JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS - February 2020
The Year of Seeing Clearly
By Jude LaClaire, Ph.D.
Every day, we face situations that require us to make choices that range from simple to complex, from easy to difficult. There are times when a decision must be made quickly with little chance to consider options. Practicing sound and effective ways to make clear decisions can give us the skill to make both quick decisions and more contemplative ones.
The real criteria for decisions come from all of our life experiences, both negative and positive, and the principles and values we form as we mature. Listening to some of the young teens involved in the Parkland High School shooting on February 14, 2018, we see individuals who showed us their values. Within days, a campaign began called “March for Our Lives.” There were many speeches, gatherings, media coverage, and the beginning of many political actions to change gun violence. The result was national awareness and the strengthening of the existing calls for gun control. Florida laws were changed.
Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg has become a worldwide phenomenon, challenging all people, organizations, and nations to think about climate change and what needs to happen to prevent more disasters. Her groundbreaking speeches are included in the book No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference. No matter our age, our decision-making processes and our actions based on those decisions are important aspects of our everyday lives.
Robert Downey was asked in a recent interview what mantra he lives by. He replied, “The rules are the tools, which means if you are wondering what to do, then take the principles that you live by and use those…the same spiritual principles apply to everything.”
Think about the values or beliefs that influenced you growing up. Have you evaluated them by asking which ones you embrace? What are your current beliefs or values, and do they work for you? As constantly maturing people, our beliefs or values may change and new ones may develop.
Following a decision-making protocol enables us to process information, old and new. This simple five-step process, applied with patience and perseverance, can help:
• Identify your goal.
• Gather information for weighing your options.
• Consider the consequences.
• Make your decision.
• Evaluate your decision.
Obstacles to effective and good decision making include:
• Being impulsive, perhaps ignoring data and impact on people.
• Fearing taking risks.
• Making decisions without adequate information.
• Considering only your experience or area of expertise.
• Being a loner in decision making.
• Having only one solution.
• Not having good follow-up.
• Not delegating decision making to others.
Racial, ethnic, religious, and gender stereotypes can influence our decision-making processes. Women often question their own abilities, while their male counterparts can be influenced by prevailing beliefs about women’s inadequacies. Minorities understand, and research verifies, that people who mask their race on resumes have better success in getting job interviews. In one study, the researchers created resumes for black and Asian applicants, sending them out for 1,600 entry-level positions. Some of the resumes included information that was scrubbed of racial clues. While 25 percent of black candidates received callbacks from their scrubbed resumes, only 10 percent received calls when they left ethnic details intact. Among Asians, 21 percent got calls based on scrubbed resumes, while only about 12 percent heard back if the resumes had racial references.
Being able to wisely evaluate the foundations of our choices, and to change them as needed, are worthy goals. I challenge myself, and each of you, to think more clearly about these aspects of decision-making. Ask the hard questions about your unconscious biases and your strongly held beliefs that may be grounded in misinformation or your own fears. Be courageous and try to see more clearly, making better decisions and taking positive action.
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Jude LaClaire, Ph.D., LCPC, is a counselor, educator and author. For counseling appointments, seminars, training, speaking engagements or information on Neurobehavioral Programs or Imago Couple therapy call 913-322-5622. For more information about Jude LaClaire or the Kansas City Holistic Centre go to