From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog come these words of wisdom – “Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels.” (Anon)
The Anon family has provided some of life’s best quotes and written material (see my post on Anon). Today’s quote is undoubtedly from a modern decedent of the Anon family, since the phenomenon of flat squirrels on the road didn’t occur until the invention of the automobile. We have probably all encountered the occasional squirrel who runs out in front of our car, stopped and then can’t decide whether to go on or go back. That moment of indecision unfortunately seals its fate all too often and a flat squirrel results.
Some people have the ability to make snap decisions in any situation, while others (and I count myself in this number) seem to hesitate while they try to gather more information upon which to base a decision. Many times an opportunity will pass us by while we are pondering the alternatives. To an extent, we have become flat squirrels, because we couldn’t decide whether to go on or run back to safety.
The need for more and more information before making a decision is really based upon the inability to deal with the uncertainty that is usually found in any decision; but you must develop an ability to accept that uncertainly. Andy Stanley put it this way – “There will be very few occasions when you are absolutely certain about anything. You will consistently be called upon to make decisions with limited information. That being the case, your goal should not be to eliminate uncertainty. Instead, you must develop the art of being clear in the face of uncertainty.” Failing to act or acting without clarity of
purpose will result in you becoming a flat squirrel.
Arianna Huffington offers this helpful advice – “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” For many the fear of failure is stronger than the perceived rewards of success, so doing nothing seems to offer the safer path. The view of the flat squirrel is that of a flat earth, with no ups or downs but also with no dimension. We may not always be right, but we don’t always have to become the flat squirrel.
Perhaps Wayne Dyer’s advice on choosing first what your attitude in life will be is most import. Dyer said – “One of the most important decisions you’ll ever make is choosing the kind of universe you exist in: is it helpful and supportive or hostile and unsupportive? Your answer to this question will make all the difference in terms of how you live your life and what kind of Divine assistance you attract.” Choosing to live in an optimistic and supportive world can help prevent us from become flat squirrels.
Living in a helpful and supportive environment doesn’t mean delegating your decision to others, but rather, when needed, seeking their advice and support for the decisions that you have to make. Many insecure people seek to base their decisions only on the advice from others. Thomas Sowell saw the danger in that when he said – “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” Imagine if you will a bird sitting in a tree beside the road telling the squirrel, “Go that way. No, wait! Go the other way.” If the squirrel listens to the bird, he ends up flat on the road of life. And what about the bird? Well he say’s “that stupid squirrel made the wrong decision” and then flies away. The bird paid no price for heeding the advice he was giving.
It is almost as bad to base your decisions too heavily upon how you think others will react – Heath Ledger said – “If you make decisions based upon people’s reactions or judgments then you make really boring choices.” How many times have you looked back on bad decisions in your personal life and realized that you were just “going along to get along” or maybe you’ve said to someone else (or at least thought), “Gee,
I thought that’s what you wanted.” Those are the words of regret from a flat squirrel who couldn’t make a decision on his own.
In the end, one may ask for and receive advice and knowledge from others, but the decision making is always a very personal and lonely process. That’s not necessarily bad. Thornton Wilder pointed out – “The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.” The insight that you have that freedom; that your decisions need not be based upon what others tell you to do or what others may think of your decisions, eventually leads you to the next great insight – “Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” – Myles Munroe. If you can get your priorities straight and base your decisions upon those priorities; you will go a long way towards avoiding becoming a flat squirrel in life.
Nike has used the same catch phrase for years – “Just do it.” Perhaps in the end that is the simplest and most straightforward way to look at the decisions that you have to make in life. If your life is properly centered and based upon the priorities established by a strong faith, the decisions that you have to make will come more easily and are more likely to have good outcomes. Steven Covey was quoted as
saying about business – “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” That is good advice in life if you keep your faith as the main thing. Do that and you won’t have trouble making decisions and you won’t end up as a flat squirrel.
Keeping a balanced life and keeping the main thing the main thing takes work and sometimes some help or guidance is needed. Local author and life coach Norma Nickolson of Wise Owl Enterprises has just published her latest book that can help with that – Living a Balanced Life Journal . You can visit her website at https://wiseowlenterprises.org/ for contact information for Norma. Both the book and the web site benefit from Norma’s collaboration with Marla Schalow of of Jademar Design. Norma and Marla are accountability partners who regularly meet and hold each other accountable for the things that they tell each other they are committed to doing. You should try that with someone, too. Perhaps, if you feel accountable to someone to get done the things that you said you would do, you won’t end up as a flat squirrel on life’s road.
Have a great and decisive rest of your week.