…the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day…
– Proverbs 4:18
The constancy and direction of change
This proverb captures the concept of change – positive and desirable change.
In the equation of life, change is a constant. The crucial thing in our lives, however, is not the constancy of change, but it’s direction. By this I mean that change will always occur in our lives, regardless of our wishes; but in what direction will that change occur?
Change can either be positive or negative, desirable or undesirable.
When change is positive and desirable, we think and speak in terms of SUCCESS.
When change is negative and undesirable, we refer to it as retrogression or deterioration.
What kind of changes are taking place in your life?
Do you like the direction of things in your life right now?
It’s interesting to note that the only kind of changes that occur without effort or force, are undesirable changes! For instance, what would happen if you were to leave your house without tending? Would the lawns and flowers become automatically trimmed and beautifuly laid out? Would the rooms be ‘naturally’ clean and sweetly scented and disinfected? I doubt so. I think we know what would happen!
What of your ‘natural’ looks, if you were to leave yourself without deliberate attention? I believe you get my point – positive and desirable changes are created by deliberate efforts.
Positive changes are the results of right decisions and actions.
Observe from our reference proverb, that positive changes – ‘shineth more and more unto the perfect day’ – results from right decisions and actions – ‘the path of the just.’
The fact of life is that desirable and positive changes demand right, determined, and persistent actions. To see the kind of progress that will thrill your heart, you’ll need some measure of forcefulness and aggressiveness in making and pursuing the right decisions.
Are you making progress? Are you approaching your goals? At what rate?
Check yourself, your direction, and your speed.
‘…path of the just…’ symbolizes a sequence of right steps, in other words, a sequence of right decisions and actions. To make progress then, you must be consistent in making the right decisions.
If you will consistently make the right decisions in life, if you will consistently choose rightly in the midst of life’s confusing alternatives, you will experience progress, and enjoy success.
How to make the right decisions on important matters
Any decision that requires a huge commitment of time, money, and other resources, and which consequences will determine your happiness and position on the long term, is an important decision.
Below are some important guidelines to help you avoid wrong decisions and hence insure yourself against unnecessary suffering.
#1. Don’t make decisions on important matters if you feel pressured
Pressure can come from people, circumstances around you, needs, ambitions, and so on.
Never never make decisions on important matters if you feel pressured.
This might mean a little slowing down, but isn’t this wiser than being hasty and missing the way?
Yes people might think that you are stupid, or that you don’t care. So be it.
Learn to use phrases like, “I’ll think about it…,” “give me sometime,” “Let me pray,” etc. to buy time.
#2. Don’t make decisions on important matters when you are so sad
Sadness lowers your emotional altitude. It narrows your perspectives and shrinks your horizon.
If you make decisions on important matters such as your relationships, finances, career, and so on, when you are sad, chances are that you will later regret those decisions.
Many relationships have been fatally damaged, and many lives marred beyond repairs, because of decisions made during sadness.
If you are in a state of sadness, gloom, melancholy, and so on, and you have a critical decision to make, postpone that decision, if you can, until you are out of the sad state.
Fight the sadness first. Then you can make high quality and right decisions.
Study my post on sadness and master the weapons for overcoming sadness.
Never never make decisions on important matters when you are sad. Wait until the excitement, enthusiasm, and zeal returns!
#3. Don’t make important decisions when you are very angry
Tomorrow’s realities will be determined by the decisions you make today.
The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your decisions.
Qualitative decisions lead to a qualitative life. Mediocre decisions lead to a mediocre existence.
Life will present you with multiple options, and you will be required to make choices, to make decisions. The path you choose determines the quality of life you live and where you end up.
To make the right decisions, you must operate out of a sound mind. This is not possible when you are upset or angry. An angry man is temporarily insane, which is to say that his mind is unsound.
“…be angry, but sin not…” – Ephesians 4:26
Another way to read this verse is this:”WHEN YOU ARE ANGRY, DO NOTHING”
You might not avoid anger, but you can avoid speaking or acting in anger.
You can avoid making decisions on important matters when you are angry, for your good and that of others.
A foolish man gives full expression to his anger in words and deeds.The angry man will make a lot of erroneous and faulty decisions and will ultimately ruin his life.
In the context of qualitative decision making, anger is poisonous, destructive, and detrimental. It does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
The path of anger is not the path of the just. So it does not result in progress but in deterioration.
Never never make decisions on important matters when you are angry.
Whenever you are in a state of anger, postpone important decisions. Better still, do nothing.
Most of the problems in your life, most of your failures – lack of money, broken relationships, and so on – can be traced to decisions made in anger.
Move out of the immediate cause of that anger.
Give yourself a reasonable minimum time of non-action on the issue at hand. Then fill up that time with inspiring sounds and words; expose your mind to positive presence and environments. When your mind and emotions are calm and settled, you can then consider the options at hand, and make better decisions.
In order to experience a life of good success and positive progress, you must strive to make the right decisions in important areas of your life.