Making life-changing decisions

Wherever you are in life, several major decisions have been made to get you here. Those decisions may have been good or bad, and may or may not have been made by you.

As a child, your parents made all the decisions that affected your life – your neighbourhood, school, diet, religion, clothes, extra-curricula activities and, possibly, friends. These choices would have shaped, not just your early life, but the person you have become. In addition to all of this, their attitudes would have rubbed off on you too, affecting your inclination towards prosperity, conflict resolution and empathy, amongst others.

Later on, you may have weighed in on the choice of your university or career path, depending on how liberal your parents were. Until, finally, you began to make your own decisions – taking a job, starting a business, buying a house or car, dating and marriage. Now you’re in the realm of joint decisions – children, a different house or car, travel and finances. So far, so good.

However, what happens when you want to change your life? What do you do, when you realise that you are nowhere close to where you expected to be at this stage? Maybe you haven’t quite scaled the heights in your career, made millions of dollars in business or found the ideal life partner you’ve been dreaming of. What decisions did you make that led to this point and what can you do to change your future?

I faced this juncture recently and had to confront my disappointments. After years of life going to plan, reaching goal after goal, I had encountered a number of setbacks. If this has happened to you and your first response is to blame someone else – don’t. I knew that it was all about decisions I had made, consciously or unconsciously, that had created my results. After a lot of soul-searching over a period of several months, I made some significant decisions that will alter the trajectory of my life completely.

However, there was more. My introspection had uncovered something deeper and potentially more damaging than poor decision-making or procrastination – it revealed subconscious programming from childhood that had affected my attitude towards being wealthy. It explained why I would reach a certain level of success and somehow manage to self-sabotage, even if it was simply through inaction. Unconsciously, I had put limits on myself and the size of my dreams.

If this has happened to you, know that your family was either trying to protect you from life’s disappointments or they were not aware that their negative comments would affect your psyche. It’s up to you to take responsibility for your life and to repair the damage yourself. There are countless personal development books that can help you to reprogram your mind and move you towards unlimited prosperity.

Luckily, it’s never too late to make life-changing decisions and I’ve made a few that will move me towards dreams, previously deferred, that used to scare me. It has taken many nights of study until the wee hours and many hours of meditation to get there, but things are finally falling into place. Quite a few people around me are on similar journeys, so we support and encourage each other, cheering for each breakthrough and success.

There’s no neat conclusion to this post – it’s part of a journey that I will continue to document. If you identify with this story, please drop a few lines in the comment section below – I would love to hear from you.

“The key to accepting responsibility for your life is to accept the fact that your choices, every one of them, are leading you inexorably to either success or failure, however you define those terms.” —Neal Boortz

“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision.” —Tony Robbins

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” —Keri Russell

16 thoughts on “Making life-changing decisions

  1. Mi son, trust you to come of with thought-provoking ideas, with truths which sometimes escape us….truths that force us to really look at ourselves, our lives. Personally I think about myself being at the advanced age of 80+ years. How far ahead should I really be planning? How much future is practical to consider? Ought I to just kind of wait it out? hold strain? dig in where I am for the duration? Oh no, I’m still trying to see round corners even while loving, sharing, laughing, creating and yes making decisions and not just short term either. Thanks Michael. Love and blessings to you as you refocus and reset your sights toward that dream….always forward. Take care….

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    1. This is a really different perspective and one I can appreciate. Here’s how I think about it. At over 80 years old, it’s safe to assume that one is closer to the end than the beginning but you could have another 10 or 20 years left. Apart from some major infrastructural projects, almost anything these days can be accomplished in 5 years or less. On the flip side, I just lost a friend at 53 years old – he was wealthy and fit, had retired in his forties and had become a classical guitarist, motivational speaker and martial artist. Also, I lost a nephew in his early thirties – he had survived two tours of Iraq but died in a motor accident in Houston. Life is unpredictable, so you have to do as much as you can with the time you are given.

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      1. Somehow true Michael. Life at 80+ and still looking at many years ahead seem the best option for me irrespective of whether the time you have left is long or short. We must continually plan believing that the sincerity of our projects buy us more time to fulfil them.

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  2. Funny this should be your topic this week. I am at that juncture in my life and recently finished my introspection. It is all about soaring to new heights now…..

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  3. Great perspective as always Michael…we are all at crossroads almost every day when we need to make important decisions that will impact not only our lives but others.
    We only hope we make the best ones. What do I know? That i have to make the decisions that are right for me. Life is short. My intention is to dance like no one is watching…. just want to make sure I have on my dancing shoes 🙂

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    1. Hi Charmaine, you know this area too well! One of the best decisions one can make is who to let go and who to remain friends with. This is one part of my life that I’ve navigated carefully and successfully. xxx

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  4. Remember the discussion I had with you about taking charge of my life, making a decision instead of “wishes”.

    I did work on my psyche, took decisive steps that led to a major breakthrough in my life and career, exactly the way I decided it should be.

    This post just revealed the root cause of my previous struggle and I will share it to everyone I know.

    Thank you so much Michael for helping me then and now.

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    1. Peace, I’m so happy to hear this! Just remember that the battle with the mind is a daily one – you must remain vigilant, lest the doubts and fears creep back in. There are new levels for you to rise to, so keep going.

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  5. Well said and thought provoking as always.But here is a thought..What if it is not all about you. I for example need to consider others whose lives exist and are where they are because of decisions I made.Is it fair to chase a dream now leaving them short??

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    1. David, this is a great question. In the end, it comes down to what you value most. Sometimes, we make compromises that we can live with or because joint happiness is more important than our selfish desires. At other times, our consideration for others makes us unhappy or comes at great personal cost. That’s when you have to decide what’s most important to you – their happiness or yours. If only adults are involved, remember that it is not your responsibility to make others happy; that’s up to each individual.

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  6. Mr Williams, this is epic! I can remember all that happened to me as an adolescent, I mean a very negative decision by my parents but I took a stand and changed it otherwise today life would’ve hell for me. your post always educating

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    1. Hi Udeme, I’m so glad you found this useful. Your stand was important because I know so many young Nigerians who make decisions to please their parents, especially when it comes to education and career choices. Often, this leads to their own unhappiness and lack of success. The fortunate ones realise that no choice has to be permanent and they go on to make decisions that take their lives in a more suitable direction. Kudos to you.

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  7. This “Decision” mantra is truly the sum total of our individual and collective contribution to life in general. As am now more aware that with or without my consent I have always made decisions…..my fear is were those decisions have left me. I shall ponder more on this soul searching and fascinating piece. Thank You Mike……Thank You Sire!

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