Most people feel terrible when a decision they make does not produce the outcome they expected. But can we be driven by the whims and fancies of a consequence? Can we not live life without the worry and fretting of what happened and what could have happened?
The Danish theologian and philosopher, Søren Aabye Kierkegaard once quoted:
“Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.”
The decision-making process is a tricky conundrum if looked at from the base level. We want something or pursue a goal but the journey demands many unanticipated decisions. Some tough calls, some ignorant questions, and several unanswered questions. At the end of the day, all you want is to get a good night’s sleep without the need to regret a decision.
While one cannot eliminate the sense of regret, one can work toward reducing the chances of regret.
The Probability of Regret: Taking it down a notch
The best way to make sure that you experience less regret in your life is by making the right decisions. When it comes to making decisions, there are two factors that you must identify wisely. Feeling versus Knowing!
It is important to differentiate between what you feel to be right versus what you know to be right. For instance, you want to become a pilot because you’ve been told that if you do then you start with a higher income than most professionals just starting in other fields. So, you feel pulled toward the thought of earning more and having to be in a high position in the airline industry. So, does this mean that you should become a pilot?
Here’s when you don’t only need to differentiate between feeling and knowing, but must also transcend from feeling to knowing. This is because once you develop an interest, pursuing it depends on how far you want to go.
So, let’s say being a pilot is amazing, no doubt. However, what does it take to join the aviation industry? You have to learn to fly a plane and complete a set number of hours because you can qualify to apply for a job as a co-pilot. You must also learn everything about the physics of the plane, all the controls, etc. Of course, the training and tuition fee is also a major factor to consider.
What is happening here? You are collating data and crucial information to understand your chances of becoming a successful pilot. In the process, you may also start to meet seasoned pilots or join a forum that discusses the lifespan of this profession. There are many pros and cons that you enlist until you can decide as to whether this profession is something you would like to pursue.
Once you have all the details with you, including your natural tendencies and interests, knowing your decision becomes easier.
In this way, you feel like you will regret your career decision in the future whether or not you decide to be a pilot.
Ascending to a higher plane: The Ground of Neutrality
Decisions are either made or not made based on mainly two factors: Terror and Temptation.
Terror is when you fear the unknown, which pushes you away from making a decision or making one at all. “What if I fail in this and so completely regret my decision?”
Temptation is when you are pulled toward deciding in haste without considering all the facts. “Let’s just do it. What’s the point in waiting?”
However, decisions made in this way are more likely to end up in extreme regret. Not considering all the facts or at least most of them can spiral you into failure in the outcome.
This is where achieving a Ground of Neutrality is necessary. The concept of neutrality is to go into neutral gear. Let’s say, you are driving a car and you have to halt at the signal while you are in gear 4. So, you bring it down to gear 2… gear 1, and then you stop. After this, you change your gear to neutral, and this way the car is safely halted at the traffic signal until you pass the green signal. This is how it is with decision-making or even responding to anything for that matter.
Anything you say, do, or decide should be done objectively in the neutral mode. Deciding while you are angry, stressed, or extremely emotional can push you to take a regrettable action. Take this advice seriously as though you would associate it with a suspect being arrested. For instance, a law enforcement officer gives a Miranda Warning to a suspect or miscreant while handcuffing him or her, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”.
When a suspect or criminal is Mirandized, they’re warned to be silent and not say anything that might incriminate them. Therefore, they remain silent until they have a lawyer or other arrangements.
Much in the same way, you must hold your calm and not get too emotional about any situation. Remember to hold your ground of neutrality, remove the biases of terror and temptation, and then decide or respond.
To train and become this kind of person, you must enhance your Spiritual Quotient or SiQ. A high SiQ can help a person attain the Ground of Neutrality and remove any biases of terror or temptation. This ability is what will differentiate a leader from a legend.