Big life-changing decisions should come about after agonizingly long hours of thinking and plotting, analyzing and scrutinizing, predicting and planning. People should not make decisions that change the course of their life in one day or one hour or one minute. No, not smart and savvy people like you and me and certainly not the type of decisions that reshape the future years and decades of our lives.
Except that more often than not, the biggest decisions do emerge in an instant in time. It takes one look deep in your heart to instantly know the right answer.
One of my favorite lines in the novel Jane Eyre reads: “I tired of the routine of eight years in one afternoon.” A line out of a classic fiction may seem trivial but alas, it describes my revelation in how my life’s biggest decisions have been made not in a week or in a month but in a blink of an eye!
When the time is ripe for a big decision, you know in a blink of an eye whether …
… a relationship has room to grow or it is time to part ways.
… a friendship has run its course or there is room to forgive and forget.
…. you are meant to have a baby or walk a different path.
…. you should take chances with your health or take your one true asset seriously.
…. you can continue with a job or walk away and never look back.
…. you can forget the call of a dream or build your future with the relentless pursuit of it.
In one gaze into your partner’s eyes, you can know the fate of a relationship. In one act from a friend, you can know the depth of a friendship. In one glance at a baby, you may choose parenthood and after one look deep in your heart, you may walk away from a decade of career and stability.
You simply know in your heart of hearts the one true answer in one single instant. If you do not know the answer in an instant, perhaps it is not yet time to make that big decision and perhaps the status quo is sufficient to sustain you longer.
Knowing the answer instantly does not relieve you from the enormous work and effort, energy and discipline, patience and planning which follows. Knowing precludes agonizing over the choices because the right choice comes to you in an instant but it does not preclude you from the hard work and tough commitments to execute on that big decision.
In all of these big decisions, you know just how much you shall have to give up to receive the new gains, you are well aware the scales will shift and move around until they find balance again and yet your mind is made up and your heart is at peace. That is the power of the big decisions that come to us in a blink of an eye.
In one single moment of true clarity, you may see your entire life — the beginning, the end, and what precious little time you have in the middle — and you may pick up a sense of urgency and immediacy that compliments the fast and fleeting days before you. You may realize that you do not have the rest of infinity and that “someday” may never dance before you as you so carefully plan for it. You may reach a moment to truly realize that yes, indeed it is true what they tell us: the best time and perhaps the only time to pursue your dreams is right now.
In one blink of an eye, you may decide that there is more to life than what you have settled for and that it is not unrealistic to build a life outside the norm. You may decide that you no longer prefer stability to risk-taking and that you no more can fit your ideal life into the box that has been so generously set aside for you.
Even if your choices up to now have been fine, you are not beholden to them for the rest of your life. If others can set the course of their own life, then so can you — and if others can turn an idea into action, and fear into energy, and dream into everyday reality, then you too can give up a little now to gain a lot later.
The irony is how much giving up now gains you later and how much slowing down your pace today will bring you momentum tomorrow.
The most liberating acts of all do not ask for accumulation of things; they ask for detachment and surrender.
You must first unload the weight on your shoulders before you can build strength to carry a heavier weight but albeit one with lesser burden.
You must first declutter your head before you can seriously take on new thoughts and new plans.
You must first create the space in your mind for the realm of possibilities before you set out to pursue them.
You must be able to give it all up to build it all over again on your own terms.
And this decision you know in a single flash, in a blink of an eye. It’s either for you or not. It’s either the right time now or later. It’s either a good move or a bad one. You are either in or out. You and only you know and no matter what insanely tough road may lay before you, you need to walk this path to find your fulfillment and inner peace.
None of this advises you to throw caution to the wind and choose frivolously. No way! Being smart is the motto of this blog and my way of life to boot; making smart choices follows that motto closely. I am extremely conservative when it comes to financial independence, safe adventures and smart choices but not at the expense of imprisoning my soul and choosing a limiting existence. So be wise, be smart, and follow the rhythm of your heart.
This week in paradise, when those big decisions came to me in an instant, in a perfect blink of an eye, I realized the power that lies within the depth of our hearts, the power to know exactly which path is right for us and what matters most to no one but us.
What rings true here for you? Do the big decisions of life emerge for you in an instant or do you find yourself agonizing long and hard over your decisions?