At some point last week I took the time to type “I Make Bad Decisions” into my search bar in hopes of finding a T-shirt that carried that statement. My search was driven by a series of significantly bad decisions made on my part over the previous few days. I found plenty of T-shirts that carried that slogan but the whimsy of the design was not what I was looking for.. I didn’t want to mislead people that may read my shirt into believing the bad decisions I make would lead to excitement, adventure, and laughter. I wanted people to see my shirt and read it as a warning that they’d be wise to steer clear of me.
Making bad decisions is part of life. Sometimes those bad decisions are the Carne Asada Nachos ordered at 11:00 pm and sometimes those bad decisions are saying “I do” when “I don’t” is a better answer. There are good reasons for bad decisions. I am always impressed by my ability to justify my bad decisions. I can always make a bad decision seem like a good one before I make it. No matter how good my justification was I am always left with the consequences of the decision. I’ve not yet found a way to bypass the reaction to my action.
I used to be terrified about making the wrong decision to the point that I would often make no decision. I did this in relationships. I did this with work. I do this with dinner. Culturally we are trained that making a bad decision can destroy our life. We are told to be careful about the friends we choose, the food we eat, the hobbies we indulge in, the way we dress, how much we sleep, how much tv we watch, how much time we spend on the internet and we’re told if we make a bad decision about anything our entire life can be destroyed. Now that I’ve gained a few years I am beginning to think that kind of council is terrible.
Bad decisions are good things as long as we have the ability to recognize the decision as being bad before that decision leads to even more bad decisions. I’ve learned that I gain more from the experience of dealing with a bad decision than I ever did from making a good decision.
My goal now is celebrate the consequences of my bad decisions as learning experiences. I also intend to teach those who will listen how to do the same. My kids will get this training whether they want it or not.