I was hiking the other day when I started down a steep mountain trail. There were blue dots painted along the trail to mark the path. At one point, another trail ran parallel to mine. It looked like a shortcut. I hopped the rock ridge to take the shorter trail rationalizing my choice, “I don’t need the scenic route. I’ve exercised enough and I have plenty of work to do back home.”
Of course, the shorter trail took me around a ridge away from the trail I needed to get back to my car, adding at least 10 minutes to my hike. It was also rockier and not much fun.
I know from many life lessons that cutting corners never saves me time or money in the long run. Why do I keep doing this? What will it take for me to quit having to prove I am smarter than the signs, only to find out that I made a dumb choice?
I don’t like to do what other people have done. I like being the rebel, the pioneer, the adventurer, and the “one who knows.” When I act with these energies, sometimes I accomplish amazing things and have a good time. On other occasions, I make mistakes and a few enemies. If I look back, there were always logical signs, or red flags, that might have redirected me from the bad decisions. What will it take for me to heed these signs?
How about you…have you ever tried a shortcut or took a risk that a part of you knew would be a bad move? Why didn’t you heed the signs? How quickly did you rationalize your choice to make it right in the moment even though you knew it wasn’t?
I am practicing being aware of my choices and self-talk so I can ask myself, “Is this really the best choice or am I masterfully rationalizing my decision?”
This helps me pull my decision apart to see if I am making it based on the signs and facts in front of me or on an emotion that could be steering me in the wrong direction. Sometimes, the fear, curiosity, or sense of adventure is worth the risk. Other times, I’m just being silly.
Pay attention to your decisions today. What criteria are you using? Please share what you discover.