How many times do you find yourself at a crossroad in your life and someone says, ‘use your head’ or ‘follow your heart’? If yours is ‘lots of times’, I think you should change your friends! Why aren’t they telling you to ask the Holy Spirit? Best person to go to when I need clarity on anything!
Seriously though, life and living present a multitude of decisions to be made each day. When we wake up every morning, we decide to get out of bed, say a prayer, prep for work or school, and then head out. Right? You can decide (especially if you don’t have anyone to answer to) not to do any of the things you’re supposed to. You can decide to remain immobile in your bed for a year depending on how long hunger and/or your own stench will let you live for!
We decide who our friends are, who our ‘spirits agree with’, who we bond with at church, school or work, and whose guts we hate (with or without reason). We decide, we decide, we decide, and we live with the consequences of our decisions, pleasant or not.
Sometimes as young people we make decisions we are ill-equipped for, either because we do not know enough about the situation, or we are too blinded by our desires to process the pieces of information available to us objectively. Ready for a story?
When I was a lot younger I wanted to be a doctor desperately. I couldn’t stand the sight of blood (especially mine) but my sister was in Medical School at the time and seemed to be the star in my extended family because she was the only one studying medicine. We’d go to the village for Christmas then and all my uncles would keep sending for her, giving her extra money, etc. What!! I had to be a doctor; it was akin to getting into heaven to my mind.
There was one little problem though, I wasn’t good with the sciences, or math (can’t wrap my head around math till this day)! Maybe I felt my passion would equal good grades, but we all know if you’re not running in your lane in a race, you’re in trouble! And so I waddled through Senior Secondary School, enduring every science and math class, and struggling to do better than an ‘e’ for the most part. Did I mention I aced every other subject? After JAMB (I had registered physics, chemistry, biology and English), and the almost hilarious result I got (story for another day), my folks sat down with me and we decided I couldn’t study medicine. Benefit of hindsight though, saying I couldn’t study medicine was more of stating the obvious than it was making a decision. Even I knew that unless I wanted to struggle the rest of my life, I had to abandon that ‘white gown plus stethoscope’ dream. Am I happy working in the media today? You bet!
In the course of a chat with one of my buddies, I asked about her head and heart in decision making. This is what she said:
“Babes, if someone came to me and said you went around telling people I was a thief and a bad person, my head would want me to look for you and either confront or fight you. That’s where all the ‘who does she think she is, what rubbish, I will deal with her’ reactions would come from. With my heart though I would process what I’d just heard, explore the interests of the person who brought the information, and then check my relationship with you and the things I know you’re capable of before I decide on a line of action. My heart does a better job for me”
That was interesting for me because I’d have thought things worked the other way round; that logic and rationality are lodged in the brains than the heart which is often beclouded by sentiments and emotions.
For me, business decisions, work, and impersonal stuff happen in my head. Over the years I’ve found that one of my strengths is trouble shooting; anticipating problems in a line of business and sorting contingency plans. All of that happens in my head. Sometimes I’m wrong, a few more times I’m right, and when I cannot agree with myself, it works best to seek counsel from an older or more experienced person.
My heart however, is for love, and love related issues (insert wink here)! That’s where the finer issues are dealt with, and where I carry my family, friends and loved ones around safely. After all, Cupid’s arrow goes to the heart, not the brain!
Bottom line? Everyone is different, and different circumstances will elicit different reactions from the head, or the heart. Find what works for you, and stick with it!
P:S - Originally written for the youth magazine of Winners’ Chapel, Ibadan, this is one of the guest posts I’ve done. Follow @chiomachuka on Twitter so you don’t miss out on any more ‘free guest post’ offers!!
- Having trouble deciding? (smilesandhappiness.wordpress.com)
- 3 am Epiphany: Is Decision Making an Art or a Science? (meenarose.wordpress.com)
- Being Decisive (themaleblueprint.wordpress.com)
- Living the Surrendered Life (Day 11) (christlikeministriesnwa.wordpress.com)
- So Many Choices (mscaregiverdonna.wordpress.com)
- No Decision is a Decision (thegigglingmonkey.com)