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How to Live with a Potentially Bad Decision

Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame. ~Erica Jong

Now that Iím 41 years old, I can look back at all of the decisions I made in my 20s and have no regrets. Not one. With age comes perspective, and I can see I made the best decisions I could considering my temperament, experience level, support systems, life skills training (or lack thereof) and the information I had at the time.

However just this week I made a major life decisionóI turned down an opportunity that looked wonderful but just wasnít right for me. For more than 8 months, Iíd been contemplating my options then practically out of the blue, I rashly said that I could not do it shocking many peopleóincluding myself.

The dye has been cast, but now Iím second guessing myself. Did I make the right decision? It still has the potential to be a bad one as the consequences have yet to reveal themselves. Iím so afraid Iíll regret it that Iím tempted to go back to try to undo it.

This strong urge is tempered by four decades of experience. If all of the questionable decisions I made in my 20s ended up being okay, might this one turn out alright as well? The problem is I did not want to wait 20 years to find out!

Then I remembered the story about the farmer. Itís a famous story Iíve come across 100 times in self-help literature. Once long ago there was a farmer who had a horse. One day the horse runs away and everyone felt sorry for the farmer, except the farmer himself. Later the horse comes back bringing two wild horses with him and everyone rejoices in the farmerís good fortune. However the farmer says ďhow do you know this is a good thing?" The farmerís son adored the new wild horses and rode them frequently. Unfortunately during one of his rides he was thrown injuring his leg. Everyone felt sorry for him until a war broke out and because he was injured the farmerís son did not have to fight.

The moral of the story is to not get too happy or too sad about anything that happens to you because you just never know.

So how can I put all of this into practice when I think of my potentially bad decision?

I can move on. If I tried to go back now and undo the decision I made, Iíd look really, really foolish, so my best bet is to begin to look toward the future.


I can stay in the moment. I made the decision and the world didnít end. Iím sitting here typing this. Iím still in good health, with a roof over head etc. All is well right now and according to Elkhart Tolle, the now is really all we have. Everything is fine and if something horrendous happens tomorrow, Iíll deal with it.

Which brings me to my next point. If the other shoe does drop because of my decisionÖ

I can trust myself to handle any outcome. Doubting myself is a way of not fully taking responsibility for my actions. When I make a choice, I must accept all that comes with it. If I make a mess, I must clean it up. There very well may be problems as a result of this decision. And if there are, Iíll write them down and solve them one by one.

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