Repairs and Selling: What’s Right?

Recently, one of my students suggested a topic for discussion as an example of a typical ethical situation in one’s daily life. Ethics don’t have to be relegated to “big” issues of capital punishment, cloning of humans, the misuse of technology or the right to life. Something as mundane as hiring a plumber to repair a kitchen faucet can have ethical ramifications. We decided to take it all the way and create a guide for consumers who plan to hire outside labor for any purpose. It is all about what to do when the repair person or tech, as the case may be, gives you a sales pitch to upgrade. He sees dollar signs and you see an empty pocket. You think you are dealing with one job and now it is about an expenditure. This happens so often in used car lots, mattress stores and the plastic surgery business. You have an idea of what you want and suddenly you are being coerced into more and better. A slick salesman can hide in the body of a plumber for sure.

Staying with the examples of the best kitchen faucets, the ethics guide also pertains to the parameters of truth regarding a product. How much is the plumber or salesman obligated to share with prospective buyers? Do you reveal only the best features and benefits and leave out any drawbacks? Some of them are minor such as “the faucet only comes in two finishes.” Others are more serious along the lines of “you must replace the washer once a quarter.” In ethics class, we always say that honesty is the best policy, a corny but still relevant truism.

Ethics for the Consumer

Ask as many questions as you want to find out all sides of the situation whether it be repair or the purchase of a product. You are entitled to know the good and the bad to make the best decision. It is foolish to trust someone just because they call themselves an “expert.” Getting letters of recommendation and testimonials will tell you volumes. It is naïve to be overly trusting although it is human nature to accept someone at face value. Find a balance between gullibility and blind faith.

Ethics for the Salesman

You owe it to your customers to be truthful in all matters as a matter of pride and respect. They will find out any drawbacks or hidden surprises soon enough. They will trust your honesty and conclude a sale for the right product if you are forthcoming. Some products are a better value than others. If you focus on your income and not customer needs, you are unlikely to get repeat business. If you leave out important details and the customer is suspicious, you will not make a sale of any type. Start with an ethical position and you will end in success. No self-respecting salesman should want to “trick” a prospective buyer if the product is not right.

Deterrents vs Temptations

Imagine a masked figure creeping around in your garden without being noticed. It is night and there isn’t even a bit of moonlight showing to reveal his presence. You are feeling safe and secure in your bed with the lights doused and you just nodded off into slumberland. You don’t hear him approach an open door and slide it open to enter your home. My God, who left it open? We have all been trained to lock up after dark. It was a hot night and the cool breeze was welcome. Was this open door too much of an enticement to steal? Why should the victim take the blame for criminal actions if he needed air? Is one’s home a sanctuary or a temptation to protect?

These thoughts go through my mind as I contemplate presenting the situation to my ethics class. How can I make a mundane robbery into a social, public issue? Everything has an ethical dimension. Is it wrong to steal is the basic question, particularly if one is in need? Is it wrong to tempt others or do we have to rely on their innate reason? Criminals, by nature, don’t have any. Or so I am told. They are antisocial and have no qualms about disregarding basic principles of right and wrong. Are they always at fault and society is never to blame? This opens a big can of slimy worms. Have we failed our poor and needy? Do we have an obligation here?

As with the garden creeper example, what if you leave your bicycle on the front lawn for days on end? Shouldn’t it be locked up tight at the back gate? Why don’t you install outdoor motion detectors from Outdoor Light and Sound to deter home invasion and theft? Thus, we tackled the subject of deterrents versus temptations and the students expressed varying opinions. Do citizens have rights such as the privilege of owning things that are not to be stolen? Is there any case at all in which a thief is in the clear? I think not, but…

The sides debated on and on and the arguments became heated. I had assumed that everyone would side with the victim of theft in every case. Why feel sorry for a thief? Students asked, what if he were on drugs or was psychotic and not responsible for his actions? Is this really an excuse? Does this mean that the mentally ill can do whatever they like at anyone’s expense? You can see that one question raised a host of others. We never really arrived at full agreement although we did achieve a resolution of sorts. By this I mean that over fifty percent of the class settled on a conclusion. Interestingly enough, the next day, many had changed their minds. We reopened the discussion and carried into some new territory.

