How to Make Difficult Decisions

How do you process your difficult, delicate decisions? Do you write pros and cons lists while weighing out all of the potential scenarios, or do you rely on emotions and gut reactions? Do you feel confident when you make your difficult decisions or do you tend toward frequent second guessing?

We all have to answer tough questions and wrestle with difficult decisions in life, especially when we are involved in some form of leadership (which is nearly every person).

I recently read a biography on the life of Pope John Paul II and I was intrigued with his process for making difficult decisions, so I thought I would pass it onto you.

Once when faced with a major ministry decision that was fraught with risky, political ramifications, the pope asked several of his leading advisers the following question: What are the certainties, probabilities, and possibilities connected with each of these options?

With every decision that one makes there are certainties, things that will undoubtedly happen as a result of the decision; there are also probabilities, things that will likely happen but perhaps will not; and then there are possibilities, outcomes that are indeterminable.

After weighing the impact of all of the apparent certainties, probabilities, and possibilities, the pope then prayed, slept, and then made a firm decision that he unflinchingly followed.

There are lots of ways to wisely handle all the big decisions in our lives, but I think this is a good starting point. As we consider a New Year with all of the new possibilities that will present themselves to us, let’s count the cost of the certainties, be mindful of the probabilities, and be willing to embrace the possibilities. Beyond that, let’s trust that the Holy Spirit will lead us true, remembering that, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.” (Psalm 37:23)

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