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How Do We Make the Right Decisions?

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Trick or treat? Fish or meat? Clean or neat? Let’s keep this article upbeat. A small joke. What is a podiatrist’s favourite saying? It’s the thrill of victory and the agony of ‘de feet’. Just in time.

Decisions need to be made. Left or right, perhaps wrong or right, is the way to proceed. Perhaps, maybe or maybe not, we decide.

Last year, like in most years, many people around the US made a decision on the first Tuesday of November. Yes, on Election Day, when individuals made their choices from a myriad of different candidates. Every four years, this includes voting for someone for president.

It isn’t overly difficult, and our civic right as citizens is to cast our ballots and pick people to represent us. Maybe not for all of us. Remember, a non-vote is still considered a decision. Choices, too many choices; they are all always around us.

There is a process called informed choice. By definition, informed choice means that people make decisions consistent with each person’s goals and values. This is achieved when individuals receive good and accurate information before any conclusions and decisions are made.

How peer specialists support decision-making by showing all the options and enabling all to the place each of us wishes to pick. This is with all types of situations, including politics and medicine.

Decisions we all have to make them. Some are good, and some are bad. For the record, a no decision is still a decision, so pick something. Every day, one makes many decisions as a peer specialist, just like mankind and women worldwide. Of course, this often becomes an extremely mind-boggling experience. Boom! chin up; it generally gets better. By the way, what colour is our parachute?

What is important to me may not be important to you, and what’s crucial to you may not be supreme to others. This is what is called our values or a value system. We, as peer specialists, find what we can do to help people make a major step in their lives, but many others, often those with authority, do not always agree and make the choices for them.

Almost everything we do on any day revolves around options. It begins as soon as we wake up. Shall I get up now or hit the snooze button again? Do we decide which comes first, the left or right sleeve? Which pants to wear, what colour shirt, etc.

As peer specialists and following all of us as humans, we all have the capacity to make educated choices that will aid us through the entire day and all the subsequent days to come.

Effective decision-making has many steps. Gee, for that matter, doesn’t everything have steps? Too little or too much information can cloud effective options. When different peer specialists are involved, each peer has their values, but one individual will have to make the ultimate pick.

Some peer specialists have a specific interest in a particular situation, so that person is the one designated to make the final call. Hard to believe, but eventually, someone does.

Peer specialists, like all humans, often like things the way they are (status quo) and either procrastinate or let someone else decide. Right or wrong, yes, that is one’s decision.

My thinking is that when we are helping an individual, we feed information to make it easier, but ultimately the decision is left to that person. The reverse is true also, so we are receiving assistance; the decision is ours of what occurs next.

As peer specialists, we want our value system and resolve to carry this to new heights as we continue our journey through life’s muck and mire.

We aspire to get ahead, even when it seems hopeless. We can be scared or afraid, and that is OK.

Attempting something is important here and becomes vital to our overall future as human beings. All is not lost; we can and will succeed as long as we are still alive and kicking. Not the football or soccer ball, silly; that’s just but a saying.

One of my hopes for me and all of us is not to be rushed, coerced or forced into any decision, right or wrong. Remember that whether we try or not, we always do our best.

Most importantly, make it our decision, not someone else’s. We can do this. Yes, we really can. That’s the big treat, and it’s not a trick.

Howard Diamond is a certified peer specialist from Long Island.


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