The Very Best Skill or Ability to Have

Daily writing prompt
What’s a secret skill or ability you have or wish you had?

This morning, while updating some event dates on my website for my art and music life, I stumbled upon a “Daily Writing Prompt” from WordPress, my website platform. The prompt is: What’s a secret skill or ability you have or wish you had?

Looking through some of the responses that others have posted, I saw a lot of wishes to teleport, read minds, fly, move objects, be smart, be funny, be super strong. I paused a moment and day-dreamed of myself being able to fly, time-travel, walk through walls, etc. Nope. Not for me. While all of that would be cool, I think my life would be most positively changed by gaining the ability to make decisions. Preferably, to make great decisions.

The Struggle is Real

Making decisions has always been hard for me. Whether it is a decision regarding relationships, career moves, investments, art, fashion, health, it doesn’t matter. I tend to vacillate between choices, spiraling into a frenzy of stress and panic over all of these decisions equally. Should I take this job? Is this a person I should marry? What kind of shoes should I wear? Should I start learning German or Norwegian? Would I be happier if I moved away or stayed in this city? Is playing in this band a good use of my time? When should I retire? Should I eat less peanut butter? Is it better to paint animals or abstracts? I am so stressed by any decisions that all decisions, big or small, can send me reeling.

The funny thing is, making decisions does not require any sci-fi or supernatural magic. But it does require some skills that feel elusive just the same.

Know Thyself

I think that in order to make good decisions, you must first take some real time to think about yourself and nail down your own personal values. Identify which things are most important to you, and only you. Free time? Success? Love? Connection? New experiences? Familiarity and comfort? Honesty? Beautiful Scenery? It really could be anything because it is personal. No one else can tell you what your values ARE. School, religion, family and society will try to guide you toward what THEY WANT them to be or what they think they COULD or SHOULD be. However, they are your values and only you can know what they truly are. And knowing what these values truly are will change everything for you.

Be Selfish

The second part of making good decisions is the ability to be a bit selfish. I don’t mean that you should be an uncaring, arrogant jerk that won’t share a sandwich or pick up a friend at the airport. What I mean is that you have to be mindful that this decision is yours, for you. Look at how this choice will affect you and your life first. If you are primarily concerned about the impact this choice will have on others first, then you are just trying to please, impress or comfort others, and this can cause you to continue questioning and not feel settled with your decision.

I think it is a common situation. You may ask your friend “Should I take this job or that job?” a hundred times, but you can’t really take their advice and feel satisfied until you hear the answer that matches what you truly wanted to hear in the first place. The answer is already known by you deep down in accordance with your values and what is best for you. However, you can’t recognize it until you come to terms with your values and what you want for your own self. You will keep asking your friend because you want to hear that your choice is okay with them. This is trying to please other people, not yourself. This will cause a good deal of spiraling.

Books to Help

When I was really struggling with some hard decisions of my own, I found two books that helped me a great deal. The first is “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson and the second is “Unfu*k Yourself” by Gary John Bishop. These two books were just what I needed to get a good grip on my personal values (what to give a f*ck about) and how to be healthfully selfish (how to get out of my own f*cking way and worry about my own self first.)

While decisions are still something I struggle with constantly, good decision making is a skill I know I am capable of acquiring if I keep my values and my self in mind. If you find this and read this, I hope you will let me know if it helped you or if you have found other insight to help you develop this very best skill to have.

Don’t get me wrong, I would also love to have the skill or ability to fly, but I can’t decide where I would go first anyway.

2 thoughts on “The Very Best Skill or Ability to Have

  1. Interesting post. I have found that my good decisions usually seem to make themselves. I’m not sure how that happens.

    More important for me is how to avoid making bad decisions. Here’s a few things I have learned.
    Decisions made at 4 a.m. are rarely good decisions.
    Decisions based on resentment are never good decisions.
    Decisions made in anger are rarely good decisions. It has to do with evaluating the anger. If the anger is based on a clear and present threat, it is worth listening to, but re evaluate it later. Remember that the root of anger is usually fear.
    Decisions made in fear are similar. The first step is to evaluate the fear. I can think of a few decisions based on fear that turned out to be life saving decisions.
    Good decisions require listening to both my brain and my heart. When they disagree, rather than disregarding one of them, I find it’s time to sit (metaphorically speaking) and listen and find out why they disagree.

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