“I am always wary of decisions made hastily. I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind if I have to make a decision. This is usually the wrong thing. I have to wait and assess, looking deep into myself, taking the necessary time.” Pope Francis (lifted from Wm Britton, Wisdom from the Margins)
I think it’s kind of like responding to a nasty email. My initial response is often not my best response.
I have discovered two character qualities that help me when making important decisions: patience and self-reflection. Wait… and ponder.
Waiting as an Intention
Unfortunately, patience and self-reflection are not typically our first response. They are learned behaviors that come with time, experience, and eventually wisdom. One thing has helped me be more patient and reflective, and that is, I have become more intentional about waiting and pondering.
As Pope Francis said, “I have to wait and assess, looking deep into myself, taking the necessary time.” It seems that waiting and reflecting require a conscious choice. Before I even attempt to respond I need to choose to “take time to look deep into myself.”
The Ineffectiveness of Rushing a Decision
We seem to live as if we are taking some kind of “emergency pill” to help us keep up with issues and questions. I have a natural discomfort when someone tells me, “I need an answer right now.” It’s like the process of buying a car. Yikes!
Thoughtful responses to questions and problems require… thought! And thought requires time: sometimes to research and sometimes just to consider options. One thing for sure: It is essential to get off the emotional roller coaster. As long as my emotions are running the control center, I will respond neither kindly nor effectively. And, emotions are most commonly the problem, like when we are offended, embarrassed, or wrongfully accused (or even correctly accused). Our emotions take over and nothing but ugly emerges.
Ultimate Decisions Can Wait
Truthfully, genuine emergencies are very rare. Very few decisions are hampered by waiting a day to think it over. In fact, it is in the process of waiting that one may discover new information and one certainly has greater clarity on how to proceed.
Wait and Reflect
Photo courtesy of denisgo at istockphoto