Decide Already!

By Scott Schimmel

We live in an age of multi-tasking and an extraordinary amount of options. What kind of impact is this having on emerging adults?

As a Little League coach for my son, one of the biggest challenges the league faces is finding enough players in each age group to have enough teams to play a season. What are the thousands of 10-year-olds doing in the spring besides playing baseball? When I was little, if you weren’t playing baseball in the spring, you were… at home. Now? There’s lacrosse, ice hockey, year-round soccer clubs, rugby, flag football, tackle football, wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, and more. The number of options is overwhelming (eg. entertainment, extracurricular activities, sports, friends, community service projects, colleges to apply to, majors in college, career paths), and if you don’t get clear about who you are and what’s important to you then you might actually waste time and make poor decisions.

A defining characteristic of a healthy adult is someone who is decisive. They know who they are, they know who they’re not, they know what they want, and they make decisions to go after it. Adults are people who are intentional with their lives and organize their priorities, time, money, career, relationships and hobbies to reflect their real inner nature. 

People who know who they are and what they’re about don’t get stuck in indecision. When you don’t know who you are and you’re presented with serious life decisions, you feel anxious, uncertain, and often fearful that you’re going to make the wrong choice. During a season of transition, when you are forced to make an important choice, stress and pressure get bigger, and good, informed decision making plummets. 

How do you help someone become more decisive? You lead them through a process to clarify their values and priorities. 

Recently, we had the chance to take a community college student through our program. His parents said that he was stuck with low motivation, no initiative, and confused about the direction of his life. We took him through a process (our 1-1 Program) that forced him to answer important questions about himself. Through the self-reflection and conversations he had with a YouSchool Guide, a few life mentors (Advisors in our vernacular), he quickly discovered who he was and who he wanted to be. His parents saw a noticeable difference in his drive, his spirit, and he actually got fired up about school. 

Adolescents have most of the real ingredients in their life to get clear about who they are and who they want to become. We can help them get to clarity, so the choices they make are informed and consistent with their real selves.