When you reach a crisis or decision point in your life, it is natural to get opinions from other people as to what you should do. While this helps to provide perspective, remember to take your own counsel. And make sure that the final decision is yours and yours alone.
Why you should take your own counsel
1. You know yourself best
No matter how well another person knows you, they cannot know you as well as you know yourself. There is no way that another person can know all your dreams, hopes and fears. Family or close friends may sometimes be very adamant that they know what’s best for you and insist that you follow their advice. While they do want the best for you, they simply cannot know what’s best. Only you can.
2. Making decisions forms character
It’s easier to outsource your thinking and let someone else decide the best course of action. This is fine for small matters in life like what to eat for dinner or which movie to watch this weekend. When you do this for big decisions, however, you are short-changing yourself. You are depriving yourself of the struggle and stretching required to form the muscle of your character.
3. You learn best by doing
Many people fear making mistakes and shy away from big decisions because they are afraid of making the wrong move. Yet making a bad decision is better than not making a decision at all, because it provides a learning opportunity. Personal growth is not a spectator sport. Successful people say they learn more from their mistakes than their successes. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn, and in the long run become wiser and stronger.
4. You own your life
When someone else makes the decisions for you, you’re just going along for the ride. Life may work out fine, but you don’t feel the passion and exhilaration of living to the full. When you are in the driver’s seat, you take ownership of the journey. You see more of the scenery, and feel a sense of achievement when you arrive.
Take your own counsel, and let others take theirs too
You may occasionally be approached by others who want your opinion as to what they should do. It’s flattering to be approached this way, and in our effort to live up to the other person’s expectations, we try to give advice. Yet this is not good for the other person.
Just like you, only they know themselves and their situations in detail. They too are better off making their own decisions, learning, and owning their life.
When you can take your own counsel, you’re much more likely to respect others’ right to do the same.