Category Archives: Decision Gates

some truth about compromise

What it most often ends up as: The mutual exchange of inequities.

What it very seldom is: The optimal way to get more for all and less for none.

Consider: The “Next Best Thing” is in fact often a whole lot farther away from “The Best Thing” than you may think.

approve of your self…. yourself!

Here’s the simple logic as to why your own approval of yourself is really what counts.

Can anyone other that you truly know what really matters to you and what you want out of life? Nope. 

Accordingly, your own approval of yourself should be a priority that eclipses anyone else’s approval of you. 

Hidden Bonus: Gaining your own approval is the first critical step on the path to earning your own self-respect.

invest in yourself

One big problem with Social & Family Obligation is that it preaches “invest in others!”.

While the spirit of this advice is laudable, it compels well-intentioned people to attempt to “invest” their time, energy & effort – their lives really – into others. Unfortunately, the common outcome eventually experienced is feelings of futility, disappointment, resentment or bitter regret from having spent their years investing in others at the expense of investing in themselves. 

Why does this happen? Because people confuse contribution with investment. It is not possible to invest in another person – only yourself! E.g. When you give “help” to someone, it can be by default a wonderful contribution to their life, but it is not an investment. So consider what you generously gave as spent and have no expectation of a return on that spending. This is one reality of human nature. 

In fact, the only way that helping anyone can ever truly result in any valuable return on your efforts at all is if & only if they themselves invest whatever you gave them into themselves; sadly this happens very rarely. 

Bottom line: contributing to the lives of others is desirable because it is kindness, but you can really only invest in yourself. But when you take that responsibility you can expect ROI: valuable returns on that invested energy & effort. Go for it.

how to attain true freedom

The Scenario: We all want “freedom”. Or think we do. But were you aware that achieving it is entirely dependent upon whether you are pushing or pulling? Read on…..


FREEDOM FROM – this desire is rooted in the types of emotions associated with: ”Don’t miss!”

Insight: As you can surmise, the DNA of FREEDOM FROM is really avoidance; you want to feel free of some negative force or set of conditions. The emotional factors in play here are primarily doubt and fear, because these are the things you are pushing away from in your quest to obtain freedom.


FREEDOM TO – this desire is rooted in the types of emotions associated with: ”Hit it out of the park!”

Insight:  The DNA of FREEDOM TO is the expansive spirit of reaching ahead; you are driven by confidence and determined self-reliance to achieve. The emotional factor in play here is primarily a powerful belief in yourself as the vehicle through which you will obtain your freedom.


The Takeaway:  FREEDOM FROM leads only to feelings of futility, because the harder you try to push away from the doubts & fears to which you are clinging, the tighter your grip on them – and theirs on you!

On the contrary, FREEDOM TO pulls you ever forward, and so it alone can lead to cultivating an independent spirit, the only true freedom we can experience.

As always, the choice is yours – make every effort to pick one you’ll be happy living with.


don’t be expecting the unexpected

The Scenario: You’re looking to the future. You want to make sound plans. You want to feel confident that you are making the right decisions based on…..expectation or anticipation?

EXPECTATION originates from assumptions based on a sequence of logic or strategy that certain outcomes will occur. Being rational – based on facts or data – the object of EXPECTATION is usually a possible or likely sequence of events.

Insight: EXPECTATIONS are an important resource because they dynamically fit into a network of future planning; you can guide your plans via EXPECTATIONS arrived at through some method of reasoning.


ANTICIPATION originates from hope that some positive outcome will occur, or worry that some negative outcome will transpire. Being emotional – based on impressions or associations – the object of ANTICIPATION is usually a single event or scenario or circumstance.

Insight: ANTICIPATION is not very reliable for planning, insofar as you must simply wait for an outcome to transpire, evaluate whether it was positive or negative, and then respond accordingly.


The Takeaway:  Since an expected outcome is a sequence of events, EXPECTATION allows you to leap-frog ahead in planning; potentially very useful. But since the sequence of events that culminate in an anticipated outcome are static and closed-ended, ANTICIPATION often proves itself an empty vessel.

being lazy? or just avoiding something?

The Scenario: You just don’t feel like doing something that you know you really should be doing – especially for yourself. Are you simply being lazy?

LAZINESS comes from apathy born of a deep-rooted sense of futility.

 Insight: Many people who feel themselves “lazy” are in fact quite the opposite! Unfortunately they often appear lazy when they are really just insufficiently trained to challenge their doubts. It is usually nagging doubts that whatever action they could take would prove ineffectual that prevents them from taking any action. Fact is, most people are not lazy, just afraid.


AVOIDANCE comes from avoiding conflict – either internal or external.

 Insight: Many people who have a tendency to avoid conflict with other people also have a tendency to avoid internal conflict. Thing is, avoiding internal conflict can often prevent you from exercising the internal muscles necessary to overcome your doubts.


The Takeaway:  It is important to never label your AVOIDANCE as LAZINESS.  When you find yourself being too passive, don’t waste time & energy feeling guilty with meaningless statements like “I am being LAZY….”.

Instead, try this 3-step exercise: First, admit that “I am avoiding something!”. Next, figure out “What exactly is it that I am avoiding?”  I guarantee that once you’ve gained insight & clarity into the third part, “Why am I avoiding it?”, you will find yourself invigorated with an unanticipated sense of freedom & power.

So shrug off AVOIDANCE and enjoy being excellent!

confuse emotion with conviction at your peril

The Scenario: You know you’re going to make a critical decision, but you want to know: Is my key driver here emotion or conviction? What’s the difference?

EMOTION and its outputs are ephemeral.

Insight: A decision made in or based on EMOTION has built-in escape hatches. Which means ultimately that decision has no stamina, no power, and it’s tough to ever have any real confidence in it.

CONVICTION is a potent & limitless fuel supply.

Insight: A decision based on CONVICTION is a decision based on a Principle; it may have to be “qualified” with a proviso at times to be functional, but this never operates as an escape hatch.

The Takeaway:  Doesn’t every conviction originate with an emotion in the first place? Yep. The key is that as you mature, you must identify & select certain emotions, then try, test, and transform them into conviction.

How? You can start with an emotional thought, but then strip away everything unreasonable or irrelevant. Then, whatever becomes visible as an underlying Principle is the reason you feel the way you do, regardless of circumstance; it is upon this Principle that your conviction is based.

Remember: Conviction is not, and should never feel like, a ‘dead weight’; instead, it should feel like and function as fuel for excelling yourself!