I heard that Mark Zuckerberg and other big tech leaders wear the same outfits every day to help protect themselves from what is known as “decision exhaustion” Basically they encounter so many decisions that they make in a given day that the process weighs heavily on their brains, lessening the quality of their decisions as the number of times that they make choices grows. Therefore, it makes sense to set up ahead of time easy choices such as what to wear in order to decrease the amount of decisions one needs to make in a day.
Never before in the history of humanity has the average individual held so many options for their daily and life pursuits. From what to wear to what to eat to who to date or marry to what to spend one’s money on, we have so many more choices than we did in the past. Furthermore, the numerous career opportunities that are available to the average person today are much greater than what was available to the average person in history.
At 18 years old I began my first Freshman year with absolutely no clue what I was doing with my life. I showed up the first day on campus with a handle of Tequila to “make friends”, which revealed the true nature of my five year plan to simply “have fun”. I do not remember my first decided major, but I do remember switching it to nursing after I noticed how many pretty girls I talked to that were in that program.
Unlike many others who are much wiser at that age, I did not take my decisions seriously. I treated my life decisions like most treat their daily food or outfit choices. Furthermore, I think it’s important to say that my choices at 18 lead me through a lot of pain and suffering that was unnecessary. The life I was living only felt good, but in no way did it benefit me.
Despite going through the pain and suffering that my poor choices lead me, I was able to make some good choices that brought me out of that pit and into the glorious life that Jesus offers. I have never regretted leaving that pit. Not once.
So far we have a lot to digest here. We have seen that we can be exhausted by too many decisions, but we have to make a lot of them, some decisions are more important than others, and some can bring us pain while others bring us peace. When we look at our lives in such a complex manner, it is easy to be overwhelmed and feel anxious. What are we supposed to do?
Obviously everyone wants peace from their decisions as the underlying motivation for everything we do is to be happy. The ideal compass in making decisions then should be “what makes me happy”. Unfortunately, this might be just as confusing as deciding between two different flavors of ice cream. They are both good, but different. Furthermore, some things appear to make us happy but, like most of my pursuits at 18, leave us empty and sad.
So the question then is, “What are we supposed to do?” How do we navigate the options and decisions of life? How do we handle surprise situations that were not on our game plan? Below, I have three principles for you to consider to use as instruments in your decision making to ensure that you are heading in the right direction toward true peace and happiness.
Principle 1: Do not do evil to do good. Much like trying to go south by going north, this really can’t be done. Any evil action renders the activity as bad. Ask any fan of football. Even if the entire play is flawless and results in a touchdown, if your offensive line was holding, the who play results in a penalty and gets called back. So even if you plan on giving all of the money to the poor, robbing a bank is still wrong.
Principle 2: Treat every human being with love. Regardless of their politics, religion, thoughts on current events, every human being deserves to be treated with respect, dignity, and love. This doesn’t mean we have to like them or agree with them, but in every situation each person should be treated as a human ought. Not as a merely a means to make money, not as an object of sexual pleasure, not as an obstacle to feeling comfortable, but as someone to treat well.
Principle 3: Think. While people are imperfect and some trains of thought can lead us down the wrong road, I believe that if we as humans think more, it can be beneficial to our decision process. In a time when we are constantly distracted, it can be hard to make good decisions. We should strive to think things through. Mentally, let’s start following our thoughts to their logical conclusions. If we do this more (and yes I need to do this more too), I believe that we will make better decisions and see many of our problems lessen in gravity or even disappear.
Like I said in principle three, no one is perfect, but if we utilize these three principles in our decision making process we will make better decisions. We will cultivate a life of peace because we will be satisfied with our decisions. Finally, by following these three principles we will attain the happiness that we seek.