Decisions shape the course of our lives like a hot PKT on wax. Many times people find decision-making stressful and burdensome. I am no different, however I always turn to my ABCs to help simplify the situation. The ABCs to my life are something I invented in college. Although I obtained a chemistry degree, one of the most valuable takeaways was self-discovery. The ABCs I developed can be used to handle any situation.
The ‘A’ came to me during my senior year. I had just started brainstorming ideas for my dental school personal statement. Many people recommended writing about a struggle and how it made me stronger. My problem was that I really never had any great struggle. Sure, there were rough days but I did not feel like I had one pivotal moment in my life. Growing up, my parents worked hard to support me emotionally and financially. I had good health, an incredible public education and encouraging relationships. I realized I did not need to feel guilty about not having experienced hardship. I simply needed to Appreciate what I had. No matter how frustrating a challenge might present itself, recognize things could be worse. Thinking this way, you may find more determination when approaching challenges.
The ‘B’ came to me while shopping in the grocery store with my mom. Glancing at the magazines at the checkout, I saw advertisements for the newest diets. The South Beach Diet said the key was to increase the proportion of carbohydrates consumed. The Atkins Diet countered by saying the key was a low carbohydrate diet. Another recommended cutting out all foods with a high glycemic index. Do you want to hear about my NEW and life-changing diet? I call it Balance. Even a Twinkie that has zero nutritional value might have some emotional value. I discovered balance through food but I worked to relate balance to all aspects of my life. Of my ABC’s, balance is probably the most universally applied and it requires the most attention. When deciding a course of action, weigh the options. Which decision will help keep you balanced?
The A and B are intrapersonal traits, but we live among 7 billion others. ‘C’ addresses a large interpersonal problem — Communication. It is critical to communicate in any relationship but the key is to do so effectively. When someone says, “Well, that’s what I meant” there were words exchanged but there was some level of miscommunication. It might be a good idea to confirm what they heard. Whether you are talking to a significant other or a colleague, save yourself future conflicts by communicating effectively. Stating assumptions out loud will help keep everyone on the same page.
As you finish reading this post, know that you will inevitably have to make a decision today. When doing so, take a moment to reflect on how you make your decisions. If you do not really have a process, you can create your own or use my ABC’s that I created in college. No matter what system you use, I encourage you to Appreciate all that you have. When presented with options, weigh them out and select one that keeps you Balanced. Lastly, as you continue to work with others, take extra time to Communicate effectively.
~Gabriel Casias, Colorado ’20