Psychological Self-Help

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767
Learning Independent Decision-Making
You can readily see the extent that our parents, institutions,
culture, and peer groups and our own needs and history make
decisions for us and control us. But, if you aren't making decisions,
you are dependent. It is not simple to decide how and when to take
charge of our lives. To many young people it seems that they must
defiantly oppose everyone telling them "how to do things" or else cave
in to the pressures from all sides. Fortunately, there is a middle
ground because one person can not decide everything entirely on their
own and, besides, many external influences incorporate the "wisdom
of the ages" that should not be contemptuously rejected (Campbell,
1975). The middle ground is making our own decisions as best we can
and as often as we can, but accepting established customs or well
informed opinions in situations where we can not make a decision for
ourselves. 
When we are overly compliant, it means we are (1) discounting our
own decision-making ability, (2) denying the possibility that each
situation is unique warranting an individualized decision, and (3)
accepting the foolish notion that traditional social practices are based
on all there is to know about the human condition. Surely, social
attitudes about the "right thing to do" in 2105 will be as different as
current attitudes are from 1905. However, no matter how logical it is
to make your own decisions and be less conforming and more
responsible, it isn't possible in every instance nor is it easy. 
Some of the most poignant words I have ever heard were about
Dr. Kent M. Keith. 
How do we learn best?  The Personal Growth Model
There are many ways to make a decision. Some people are so
unsure of themselves that they try to think what dad or mom (or some
other respected person) would do. Other people put off making a final
decision. Deciding to do nothing is still a decision. Many people quickly
make decisions, not bothering to gather much information. Some
people seek advice from a favorite source or two. A few people know
where to get relevant, reliable information, consider the pros and cons,
and cogently make decisions. Some deciders gather such great
volumes of facts that they get bogged down in the process. 
Decision-making involves acquiring knowledge and comparing
alternatives. It should help you to consider four decision-making or
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