Meanwhile, I am researching some alarm systems and motion detectors on line for my own use. I am obsessed with a home robbery at this moment.

Birthday Celebration

At last the day has come for Alan, one student in our ethics group. He is old enough to drink and we are all going out to celebrate. This is a turning point in a young life and most take part in alcohol on their birthday. It is an adult party this time and not a college bash. We are going to drink beer to save money and because it appeals to most tastes. Or so we think. We will ask the bartender his opinion on a light beer for young drinkers. No heavy ales, etc. or anything that really tastes like beer. Ha!

The bartender had a few suggestions from a web site called Crack a Cold One, and we can’t resist telling his secrets. He said that people on the fence about beer don’t like it because they are drinking the wrong brand. A top choice of young adults is Corona light served with a wedge of lime. It is refreshing and easy to imbibe; it won’t bust the bank or the waistline. “My own son likes Purple Haze, a lager brewed with raspberries for a great fruity aroma. It has a slight sweet taste and fun color. Kids won’t get a beer belly on this one at 128 calories.”

Moving down the line, next on his list is a crisp, light beer called Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. It has a very nice natural lemonade flavor. If the students want something more sophisticated than Mike’s Hard, he said, then this is the route to take. For real drinkability, they often opt for Bud Light Lime. It pleases the most picky newbie beer drinker. The bar stocks Shock Top which is not yet well known, but when you try it, it has a wonderful citrus flavor. It is at its best when chilled as are most light beers and nothing is comparable for smooth texture. Blue Moon is another Belgian white beer low in calorie made with Valencia orange peels. It is a bit spicy and tangy, making it an interesting choice.

We got quite a beer education that day plus lots of great stories and photos to post on Facebook. We also learned about Arbita strawberry lager made with real juice (added after the filtration process). It is sweet and flavorful, and smells divine. It is a non-beer drinker crowd pleaser. Beer beginners also enjoy Miller High Life, known as “the champagne of beers.” It is an apt descriptor given its highly carbonated taste that goes down crisp and smooth. An alternative is Samuel Adam’s Whitewater IPA that can be made into beer cocktails to disguise the hoppy taste. It has a lovely undertone of apricots and exudes a mild spiciness. Last on the bartender’s list of light, summer beers is Landshark Lager that is highly refreshing and super drinkable for any age. You feel like you are sitting by the beach on a tropical island.

Largely due to the beer lesson and extraordinary unexpected tasting experience, we had a great time and began our beer drinking life as a group.

Fairly Determining ‘The Best’

Teaching ethics is challenging because children are not born with an absolute sense of right and wrong. They sometimes learn from their parents and peers that things can be relative. Something that is right in one situation or culture can be wrong in another. Lived experience is required to make decisions based on a common core or beliefs. We all belong to a group such as a demographic that is established by our age, sex, ethnicity, and region of residence. Religion and the corresponding ethics also come into play when populations are studied. One tricky issue that seems to vary from group to group is what constitutes the “best” of something.

The best has implications universally as the desirable quality of being superior. It implies that an object or situation stands out among others and is an exemplar to uphold. The best of something in a particular field or category is at the very top of the status ladder and is something that most people seek to achieve unless they have low self-esteem. There is great pride in being called the best or owning the best of a coveted object such as a car. An automobile is a ubiquitous status symbol and people pay more than they need to acquire one. You can get around just fine in a Ford but you may feel that you merit only a Mercedes.

My class determined that the best is hard to achieve and maintain. Let’s say you are a track and field athlete. You want to beat the averages and then the top time. Most athletes, however great, cannot maintain this position as “the best.” Age and time take their toll. A car can go out of fashion and lose its status. Being the best may therefore be a sometime thing. Take a review of the best circular saw. If it meets certain criteria, it can be called the best. It will have to show good design, perform accurately, and maintain functionality for a long period of time. While many such tools can be characterized in this way, the best will have to go beyond. Then you need to ask, who decides on “the best?” Is it a consensus of opinion or does one expert get to determine who or what has this status? Just because someone writes an Internet review calling a given object the best doesn’t mean that there aren’t other opinions. Hence, determining the best can be difficult from an ethical perspective. Can just anyone deem themselves an expert? In ancient Greece, there were philosopher kings. We don’t have any ethical archetypes now. We accept what we read as the gospel truth when we should be making our own decisions.

