All the decisions that you’ve made until now have led you precisely to this moment in your life. Think about this for a moment and consider what it implies about the importance of every decision that you make.
Whether it’s deciding not to talk to the pretty girl with the purple dress, saying yes to things that you know you shouldn’t, putting off important projects until tomorrow, or mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed, all your decisions have consequences. And it’s you who has to live with these consequences.
The whole trajectory of your life entirely depends on the type of decisions that you make today. And it can be quite compelling to ask how we can optimize our lives to make the best decisions possible.
There’s a random element to how the world works which our minds are incapable of grasping. We are just born and exposed into this world of randomness, where you don’t get to pick your parents, your country, or your gender. And yet, these conditions have tremendous influence over where you end up in life.
Given just how random the world truly is and the extremely limited amount of control we have over our surroundings, it can be easy to look away and surrender to the madness happening around us. But I’d invite you to think of this randomness from a more optimistic perspective.
Perhaps life can be characterized as an eternal struggle against the crushing weight of reality. Finding purpose in overcoming this randomness is perhaps the ultimate way of distracting yourself from death, but it’s a distraction that’s worth having.
One way in which to overcome this random element of life is to increase your influence to gain as much control over your surroundings as possible. This often means swimming against the tide of uncertainty and discovering the areas in which you can improve your competency.
This view requires you to see life as a quest for you to fulfill your potential, to break out of your comfort zone, and to expose yourself to situations that inspire you to grow. Growth facilitates the accumulation of power, and power determines the level of influence you have over your environment.
This means that the most crucial element of wielding control over your environment is mostly a case of knowing what you can control. Part of knowing what you can control is determined by how forthrightly you can endeavor to make yourself useful to the world. This often involves a careful introspection of your strengths and weaknesses, thereby allowing you to identify the areas of your life that are mostly in need of repair.
Once these areas of improvement have been identified, the next logical step is to formulate goals that allow you to overcome your own shortcomings. While formulating your goals, it is important to adopt a position of radical humility that allows you to be more practical in terms of adopting goals that are more realistic.
Paradoxically, knowing your limitations is what allows you to overcome them. A person who goes to the gym for the first time will undoubtedly be limited by his ability to lift heavy weights. But with a consistent amount of practice, he will be able to increase his strength to lift heavier objects with much more ease.
This means, your life should mirror a perpetual process of rebirths, letting your older self die in pursuit of something far greater. With the accomplishment of each goal, your objective should be to formulate new goals that are perfectly in harmony with your newly established skills and competencies.
This will allow you to be more useful to the world and expose yourself to more opportunities that you can make use of with your new found abilities. Making the best use of these opportunities will allow you to wield greater control over your environment and enable you to live with the kind of purpose and meaning that is necessary to sustain yourself against the vicissitude of life.
One of the strategies that you may adopt in accomplishing your goals would be to carefully train your mind to be less distracted by thought. If you allow your mind to be caged by your thoughts, it will always regress into states of anxiety, depression and disorder. So our goal should always be to be the conqueror of our own minds.
Conquering your mind can be done in several different ways that require a certain degree of effort, determination and fortitude. Meditation, physical exercises, and yoga are all excellent ways of stabilizing your mind and bringing your attention back to the present moment. Your ability to pay close attention to your environment is directly proportional to your ability to influence it. Attention is a higher order function than intellect, because attention is what teaches intellect.
All these ways require you to take control of your own life by taking action. Taking action allows you to maintain a sense of control in a cruel and indifferent universe. Taking action may take the form of dedicating your time in mastering useful skills, enhancing the stature of your physical prowess, or making the effort to improve your relationship with your friends and family. Action is what energizes life and gives you a sense of direction.
So making good decisions is all about taking the time and effort to train your mind to be able to predict all the possible outcomes arising out of your decisions, and taking the necessary precautions in eliminating the bad ones. Being smart with your decisions is entirely dependent upon how calculative you train your mind to be.
Being a person who makes good decisions puts you in an extremely advantageous position to make the best of all the opportunities being thrown at you. This allows you to increase your sphere of influence over your environment and gives you the necessary tools to be a force for good.
For wisdom is nothing but your ability to predict the long term consequences of your short term decisions.