A Letter To My Daughter — making decisions
In life, there are so many choices to make. So many decisions that could change the course of your life. From deciding who to be friends with, who to go out with, what to study, what to do for a living… to the smaller choices. Do you agree with someone or not? Should you argue or let it go?
The decisions we all have to make in life are endless. And they are dizzying in their diversity and complexity. Many of us float through life without giving too much thought to every decision, but I advise you to do it a bit differently.
Firstly, remember that every decision has a consequence. Decisions do not occur in a vacuum. The most direct consequence of the choices you make will be their impact on you. As decisions are generally easier to make than reverse, think about them with care. Your decisions will end up defining the course and nature of your life.
Making mistakes is unavoidable, of course, so be under no illusions that you will err. But regret is a waste of time, energy and emotion. However, just because mistakes are inevitable it should follow that you make decisions without careful, deliberate determination.
Don’t treat your choices too casually. The decisions we make guide our path through life. And the path we take determines the sense of fulfilment we experience in life. Take some time to think something through as this often results in better decisions.
Secondly, always use both your heart and your head when making decisions. Your head is important because wherever possible, we all need to try to avoid doing stupid things! Your head is also important because emotions are more volatile than logic. So, while we may feel very strongly about something at a given moment, just a short time later this intense feeling could fade. Logic, on the other hand, may well be flawed but tends to remain more constant.
Your heart and emotions are important, though. We all have an obligation to be true to our desires, hopes, dreams and to ourselves. A life lived purely on the basis of expedience is a life without passion and soul. And it is passion and soul that animate our spirit.
When I wanted to go to graduate school, I initially chose law for its career prospects. But I decided I wasn’t cut out to be a lawyer and chose a less definite path with less definite employment prospects. This path led me to become an entrepreneur and I made more money at a young age than I could ever have made as a lawyer.
If you look around, you’ll notice that most successful people truly love what they do. They are the people who haven’t ended up being forced to do something they don’t feel passionate about. The greatest musicians, financiers, architects, medical experts and any kind of successful professional all have something in common — a passion for what they do. This drives their success and makes them good at it. This is why I want you to always answer the call your heart is making. To be true to what you love will allow you to live the life you truly want to live.
Using the head and heart when making decisions leads to incredible things. One of the best possible outcomes of any decision we make is to do what we want in the way we ought to. This kind of decision-making leads to us pursuing our passions while always optimising the chances for success. It has to be credible and possible. For example, if someone loves football but isn’t athletic, their best option isn’t to try to become a professional footballer. But it could be in management or sports journalism. This way they are living their passion but in a way that works for then.
It’s this combination of head and heart that can produced the best outcomes in life. We should remember that God gave us both for a reason.
The last thing I want to say about decisions is that once you’ve made them you should go for it with all your being. Try not to doubt yourself. At the end of the day, there is no definitive way to know whether a decision is right or wrong. Every decision opens up new pathways and there is no way of knowing the way a different decision would take us.
This brings me to one of the things I wanted to emphasise. Try to avoid the dreaded “what if?” in life. Constantly questioning whether you have done the right thing doesn’t lead to a happy life.
Remember too that the decisions you make impact people around you. I’ll write more on this in the next chapter.
Your loving father