, as the Titanic was sinking, said: If I’d known this was going to happen, I’d have had the dessert.  (Thanks to Erma Bombeck).

Try doing something little, small, teeny and see how it feels to challenge routine.  You may find that a delicious, satisfying dessert awaits.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Get off the bus, train, ferry, one stop early and notice what you pass on your mindful walk home
  • Drink coffee instead of tea
  • Drink tea instead of coffee
  • Drink chai instead of either of them
  • Take a book at random from your bookcase and read the first line of Chapter 1 out loud.  What does it do for you?  How do you feel?  Tell yourself out loud.
  • Spend a day without something you never go without – go on, indulge your Lenten urges – music, radio, TV, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, newspapers, books.  How much do you appreciate it?  Realised you don’t really need it? Hmm.

Go on, grasshopper, engage with a decisive moment and live a different life.  You know you want to…

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