How to Make a Decision Without Getting Burned

road cutting forest in foggy sunny sky
by Amaya Pryce

When it comes to making life decisions it comes down to knowing yourself, not knowing “what if.” ~ Unknown

This past weekend I did a firewalk! Yes, I walked barefoot over glowing coals. I did this with a group of very special friends, under the leadership of loved and trusted teachers… but it was still terrifying. The scariest part was that there was no pressure to fall back on in making the decision. Each one of us had to decide whether or not to walk based on our own body’s inner knowing. And every person was applauded for their decision, no matter what it was.

Here is the most important thing I learned: When making any decision—but especially when the stakes are high—anything less than a “Clear Yes” is a “No.” How I wish I had known this when I was younger and pondering many of the big decisions of my life, such as who to marry and what to study in college.

I recently heard this advice, given to a friend by her father: Deciding to get married should be the easiest decision of your life. If it isn’t, you’ve got the wrong guy. Just a different way of saying if it isn’t a Clear Yes, it’s a No.

How do you recognise a Clear Yes? You have to get to know your own body, because that’s where you’ll find it, not in your head. This is how we were coached prior to walking: Close your eyes and think of a time in your life when you made a decision that you knew deep down was wrong for you (and later had the truth of that feeling confirmed). Find the place in your body where that feeling lives and make a note of it. Really experience the feeling of No.

Now do the same with a decision that you knew was right for you. Where does that feeling live in your body? What is it like? Describe it with as much detail as possible so that you’ll recognize it when you feel it again. You can still have fear along with your Clear Yes (I did) but it will feel more like excitement than dread. No one can guarantee the outcome of any decision, but if you go in with a Clear Yes you are less likely to regret it, regardless of the outcome.

And remember: Anything less than a Clear Yes is a No. That simple.

So once I got my clear answer, I was ready to walk the coals. No regrets, no burns; I barely even felt it (although that still seems hard to believe). But the euphoria of listening to myself and really trusting my inner knowing will be with me forever.

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