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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Time is the essence : Take quick decisions

Many times in life, we are afraid of taking a decision for the fear of taking a wrong one. But here is the fact. No decision is right or wrong, as long as you decide within a reasonable time frame. On the other hand, a delayed decision leaves you mostly on the losing side - because more than the value of your decision, you lose the most important ingredient, which is Time
Here is what my daughter learnt last week...Read on...

"Dad, I am not sure whether I should join this course?"

"Make an objective decision. Look at the pros and cons, and decide." I advised. "Is there way way I can help you?"

"I mean, this course is in addition to my school studies - which would mean extra burden on me, and probably an impact on my excellent performance in school. But this course also gives me an edge for IIT preparation later...So, I am not sure what is the right thing to do." 
Her concern was valid. It was decision time.

"Sleep over it tonight, and take a call tomorrow morning." I advised yet again, thinking the problem to be simple enough.

And the next morning.....

"I am still disturbed Dad, I cannot decide. I dont want to lag in school studies and I dont want to miss this course either."

Inability to take a decision in our day to day life is one of the major reasons for happiness leakage. My lovely innocent daughter remained disturbed for many days. She was not ready to let go the advantage she was likely to get from joining the course. At the same time, she was worried that her top status in school might get challenged as her focus would be diverted to this new course. 
This paradox continued for many days.

Seeing a sullen face, I approached her once again, 
"What happened dear? Can I help you in any way?"

"The same thing Dad, I don't know what is the right decision for me."

"OK, let me share a story with you. Maybe this will help you get the right perspective. The decision will still be yours to take."

"OK Dad"

"Once, there was a person travelling by ship on a pretty long journey. Unfortunately, during the middle of the journey, the ship suffered a setback and hit something below the water surface. Very soon, it started to sink. The person got worried and started seeking help desperately. He used SOS, air shots, radio calls and everything that he could possibly do. Nothing materialised. Now, the ship was about to sink, and he was counting his last few moments. He remembered his family, and then he remembered GOD. He thought of asking God's help as a last resort.
And HE did help. As his ship was about to completely sink, he saw two mini boats (one mini boat can carry only 1-2 people) very near to his sinking ship. He grabbed the opportunity, immediately jumped in the water and swam towards those two boats. This was a real blessing, he thought. 
God gave him not one but two boats. He thanked God, and took control of those 2 boats. 
Since he did not have any ropes or other equipment with him, the only way he thought logical to control both the boats was to have one leg in each of them and sail them together.
Now, when he gave a closer look at the boats, he realised that they were not in a very good condition. One of them was rusted and had some water leaking in. The other one had a broken front. He realised that none of them would last long enough, and he immediately needed to do some repair work to make it to the shore.
In the middle of the sea, with 2 boats - one leg in each, he was thinking whether he should let one boat go. It was difficult to manage both the boats, but it was also important to have both with him - just in case one sinks or deteriorates in condition before he reaches to safety. 
On the other hand, it was becoming almost impossible for him to keep afloat with one foot in each of the boats. The tides were getting higher by the time. It was becoming difficult for him to balance himself with a feet in each boat. Can he let one of them go? But it could just turn out that the one he keeps may drown rather than the one he leaves. That was a big risk to his life. He was unable to take a decision.
He was not sure which one to leave. He kept thinking, till a big tide came and swept away the two boats, and since he was not perfectly balanced in an attempt to control both the boats, he fell right in the cold chilly water with both boats quite far from him now. He made an attempt to swim towards one of them, but could not. The chilly water took its toll, he felt unconscious and finally drowned."

"Ah !! That is a sad ending to the story Dad, but what does it tell us?"

"Many things....
1) He should have taken a decision to select one of the two boats and let the other one go. Keeping both the boats is equivalent to having none - and that's what actually happened in the end.
2) Taking no decision is also a decision that we take unconsciously - a decision with a high probability of a disastrous result.
3) Time is the essence. There is no right or wrong decision. If he had picked one boat within reasonable time frame, he could have perhaps been saved.

So, you can't have the cake and eat it too. You need to learn to give up one thing to take the other. There will always be pros and cons of every decision. There will always be situations where you would be unsure, but in all such cases, remember that time is the essence. The more time you lose, the poorer is your decision."

"Hmmm... Interesting interpretation Dad."

Inspired by the story, my daughter did finally take a decision, though she was unsure whether it was right or not. She decided to go ahead with the course in parallel to her school studies. Now that she had taken a decision, she needed to learn one more lesson.

"So, the story does not end here darling. Let us imagine that the person in the sea was able to take the decision to let go one boat. Now, he had only one boat. Risks were higher. There were obvious issues with the selected boat that needed immediate fix. But he continued to think whether he took the right decision or not. He was still confused as to whether the other boat would have been a better bet. It seemed too much work in this boat. Time was the essence again. He lost out yet again, and the boat which he was in, started to deteriorate in condition. Finally, he drowned along with the boat. Just before he drowned he thought to himself that perhaps his decision to chose this boat was wrong. May be, the other boat could have been a better bet. Really?"

"What has this part of the story to do with us Dad?"

"It has everything to do with us dear. Now that you have decided to join the course, you have to forget that there ever was a choice. The more time you waste in thinking about whether your decision was right or wrong, the worse are the consequences. You now got to stay focused on how to make your decision come out perfect, how to plan things in context of the decision that you have already taken. If the person in the sea had focused on repairing the boat that he decided to keep or thought of how to stay afloat in that boat, the end result may have been much better. Again, time was the essence."

"I got it Dad. What this tells me is that I need to make a plan of how am I going to justify my decision that I have taken. I must get into the details and make this decision work for me now, Right?"

"Bang on dear...That's the key. Decide Quickly, Time is the essence. Then make your decision work for you. Time is the essence yet again. In fact time is the only currency that makes sense in this world. I know people who stay on the borderline of taking a decision for years and decades together. They are losing out in search of the right decision. I am sure you are not."


The book Happiness Unlimited shows you many such lessons to lead a happier, contented life.

Cheers



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