Friday, November 07, 2008

The Power of Decision

There are things that don’t translate until you have done it. We all had very clear ideas about what kind of parents we were going to be right up until we actually had kids. You can’t really explain being a parent to someone who has never done it.

I was thinking today about working out. I’ve been working heavily on cardio and flexibility, but honestly it is mostly out of boredom. Fitness is important to survival, even to combat (though not as much as you might think) but for me, in my personal experience… not so much. I’ve taken down bigger, stronger, faster, more flexible people.

How? I just decided to.
That’s such a weak statement.

Sometimes people expect decisions to have power. They tell themselves that if the stakes were high enough, they would never give up. That they could give it one more rep “if I had to.”

They expect magic because sometimes it works. I can pretty much decide what kind of day I will have or how a given conflict will end. But it’s not the decision. It’s the sensitivity to hundreds of variables that I missed in the past and paid for. The ability to change the question in the process of seeking an answer. The ability to know the difference between what is true and what I think is true or what the threat thinks is true.

And the price. This alone may be why crunch time comes to failure so often. If you make a hard decision “I WILL take this guy down!” it’s probably going to hurt. Some decisions hurt a lot. Some cost far more than a sensible person is willing to pay. When it’s just words in your head, “I’ve made up my mind!” it is easy to forget that everything comes with a price. When you are paying the price, sometimes in pain and blood with the decision not yet done, it’s easy to change your mind. Which is pretty much the opposite of making a decision.

Decisions, for most people, never really go beyond words in their heads. They aren’t really decisions about actions and consequences so mush as statements of belief and self-worth: "I would never stand by for that!" But most people do stand by when things are risky. Who stood up for the people sent to Auschwitz? Even when the risk is not physical or not present. How many people just watch Kitty Genovese be murdered?

Statements of self-worth in the comfort of your home are worlds away from the actions and the risks of actual application.
Once you have made decisions at this level, though and in your soul understand the price and have already paid it, decisions are a different thing. They carry weight and power.
But it is completely different than just saying the words.

1 comment:

Kai Jones said...

You can have will and discipline for one thing and not another. Why?