Avoiding Compromises with Decisiveness

Decisions have a domino effect: each one can influence the next.  Just as the first domino in a long line of dominos can make the last domino fall, each decision we make can positively or negatively affect the next decision we make. Every decision matters.

Now imagine a life free of regret, where thinking about the previous day would not mean wishing for a chance to rethink those decisions already made. Decisiveness gives us the opportunity to make choices right the first time, and every time after that, so that we can live free of such regret. The ability to make decisions based on sound morals, wise priorities, and accurate information is a challenging, but deeply rewarding, character strength.

Decisiveness does not guarantee the absence of disappointment. However, when we base our decisions on what we believe to be the morally right choice, even a disappointing outcome does not necessitate regret. By making difficult decisions based on a code of character, we can face the results—good or bad—with the confidence that we made the best decision possible.

Being decisive and making the right choice can be as big as finalizing a major project that will affect many, or as simple as a small decision I made recently.  The choice I faced affected no one except my own conscience.  I had been cleaning dying plants out of my flower bed, and my gardening had produced a small pile of debris.  My first thought was, I can’t just throw it in the polycart because of the mandatory yard waste recycling during this time of the year. And if I did, my trash wouldn’t get picked up, and I don’t buy yard waste bags because we mulch our grass clippings.  My next idea was to put the waste in the dark lawn & leaf bags—and no one would ever know.  As I was deciding that this would be the easiest solution, it occurred to me it wasn’t the right solution.  I knew there was an ordinance requiring certain things to be done with yard waste during the summer months, and to decide to ignore that fact, simply because I saw the amount of yard waste I had as small, wouldn’t be right. I finally decided not to put the debris with my regular trash.

My yard waste quandary seemed like a very small choice. But I got to thinking that if we are decisive and hold ourselves to high standards with small decisions, we will find it easier to face larger, harder, and more tempting dilemmas down the road.

Those little decisions, after all, make a difference—just like little dominos. Eventually, if we are faithful to the standards of good character, our decisiveness will lead us to treat bigger and bigger dominos with the same good character. And we will be able to look back on all those choices, from the small to the great, without regret.


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