Step one in effective decision-making is in discovering the important decisions to be made. Dissatisfaction can lead you to latch onto some important decisions. It did for me.
I finished college with a head full of wonderful science and educational theories and an almost religious fervor to bring the beauty of all that I learned to the world. I imagined myself seated under a tree like Socrates, eager students gathered at my feet, listening in awe to all the knowledge I imparted to them. Instead, I found myself in front of bunch of rowdy teenagers. I knew a lot of mathematics, but I didn’t know the first thing about classroom management. Rather than profound science, what I was expressing during class was more along the lines of, “Sit down! Turn around and pay attention! Why can’t you see how beautiful this is? Ugh, who threw that?”
I was presenting them with my beautiful mathematics and they were treating it with scorn. They hated the class and so did I. I found myself thinking, “It’s not supposed to be like this. This is my mission in life. It can’t be like this. Next year I’ll have a new class and they will love mathematics the way I do.” I thought sheer force of will and a love of my subject would do it. But, of course, the next year was no better.
Finally I allowed myself to admit that I was miserable in my chosen career. That was hard. Harder still, I admitted that there were some things that I could not change. Classroom management is much more important than love of subject at the high school level. That was never going to change. I decided to plant an imaginary signpost, bam, right in my path, forcing me to consider my options. On one path I could continue in a job that was making me miserable, and on the other…
There was no other. I had no other job possibilities. I tried to visualize the other path, but it appeared full of fog and brambles. The choice came down to the unknown or a known that I hated. I decided to leave. What a great decision! Otherwise, I’d still be there, still miserable, still waiting for things somehow to get better.
Are you dissatisfied with something in your life? Plant a signpost and decide what to do about it. Make a list right now of all the major things that dissatisfy you. You may wish to choose one of these dissatisfactions to build a decision around. Don’t worry. One option you always have is to accept the situation as it is.
Have you confronted dissatisfactions and moved ahead? How did you do it?