Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why We Do What We Do!

On any given day we make hundreds of decisions.  It actually begins before we get out of bed.  As we make our way through the day some decisions will be rote, routine.  Other decisions, while important, will not be life changing.  And of course there are those truly critical decisions that can change the course of our lives forever. 

Have you ever given much thought as to WHY we do what we do?  Well, I have.  While I am NOT a physiologists, scientist or expert of any kind on the subject, I do have some thoughts.  (You are shocked, right?) 
I believe that we make decisions using three criteria.  First, personal preference….whether WE like something or not.  This factor comes in handy when trying to decide what to eat, or wear, or what movie to see.  However, personal preference is not always the best tool to use for every decision.   Sometimes the most difficult thing to understand is how someone would NOT love what we love!

Just because we love something does not mean that everyone else will.  Such a simple concept and yet we all struggle with it.  How many of us have enrolled our children into something they did not want to do because it sounded great to us?  We are convinced that once they try it they will like it…but did they?  Just ask my girls about Girl Scouts.  I loved it!  They hated it!  Go figure!

The next criteria is our belief system, our personal views.  As a Christian I have a clearly defined set of rights and wrongs that guide me in my decision making process.  However, II Tim 2:15 reminds us that we must “rightly divide the word of truth.”  As our understanding of scripture increases our view of right and wrong may also change. 

Take women’s clothing for example.  There was a time that a woman without a hat was considered scandalous! How many hats did you see this Sunday?  Pants were also an issue.  Just a few years ago women were strictly forbidden to wear pants to church.  Today jeans are seen on many church pews.  What once was considered morally wrong in the 1950’s seemed silly in the 1990’s and beyond.  What’s my point? 

While the Bible never changes, our understanding and beliefs may change.  Realizing that we are all on a growth journey may allow us to have better peace with our own decisions and those of others.  Of course I am not referring to the core beliefs, but those some refer to as “matters of opinion.” 

The last criteria in our decision making process is what I believe to be the most critical; information.  How many of us have made a decision only to look back with regret and think…if I had only known that!  While we laugh as the man on the commercial slaps his forehead and proclaims, “I could’a had a V8!” it’s not nearly as funny when it happens to us. 

Have you ever voted for a politician purely based on commercials?  Made a major purchase solely based on the salesperson’s eloquent pitch?  Bought food at the grocery because the box made wonderful claims you later learned were marketing hype?  Assumed that something was going to happen just because “it always has” and then it didn’t?  Have you ever made a snap judgment on emotions, not facts?  I think we all have.  But I believe that taking that extra effort to do the research can make the difference between long term regret and soaring success. 

I began by asking if you had ever given any though as to why we do what we do.  It wasn’t a mere conversation starter.  I believe that understanding why we make the decisions that we do can greatly increase our ability to make good ones. 

So, let’s give it a try.  You have a decision to make.  No, I’m not talking about buying shoes or ordering breakfast.  I mean a REAL decision.  First, ask yourself, what do I like?  In a perfect world if I could have anything I wanted, what would I choose?  Next, ask yourself is this biblically right, morally right and fair to others?  How will my decision affect those involved?  If those two answers are in agreement, move onto the last and most important question of all. 

What are the facts?  Do I know enough to make this decision?  Taking that extra effort to do the research may change everything.  Once you fully understand your options and outcomes, then you are ready to make a well informed decision. 

Yes, we make hundreds of decisions everyday.  Some are mundane and routine, others life changing.  However, understanding why we do what we do can make all the difference!  So, the next time you need to choose, ask yourself, why I am doing this…then smile and think of me.  J 

That’s what I think…so what do YOU think?  

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