Friday, May 21, 2010

When at a Cross-Road:

Making a choice is inevitable but you never know what your choice will mean until you have lived it. No one can help you choose, you have to search deep within and “follow your heart”. That has become a popular aphorism. However, the challenge still remains, how can we make a meaningful choice when at a crossroad? My simple reply is (just as I have always been told): Pray about it, ask God for wisdom and follow your heart. If your heart is saying nothing, take this practical exercise a colleague (Masoora/Trevor) shared with me recently:

Imagine you are at the point of dropping out of school or any other dilemma for that matter-

Step 1: Make a list with two columns, with the reasons for dropping out and the reasons for staying on.

Step 2: Score the different reasons (for instance, dropping out of school to support your family during a family financial crisis might be worth 3 points, while staying on to do a legitimate part-time job that won’t derail your academics in order to support yourself, might be worth 5 points).

Step 3: Make a second two-column list of reasons against dropping out and the reasons against staying on. Score them as well.

Step 4: Add up the points in favor of staying on, and subtract the points for reasons against staying on. Then do the same for reasons for and against dropping out of school.

Step 5: Figure out which option (staying on or dropping out) has more points. This is the "logical" course of action to take. (Call it option 1, the other Option 2.)

Step 6: Once you've identified option 1, decide whether you're happy with it or not. If you're happy with the decision, then go with it.

Step 7: If you're disappointed, or you feel like Option 2 should have had more points, or if the prospect of following through with Option 1 makes you very unhappy, then throw the stupid lists away and do choose Option 2.

Again, making a choice is inevitable but you never know what your choice will mean until you have lived it. As Robert Frost allude in his poem: “The road not taken”- "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth. Then took the other, just as fair... I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood and I-- I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference."

This article was first published on THE NATION:

Photo credit: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm

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