It’s funny how occasionally you find little nuggets of wisdom in the most bizarre places.
Being a bit of a geek I love a good bit of Science Fiction but when I sat down to watch Michael Bay’s 2007 film “Transformers”, I certainly didn’t expect to find any nuggets of wisdom in the 144 minute story about giant intelligent robots arriving on earth.
Turns out I was wrong.
I was sat watching the scene where a confused Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) first attempt to have a conversation with one of the robots, which promptly turns into a car and opens it’s drivers door. Mikaela understandably has concerns about entering the vehicle to which Sam replies:
“Fifty years from now when you’re looking back at your life, don’t you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?”
The Power of Decisions
How many decisions do you make in a day? Probably at lot more than you realise.
Let’s say you are woken by your alarm clock on a weekday morning. Think about your response to that noise going off in your bedroom.
Having awoken you probably:
- Decide to silence the alarm
- Decide that your left arm is best placed to do this
- Decide you can stay in bed a few more minutes
- Decide therefore to aim for the snooze button and having silenced the alarm you probably…
- Decide to bring your arm back into the warm of the covers
That’s 5 decisions already and you haven’t even got up yet!
Once you do crawl out of bed there are decisions around whether or not to have breakfast, what to have, where to eat it, what to eat it out of and whether or not you can be bothered to clear up afterwards. Getting dressed is a similar mass of decisions and you haven’t even thought about leaving the house yet.
We make a LOT of decisions. In fact I have even heard experts define life as simply the sum of the decisions we make. A little cold you may think, but I can see why they would consider this viewpoint. If we stopped making decisions we would not eat, or drink, or move, and ultimately die.
Every action we take follows a decision. It’s certainly true that the decisions we make are the biggest defining factor of the life we lead.
So what happens when we change those decisions?
Before we make any decision we of course need information.
We need an understanding of what the decision we are making really is about, so that we can consider the possible implications of deciding one way or another. The question then becomes where do we get that information from and this is a question of great significance.
Some of our decisions are of course based on our own previous experience, analysed in a very logical way to extract the best learning. Some are based on organised learning at school which, providing the source of the information is good, can also be reliable.
Some information however can be less reliable.
We may use information passed from others that can’t be traced to a reliable source.
Some of our information is likely based on us mimicking the behaviour of parents during childhood. For example a young child seeing a parent or trusted adult responding in fear to something harmless, such as an spider, will continue to mimic that fear response throughout their life. This results in some very over the top reactions to a genuinely harmless creature.
That’s not to say there aren’t places in the world where this isn’t an appropriate response but here in the UK it really serves no purpose.
Then there are unpleasant experiences blown out of proportion. For example a fear of dogs following a nasty bite from a single animal.
Plus of course there is the often unquestioned duplication of the opinions of our peer group.
Now in truth of course we have to rely for a large part on the information we receive from other people and trust that it is sound. Imagine having to test every fact you were ever told. You wouldn’t get very far in life, but we can observe the results of each decision we make and question whether this decision in hindsight was the best we could have made.
This sounds obvious but happens much more rarely than it should.
Think about the information you use to base your decisions on and ask yourself where that information comes from. Look at the decisions you have made. Which have improved your life and which have held you back?
Many of us were taught for years that the route to prosperity was to get a good job and work hard towards the company’s objectives, whether they are in keeping with your own values or not. We were taught that security came from working for a single company for as long as possible.
I questioned this information and the decisions I was making based on it. I questioned whether they were serving me or not and subsequently became part of the Six Figure Mentors community where I found out that these ideas are both flawed and that it is completely possible to have more prosperity and greater security doing what I love and not working for anyone but myself. I’ll come back to this in a later post.
Ask yourself, which of the decisions you make are not helping you reach the vision you have for your future and ask yourself why do you keep making them?
Changing your decisions
So what happens when we change our decisions? Well quite simply we change our lives.
When we decide to do something different, we get something different. When we make better decisions we get better results.
Again sounds obvious, but so many people repeatedly make the same decisions again and again and then are disappointed when they get the same outcome.
Change your decisions = Change your life
What did it take to get in the car?
This was an action that was clearly outside both Sam’s and Mikaela’s comfort zone. So what does it take?
What does it take to do those things that exist outside your comfort zone. What does it take to do those things that you want to do but have never dared. Many personal growth experts will tell you that outside your comfort zone is where you will grow, and learn and really live life to the fullest.
Ever wanted to go bungie jumping? Sky jumping? Skiing? Exploring new places? Ever wanted to try something new but never quite been able to bring yourself to. What is it you need to step outside your comfort zone and make the best of the life you live?
Many people feel they need something to make this leap into the unfamiliar but in truth all they need, is to make a different decision.
Sure you may need time, or money, or knowledge but those are things that you can get easily if you put your mind to it, but inside all you need is to make a different decision.
All it took to get into the car was a decision.
When you make a decision to stop living inside your comfort zone, to ditch your fears, your insecurity and your excuses, to ditch the flawed information that is holding you back and instead make new decisions, then you can make the most of the time you have ahead of you. Anything that has ever been achieved by a human being is then yours to experience.
So next time an opportunity to experience something new comes along, don’t decide to walk away.
Be the type of person who gets in the car.