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We are told what to do at some point by just about everyone we know. Your boss tells you what to do, so do your parents, friends, spouse, family members, and even commercials. It can seem like you don’t have a choice in the matter. If someone who has authority over you tells you what to do, you had better do it or else. . .  . It is the “or else” that you should think about.

What would happen if you said no? What if you said yes but decided to do it a different way? Whatever you told to do, it is up to you do decide if you are going to do it. If you decide to do it, it is still up to you to decide how you are going to do it (their way or your way).

Making the decision may seem like an easy road. You may think that you can just do what you want. You must also consider the results of your decision. You have to live with the results of your actions. You will either benefit or suffer from these results. With decisions comes responsibility. Whatever you decide, you need to own the decision and the result.

When someone tells you to do something:

  • Decide what you are going to do. Determine the benefits and the consequences. If I decide to not do my project, I may be able to do what I want and have fun with my family but also risk missing my deadline or live with the burden and guilt of putting off my project. If I decide to do my project, I may miss having fun with my family now but will be able to have guilt free fun later after I meet my deadline and may be recognized for my good work.
  • If you decide to take action, take full ownership. Once you decide to take action, it is your total responsibility, even if you don’t get a good result. You may allow others to influence your decision but ultimately it is up to you to take the action.
  • If you decide not to take action, take full ownership. Once you decide to not take action, you need to be able to defend it to yourself and possibly others.
If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it. – Marcus Aurelius

What difficult decisions have you had to make? Read comments here or create your own comment below.