In my last post, I began to describe the process for decision-making that Spencer Johnson develops in his book, Yes Or No. In that first installment, I looked at the elements in the practical question we want to ask ourselves. We use our minds to consider:
- Am I meeting the real need?
- Have I informed myself about the options?
- Have I thought things through?
In this post, I want to look at the other side of the process, focusing on the private question of the heart. The ability to ask this question involves three qualities that a person of character possesses—integrity, Intuition and Insight. Specifically we want to ask ourselves:
- Does my decision show that I am being honest with myself?
- Am I trusting my better intuition?
- Does my decision reflect the belief that I deserve better?
Let’s take a closer look at these three elements in the heart question.
Does my decision show that I am being honest with myself?
A person of integrity is someone who knows how to be honest with himself or herself. Such a person avoids fooling themselves into believing what they want to be true rather than what they know to be true.
It is tempting to base our decisions on the fiction we want to believe instead of the reality that we recognize if we are honest with ourselves. If we base our decisions on illusion, we will have a vague sense that something is wrong. We can identify these illusions when we make sure that our decisions reflect what we truly believe. It is also helpful to ask people that we trust how they see the situation. Often they can see what we have trouble perceiving.
Am I trusting my better intuition?
People who have learned to make good decisions have learned to trust their intuition. In order to do this, we need to stop and ask ourselves, how do I feel about the option I am considering. If I am uneasy about it, I need to pay attention to that feeling. On the other hand, if I have a good feeling about it, I should give that weight in the decision-making process.
Johnson goes on to talk about what he calls our better intuition. This is an intuition that comes from outside ourselves. Listening to our better intuition simply means asking for guidance and then remaining silent in order to hear what comes to us from beyond ourselves. For me, that is what it means to seek guidance from God.
Does my decision reflect the belief that I deserve better?
Johnson insists that the key to better decisions is to believe that we deserve better and to act on that belief. He maintains that we often get the results that we unknowingly believe we deserve.
At this point I want to insert my own modification on what Spencer says. As a person who believes in God’s grace, I would rather talk about what God wants for me, for all of us. I believe God wants what is good for us. Its not a matter of what I deserve, but of what God’s essential desire is for me.
If I believe that God desires to bless me, that the Lord want the best for each of us, I can allow that belief to inform my decisions. That will lead me to choose those options that will yield genuine blessing for me.
I think that the framework that Johnson offers can be very helpful as we approach important decisions in our lives. Considering the practical question along with the private question of the heart can enable us to make better decisions. Of course, decisions will only be effective if we do have the courage to act.
If you want to know more about Spencer Johnson’s approach to decision-making, I encourage pick up a copy of his book, Yes Or No. It is a helpful resource for making life’s choices.