Reflection Leads to Better DecisionsAugust 18, 2010
We are told in the Bible that Jesus of Nazareth spent all night alone, deciding which of his followers would be the co-leaders in his movement. He chose 12 men, and some would say he chose very poorly. One of his choices betrayed him in the end. Most of the rest ran away when he was arrested. Two of his followers were political revolutionaries and one was a lackey/informant for the military police of the day.
But he himself makes clear that he chose these 12, all the while knowing their weaknesses. What I note is he spent all night making the decision. He spent all night ALONE making the decision. He reflected on the personal qualities of all his closest disciples, on the voice of God, on the needs of the movement. During this deep reflection, he did not use a “Lifeline” to call a friend or poll the audience. He used a technique called Deep Reflection to make up his mind.
Since we are mostly a society of reaction-oriented people, Deep Reflection is almost a lost art. This lack of reflection nets us bad decisions. In the words of Miracle Max in “The Princess Bride” who says “Don’t rush me sonny…you rush a miracle-worker, you get rotten miracles.” When you rush decisions, you get rotten decisions.
Reflective decisions carefully weigh the importance of all factors. Reactive decisions grab hold of whichever factors look most important at a glance.
Reflective decisions can lay aside personal bias and emotion and seek the way that turns out wise. Reactive decisions are all bias, quick logic or emotion. After all, without reflection, Jesus never would have chosen Judas or Matthew.
Reflective decisions can look two or three “moves” ahead to see the consequences. Reactive decisions are often shocked at the consequences; a reactive mind doesn’t look ahead, it just looks around. Think of the kid who steals a car because his girlfriend is crying over the cell phone that she wants to run away. If he reflected, he would realize in six months he’ll have forgotten her name.
Reflective decisions can embrace the hardest path. Reactive decisions often follow the path of least resistance. Both times I changed my career path, it was because of several weeks of walking, praying and thinking. I counsel young people these days who can change career paths twice in a week.