I’ve been reflecting on some decisions I’ve taken recently, and trying to work out how I took them. I’m the sort of person who swithers a bit (good Scots word – maybe from a Norwegian root – meaning ‘to be in two minds about something’). I like to think it’s because I am carefully considering all sides of a problem rationally. But I’m not so sure (!) because when I do take the decision, it doesn’t seem to have sprung from to the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ that have obsessed me. It seems to come from somewhere else, fast, and leave me satisfied and sure.
The management gurus have, of course, known about all this stuff for ages. For example, do you know about ‘Gary Klein’s recognition primed decision making model’? No, nor did I until I dug around a bit in the theory. It’s generally recognised that our intuitive powers and subconscious values have a lot to do with how we make decisions. The theorist who I like best about incorporating all sides of our deciding processes is Edward de Bono with his ‘six hats’ model, where you have the ‘white hat’ thinking (rational), ‘red hat’ (intuitive/emotional), ‘black hat’ (cautious/pessimistic), ‘yellow hat’ (optimistic), ‘green hat’ (creative) and ‘blue hat’ (keeping all of these hats aware of the Big Picture). You consider all these aspects, give them all space and value, listen to everything that is being said, and then set it all in the frame of your over-arching vision.
You could use this well for group dynamics in decision making, but it also works for personal swithering. Except it doesn’t really tell you how to make the final decision. That, it would seem, is almost beyond ‘choice’. I love the bit in Ursula Le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea, where the Master Summoner says to the young wizard Ged, “You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man’s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do …”
So how do we align all this with the movement of the Holy Spirit?