When I look at the richest stories of the people I know best, and the grand stories of people who I wish I knew, there is an undeniable pattern–their life stories are defined by bold decisions.
We love to read books and watch movies about bold people making bold decisions, but rarely do we make or encourage bold decisions in real life.
By definition, bold decisions are always more than what the present moment can handle. These are decisions that threaten the familiar and stable life around us. By default, people cannot handle it when you share the stirrings of your heart today, and the bold decision that will come tomorrow.
Friends and family will look to discredit or disqualify your decision. They want to–in some way–test to see if you are certain that you are ready for the consequences of your decision. You should expect this because they care about you.
The best vetting process usually takes on three steps:
- Step 1: Is this an impulsive decision? Are you making a hasty, emotional choice?
- Step 2: Is this an irrational decision? Are you not thinking clearly? Are you ignoring inconvenient facts, or likely outcomes? Are you ignoring the Law of Gravity and hoping that you don’t fall and get hurt? Have you read too many fluffy self-help books?
- Step 3: Silence. So if your decision is not impulsive, and it’s not irrational, then what you have is a bold decision. The vetting process is complete. They will look at you with gentle silence. There’s nothing more they can say. No more questions to ask.
Don’t be defeated by this silence. The silence signals that it’s your move. You either make the leap with a bold decision, or you don’t.
Reality is Defined by the Bold
The reality that we’ve grown accustomed to today is was created entirely by other people’s bold decisions. Let me choose an immediate example:
- You discovered this blog by way of Facebook (bold decision from Mark Zuckerberg) or Twitter (bold decision by Jack Dorsey & Co.)
- This website was built on WordPress, made possible by the bold decisions of Matt Mullenwig.
- These words were first authored on on Google Docs, made possible by Larry Page and Sergey Brin; and typed on a MacBook Pro, made possible by the bold decisions of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Without the bold decisions of these people, you and I would not have this connection right now.
Look up from your screen. Look around at the room you are in, the people around you. Why are they here today? What were the bold decisions, once just the quiet stirrings in someone’s heart, stirrings that grew into action, and those actions triggered a new world for all of us?
I guess you can summarize this whole blog right here:
Life is complicated.
Decisions are difficult.
But if you have to choose between doing nothing and doing something, always err on the side of action.
Let me pass the mic to Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”