Decisions, Decisions

Decisions are part of our everyday life ranging from what to eat for dinner to how to respond to someone’s snide comment. We all face choices—big and small—everyday. So, how do you decide? What drives you to choose one option over another?

When you make a big decision, you most likely weigh pros and cons or visualize the effects of each choice. On the other hand, when you make smaller, last-minute decisions, you might rely more on a hunch or gut feeling to guide you. The decision might be so small that you don’t even realize you’re making a choice. Regardless, something affects your decision.

7 Self-Driven Factors

Recently, Rawhide’s Starr Academy added a new topic, Bullying, to the Life Skills course. Sponsored by Life Promotions, a local organization that instills hope in youth to pave the way for a better future, this course taught how to resist and stand up against bullying. The instructor, Anna, facilitated a discussion one day about 7 factors that affect our everyday decisions—even a bully’s decision to bully. She called them the 7 Ps.

  1. Physical appearanceWill this make me look good?
  2. PerformanceWill I do well?
  3. PossessionsWill I keep what I have or gain more?
  4. PopularityWill I keep my friends or make new friends?
  5. Pleasure Will this make me feel good?
  6. PowerWill I keep control or get more?
  7. PrestigeWill people still respect me?

Which is Most Important?

Anna questioned the guys. Which of these is most important to you? Stop and think for a moment—which factor affects your decisions the most?
After listening to some of the guys give their answers, which included an assortment of the 7 Ps, Erik* made an interesting observation. “The more certain you are that these 7 factors will not impact that decision, the easier your decision will be.” At least that’s what it seems like, right? In today’s society, basing a decision on these factors seems to make you happier and your life easier. But we know from experience that any happiness and ease derived from these motivating factors is usually fleeting.

Good or Bad?

If you notice, all the questions in the 7 Ps list are self-focused. How will this decision affect me? As the classroom conversation continued, the guys began to realize the danger of the 7 Ps. They noticed that making a decision based on these 7 factors often leads to negative results. For example, in order to maintain popularity or gain power, you might choose to put down or bully someone else.
So Anna asked another question—can the 7 Ps be good? Donny* chimed in and said, with the right priorities, they can be good. Jim* added, when you forget about the important things in life—that’s when they can be bad. The guys shifted their perspective and began focusing more on the well-being of others.

8 Spirit-Driven Factors

How about a different set of decision-making factors altogether especially when it pertains to how we treat others? Anna brought up a new list that is more others-focused and less self-focused. She called them Fruits of the Spirit:

  1. LoveWill I show love to others?
  2. JoyWill I be joyful?
  3. PeaceWill I keep peace with others?
  4. Patience Will I be patient with others?
  5. Kindness Will I be kind to others?
  6.  GoodnessWill I be good to others?
  7. GentlenessWill I be gentle to others?
  8. Self-ControlWill I have self-control?

These factors encourage us to consider how our decisions affect others, and can lead to positive personal results as well. Although our human tendency is to focus on the immediate results of the 7 Ps, the 8 fruits of the Spirit bring lasting comfort.

*Names changed to protect anonymity.

Tell Us

  1. What influences your decisions?
  2. Have you ever bullied? Why?
  3. Do you agree with the 7Ps? 8 Fruits of the Spirit? Why or Why not?