Each day presents opportunities to make choices that will change our lives forever. I hear you saying, “Not in my life,” but I guarantee you it happens in your life too.
When I was young, my mother picked out the clothes I would wear for the day. I always found them in a neat little stack on my bed after I bathed. It was easy. Many years later, she insisted that I choose my own clothing for the day. You would have thought Mom had cut off my arm if you saw my reaction.
Then I sobbed and complained.
Finally, I resorted to begging her to keep choosing my clothing for the day.
Looking back now it seems so silly, but I was seriously handicapped in making choices. Actually, I didn’t want to suffer consequences. Only heaven knows how choosing the wrong outfit became such a dilemma and emotional stretch, but it did. Eventually, I found that having the freedom to choose my own clothes was truly a joy and not a horrible act of parental torture.
Wouldn’t it be total bliss if all our choices were as easy as picking out the clothes we wanted to wear for the day?
The 5 Whys is a technique invented by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota, which is used to help make better decisions. When there is a problem, you ask “why” five times followed by an answer which ultimately will help lead to a solution. It goes something like this…
- Problem: The can of Sprite exploded in the freezer.
I left it in the freezer too long.
I didn’t remember it was in the freezer.
I didn’t set a timer.
I was trying to rush back to the TV to watch the movie.
The movie had George Clooney in it!!!
Solution: I have to marry George Clooney.
Obviously, I’m obsessed.
Maybe I should try something else as the example…
- Problem: My car won’t start.
I ran out of gas.
I didn’t go to the gas station this morning.
I was in a hurry to be on time to work.
I didn’t want to get fired.
I need money to survive and support my family.
Solution: I will not procrastinate getting gas just because the fumes stink and the wind messes up my hair before I get to work.
So we started with a problem, worked our way through to the solution and discovered that pumping gas is for men and I didn’t use enough hairspray if my hair was blowing in the wind.
The point is that we all must make choices and live with the consequences of those choices. Sometimes that is a wonderful experience and other times it is the worst of doom and gloom.
Regardless of whether you use the 5 Whys methodology to reach a decision or another process, the outcome of your decision will be of your choosing. Problems that affect your long term future should be contemplated and mulled over longer. The inability to see into the future often makes decision-making stressful.
Ultimately, your life is yours and my life is mine. Our choices will bring to pass results of one kind or another. Sometimes a choice will be taken from us, but we still have the freedom of choosing how we will react to the situation. For example…
- Dad had lung cancer. He did not choose to have that disgustingly horrible disease. He did, however, choose not to have chemotherapy or radiation that would have only prolonged his life for a few months. Dad did not get into the middle of the experience and change his mind. He remained sure that the choice he made of not having treatment was the best choice for him, but more importantly, it was his decision. In the end, he died in two months instead of five months and after all the pain he suffered, I’m sure he made the right decision too.
I struggle with some decisions for a long time and often, if I’m quite honest, I appear to take too long for most people looking at me from the outside. There have been a few decisions that I consider to be rash that in the end, I have lived to regret. I think we all have a few of those in our past. All in all, I ponder things to death and completely explore all options before I make a huge decision. Actually, I drive myself crazy with the pros and cons running around in my head and through my heart.
“It is our choices
that show what we truly are,
far more than our abilities.”
~Joanne Kathleen Rowling~
Remember, it is your life and you have to live with the decisions and consequences of those actions.
How do you reach a decision and what method do you go through to make wise choices? Do you use the 5 Whys?