I’m a rebel. However, you may not know that (though you may have suspected it) because a lot of — maybe too many of — my seemingly “rebellious” actions over the years have been tempered by two things: expectations and consequences. In fact, I think — for better or for worse — a lot of the decisions I make in my life have to do with the consequences of the possible outcomes of making certain decisions (especially the “rebellious” ones).
I think growing up it was probably mostly others’ expectations that caused me to act in certain ways — or, to put it another way, the “fear” of the possible consequences if I didn’t do what was expected of me. (I put “fear” in quotations here because I wasn’t afraid like one is afraid of punishment or monsters, but more fear in an abstract sense of not wanting to let anyone down.) I stayed away from certain parties b/c I knew there would be alcohol, and that’s just not what was expected of me. Getting A’s was what was expected, and I didn’t want to mess that up either. I’m not saying this was good or bad, but it’s probably my — logic.
Even decisions I make now I know I make because of the consequences. If I choose not to download music for free, it’s because I know there could be thousand of dollars in penalties waiting in the wings. If I don’t smoke marijuana, it may have a little to do with being caught and paying a fine (and maybe still some of those expectations), but more that it’s possible Mary Jane might trigger psychotic illnesses (and then I use Google to help spell Alzheimer’s and see that marijuana my actually help with that disease — go figure).
Sometimes it’s dumb not to make decisions based on possible consequences — like always buckling up in a car or wearing my helmet while biking — but am I in a healthy place in terms of how I make decisions? Part of it, too, is that there have definitely been times (some very recently) where I’ve made decisions without thinking at all about the possible (negative) consequences, and the outcomes have not at all been what I had hoped for in the situation.
So what really are good ways to make decisions? Should I continue to think about the consequences, but only as one part of the puzzle? And if so, what other things do I need to take into consideration? Am I not taking enough risks?(I’m sure some of you would answer with a strong “are you kidding me?”) Is there some point where a person can just let their decisions happen and accept the outcome, no matter what it might be?
On a bit of a related note, I’m attempting to start living my life (especially relationally) with more of a “non-attachment to the outcome” philosophy. How does that relate to decision making and thinking about consequences? Perhaps a topic for another blog (or some of your comments).