26. Decision Tree
If you don't know of Rich Roll, you need this man in your life. He is the author of a fantastic podcast – the Rich Roll Podcast, he brings wisdom, enormous amounts of compassion, insight, and intellect to every conceivable topic you can think of, and those you can't.
He was an alcoholic, it nearly killed him, he just missed serving time in prison, caused utter hell for him and his family, and now having been in recovery for many years he talks of his decision tree. Every time he needs to make a decision he asks himself, 'will this decision take me one step closer to alcohol or one step further away'. If it's the former then he simply doesn't do it, such is his desire to stay well, in both body and mind.
This can be challenging, it might be declining an invite from friends to meet up, it might be taking a less skilful decision not to sleep because you need to get things done, but you know lack of sleep leaves you vulnerable to poorer choices and a muddied mind. So you choose sleep.
I invite you today to consider is there a decision tree you would benefit from cultivating, if perhaps there are behaviours or attitudes of mind that do not serve you well?
For example I've had a long-standing personal struggle with disordered eating, and for me, lack of sleep and too much of the sweet stuff is where I teeter on a dangerous edge. So I choose sleep over a late night, I choose to lean into difficult emotions because I know when I ignore them the wheels fall off the food wagon, I choose healthy choices over the sugary stuff because it sets off a chain of events that leave me depleted, fed up with myself and raw.
The decision tree analogy has been a bit of a game-changer, it's early days in my practice but I really appreciate how I can conjure up an image of a decision tree in my mind, and in that moment I know that one course of action will take me nearer to having a positive experience, or a negative one. It isn't called a practice for a reason, some days go well, others less so, but having that momentary pause, that visual nudge brings me each time closer to creating better and more skilful and kinder habits that essentially bring about positive change.
So, what might your decision tree look like? It might not be in an area of your life where you find struggle, but moreover having a sense of 'will this decision bring me closer to a more positive outcome or a more negative one'. Have a play around and see what you think.