Every decision has hidden corners and unnoticeable sacrifices.

Every decision has hidden corners and unnoticeable sacrifices.
Photo by heylisadventure / Unsplash

The sun beat me into the asphalt as I made a two-mile run. Even in the middle of winter, Florida is relentless in its heat. It was muggy, my body was soaked, and I was cramming against time as I tried to finish the exercise before my lunch hour ended. 

Why was I cramming in a run at noon instead of my regular 5 a.m. hour? 

I made a critical thinking error. 

I am paying for it in sweat even as I type these words. 

Where was this error made? Last night, I decided to stay up for the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball game. Being on the East Coast, our games are at 8pm. This knocked my time of getting in bed back a couple hours, which made my morning wake-up call a brutal awakening. 

I should have just gotten up. 

But I was weak. 

I stayed in bed, knowing I could cram something at lunch. I did get my run in, but I also cemented a lesson on critical thinking that I'll teach a group of youth leaders tomorrow evening. 

Imagine your mind as a ship sailing through a stormy sea of ideas. Some come from social media, some from friends, and others from the world around you. It's easy to get tossed around by all these waves, especially if you don't know how to steer your ship. 

That's where critical thinking comes in—it's your life jacket and paddle in this information storm.

Think of critical thinking as asking smart questions before you jump on board any new idea. It's not about emotions or who says it, but about ensuring the concept is like a sturdy boat to sail on. 

Our spirit (who we are) is being shaped constantly, along with our critical thinking, which is the filtering and processing step in deciding whether something is worth pursuing.

In my presentation, I'll be presenting three questions that serve as a foundation for better critical thinking.

The three questions are:

  1. What's the meaning behind the words?
  2. Can you show me the proof, not just the passion?
  3. Where does this lead?

That third is the key to what I learned today on my sun-blistering run. I made a choice last night to stay up and watch the OKC Thunder play. It was not a bad decision, but it was also not my best decision.

Where did the decision lead me? 

I enjoyed the game. I really did. And there is nothing inherently wrong with entertainment. But entertainment at the cost of sacrificing what matters to me is different. I knew it would knock off my next day. It would drain the energy my work, family, and mind deserve. I would walk away with really nothing to show for the experience. Plus, we lost the game!

My point is this: Every decision has hidden corners and unnoticeable sacrifices. 

Here's a thought: Is there something you need to say no to today so you can say yes to something else?

It's like thinking about where you're headed before you decide what to do. Always consider the hidden parts of your decisions and what you will give up.

Where are you today's choices taking you?