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Need To Make A Big Decision Quickly? Do This.

Workin' Girl

Business mogul Simon Sinek once said, "There is no decision that we can make that doesn't come with some sort of balance or sacrifice." Keeping that in mind, are you ready to have your mind (at least slightly) blown?

Guess how many decisions you will make before turning it in tonight? You ain't even ready — 35,000! I know it sounds like I'm totally exaggerating (click here to see that I'm not), but when you really think about it, that kind of makes sense.

You had to decide to get out of bed, then decide which room you were going to go into first (usually it's the bathroom, right?). You had to decide what you were going to wear, eat for breakfast and route you were going to take to work. You then had to decide whether or not you were going to cuss out your annoying co-worker and also decide if you were going to procrastinate on that project your boss assigned you. The list goes on and on.

When you really think about how many things require that a decision be made, suddenly 35,000 seems a little on the small side.

Now here's some food for thought. How much weight do you put into the decisions that you make? Do you really believe what Actress Helen Mirren once said, "You write your life story by the choices you make"? Do you apply the wisdom of motivational speaker Mario Teguh when he warns, "Never make a decision when you are upset, sad, jealous or in love"? Is your decision-making motto something along the lines of "Openness, respect, integrity — these are principles that need to underpin pretty much every other decision that you make"? (Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister of Canada said that.)

One could say that their entire destiny hinges on the decisions that they make. Keeping that in mind, if you have a really big one coming up and time is not really on your side when it comes to making it, here are five tips to help you make one you can feel good (and sure) about.

Revisit Your Values.

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We all have values. But if someone asked you to define what a value system is, what would you say? If it's always some sort of an abstract definition, here's a way to simplify it. Values are simply what you believe and how you choose to live your life based on those beliefs. Your values should be the foundation that determines what (and who) you prioritize in your life. It should also help you to figure out what you want your future to look like.

Say that you value your family. If you're offered a job that will give you more money but will also require you to work twice as much as you do now, if you make a decision based on your value system, you'll probably pass on that gig. What it would cost your family dynamic isn't worth the bump in pay.

So yes, when making a decision, the first thing to consider is what your values are and what choice will affirm vs. compromise them.

Figure Out What You Would Tell Someone Else.

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Most of us are experts at giving others good advice. But somehow, when it comes to our own selves, we struggle. Why is that? Because when it comes to us, we're biased. We're also more emotional about our own issues than other people's stuff.

Don't believe me? Think about the last time you gave advice to a girlfriend about a man in her life who was puttin' it down and also not treating her right simultaneously. Now think about the last man who did you the same way. Did you take the advice that you gave ole' girl? If so, how long did it take you to actually follow through?

Some of the best insight is what we would offer the people we care about. When trying to make a decision, think about what you would tell a family member or friend if they were in that same situation. Then try and do what you just advised.

Think About Your Life a Year from Now.

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If you make a decision based on a temptation, one of the main problems with that is you're probably only focused on the now. Eat that extra slice of cake now. Have sex with that fine man now. Spend money you don't have to buy an outfit you don't really need now. But if all you do is focus on the here and now, you could look up in six months or a year later and realize that giving in to your temptations resulted in your life being a total mess.

A good decision-maker doesn't only care about how a choice affects the present. They do their best to consider how it will impact their future too.

Remember That Indecision IS Decision.

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A Jewish philosopher by the name of Maimonides once said, "The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision." I've wasted a lot of time not believing these pearls of wisdom, not so much when it comes to the choices I've made, but as it relates to allowing people in my life to be stagnant when it came to making decisions that directly affected me.

Nothing good comes from procrastinating. Nothing good comes from indecision either. All they do is encourage you to totally disrespect your time. And time? That's one thing you can never get back.

When you've got a decision to make…make it.

Jeff Jahn, the CEO of the software company DynamiX offers up some good food for thought about the patterns related to our decisions:

"Most of what we face each day is similar to other scenarios we have already experienced. By understanding this, it's possible to quickly map a range of previous experiences and their outcomes. Leverage those to arrive at the most viable decision for this case. Over time, as you continue making decisions, their speed and quality will improve."

I really like this because it's a reminder that we should only do what we've done before if that choice worked for our greater good in times past. Otherwise, we probably need to step out of the box a bit.

How far out? That depends. What does your gut instinct tell you?

How much can you trust it? Quite a bit. Not only is your gut shaped by your past choices but also the wisdom you've gained from that. If you add to that the fact that your intuition is literally connected to the nerves in your body, well—it's a confirmation of what I often tell people.

We are comprised of our mind, body, and spirit. All three are designed to live in harmony. When one of them is not in sync with the others, it's a flag that something is "off".

That's why, when you need to make a big decision, your gut should also come into play. If you listen to and honor it, you won't have to waste time (and go crazy) asking a billion other people. So long as your mind, body, and spirit are at peace, you can be too.

You'll be able to co-sign with Caroline Kennedy when she said, "When you make the right decision, it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks."

The decision will be made. You can be proud. And both your present and future will thrive because of it.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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