Monday, May 21, 2012

Making the Effort at Balance

Indiana Senate in session
It’s helpful when you’re weighing the pros and cons of two different items to take a look at the facts in black and white. But as you probably know from your own life when important decisions need to be made, answers are often not as clear-cut as the facts would indicate. We see celebrities on the public stage taking risky chances and making bad choices, and we might wonder, “How could somebody so smart/ talented/accomplished do such a stupid thing?”

Most of us have at least two things going on in our brains when we have a big decision to make about something. One part of our thinking deals with immediate reactions to desires or wants. This is the type of impulsive reaction that might occur in a momentary flirtation or when you’re really craving that brownie you saw in the lunchroom today. This is short-term thinking that is heavily influenced by the desires and emotions of the moment. This type of thinking can be inspiring and creative, and it definitely has it merits; but it also needs to be balanced with a longer, more studied view.
The other part of our thinking process during decision-making involves envisioning the best answer long-term. And this often takes the decision out of the realm of the “me” (as in, “What do I want here?”) and into the realm of the “us” (as in, “What is best for us as a family, company, or nation right now?”). Long-term thinking is largely rational and involves big picture thinking and long-range planning.

As we consider the potential impact direct democracy could have on the ability of our elected officials to lead, we can do our best to keep the short-term, “fix-the-problem-now” desire and the long-term, “What’s best for our country?” perspective in balance.

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