Step Away from the Ledge

Jinto! /

Whelp, just finished watching the Bachelor finale. I do wish I had followed my initial instinct and quit watching weeks ago.


Or never even started.


Point taken, I Will Not be watching the next season. Not even if someone tells me I’ll win $1,000 and a round trip ticket to an exotic location where I can be a part of the peanut gallery and mock the poor people trying to find true love by participating in a romance competition.


I watched Ben do his thing and thought about all the people I know who seem determined to set themselves up for failure. Because, while the Bachelor is played out to a national audience, Ben is not uncommon in setting himself up for a rough road.


There have been many times I’ve made decisions that made life more difficult. I bet you’ve been guilty as well.


So, how do you avoid becoming a buffoon? (And, yes, I giggled when I wrote “buffoon”.)


Write it Down. One of my new techniques it to write down what’s wrong with the situation while I’m in the midst of it. I spend so much time stuck in my head I’m able to identify the problem(s) most of the time.


So, I’m writing a list — call it a letter to my future self — noting what works and doesn’t work. I’m hoping this approach will help keep me from the mud pit in the future when a similar situation comes up.


Speak Up. I’m making a commitment that if I have a strong, reasoned explanation for my gut hunch someone I love is making a horrible choice, I’m going to tell them. I’ll give them specific reasons for my opinion and I’ll underlay the conversation with the assurance I will love them regardless, but I’m not going to sit by and watch people walk into booby traps without a warning.


I think of it like this: I want my child to learn to walk, and they need to fall to learn. Keeping them from falling is not reasonable and not best for either of us. But if that child starts toddling toward a flight of stairs, I’m going to intervene quickly to keep them from major harm. I’m going to be that kind of friend.


Ask Questions, Listen to Answers. I have a deep-seated belief founded from my journalistic days: Everybody has a story. Many times people are shy about telling their stories, which makes their real story — the good stuff! — about four questions deep.


I want to be a person who learns from other people’s stories. That means I must take the time to ask the questions and sincerely listen to the answers. It’s a way of life that is win-win.


What would you do if you saw someone making a horrible life decision?

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