Let’s agree on one thing: “the best” is not an absolute that has perfect agreement. It seems to be relative to a smaller sphere. In terms of the circular saw, this sphere consists of users, manufacturers, and purveyors of the item. It is interesting that in the world of human behavior, ethics is more universal. What is acceptable and what is the “best” has long been established by bodies of truth such as the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Respecting Individuality vs Equality

There are some topics of debate in the realm of ethics that are a little odd. Sure, we like to tackle the serious stuff such as respecting individuality versus equality, but did you know that this applies to sleep? We can discuss the ethical implications of almost anything social, historical, psychological, or political. We can also bandy about arguments related to health and fitness. Nothing is immune from the keen eye of ethics. It has been around forever as a formidable branch of philosophy. If only more people were into the subject, we would have a better and fairer world. People would make better judgements if they looked at all sides of an issue instead of focusing only on themselves. We don’t live in a vacuum, however, and must consider the interests of all. While democracy focuses on individual rights, it never loses sight of the majority.

We all got into sleep (figuratively) when one of my fellow students started complaining of being tired all the time due to his rampant insomnia. We felt sorry for him but deplored that he was constantly late. It prompted us to look into the necessity of sleep for all mankind and how to ensure that all are counseled equally and appropriately. If scientists want to answer the question of how much sleep, they will be considering the individual’s needs versus what is right for everyone. Apparently, there is no discrepancy. The conclusion that we found here to be debated is whether we agree that biological rules (such as eight hours average sleep are best) are always more valid than one person’s need for more or less. Are there other life principles that are universally valid? Given cultural disparity, probably not.

People who lack enough sleep, even one measly hour, feel tired in the morning. They are cranky and their mind is often cloudy, affecting productivity in every way. They are at risk for serious health problems such as diabetes and obesity. Their ability to make wise decisions falls off. It can’t be possible that we are all alike in our need. We universally need sleep, but the question is how much. If it were as easy as getting eight and that’s it, we wouldn’t have negative consequences of a lack of sleep. Some need six to seven, depending upon one’s age, and some nine or more. We have to conclude that from an ethical standpoint, dictating the exact amount of sleep humans require is erroneous. It is up to the medical community to weight the factors involved. They are likely to change their recommendations and to become more liberal in their advice.

We are not all equal although we come pretty close to it in terms of the physical self. Our mental nature is another matter. Our emotional needs don’t often overlap. There are basic types such as introverts and extroverts, intuitives and earthbound beings. Every inherited gene affects our response to the world, including our need for a certain amount of sleep.

Landlord Obligation

Ethical debate is at the heart of most matters. If we didn’t engage in it ourselves or with others, the world would be a very different place. Write and wrong are instilled in us from childhood, but somehow it misses some people. It is up to society and religion to set straight those who have gone astray. Therefore, classes in school that treat ethics as a current affair are helping move mankind forward in the right direction. My class loves to tackle even the tough questions such as cloning human beings and engineering food that seems to be artificial and abnormal, but which helps to feed the world. Then there are all sorts of minor concerns that merit an ethical onceover.

Students learn to look at both sides of an issue and to fairly weigh the pros and cons. It is more than a mere exercise. They take what they learn to the real world to help them determine their position on various topics. When it comes to government, chemical pollution, arming one’s country and engaging in warfare, there are all sorts of problems. In the west, we feel superior most of the time and feel that we are in the know. What do you think? This is a big question in itself. Once you decide where you stand, you can go on to discuss world concerns and the obligations of the US toward solving them. Are we the policeman and watchdog for everyone?

After a healthy round of tough issues, the class can jump down a rung or two to some minor everyday problems. One student (we take turns) brought to the fore a squabble he was having with his landlord. It came down to the fine print in the lease, but when the evidence isn’t there, how do you decide the renter’s obligations versus those of the dwelling owner. There are key areas to consider such as plumbing repair, light bulb replacement, providing Home Water Health and/or filters, replacing old appliances, and upgrading the carpet. You may come to an agreement on one or two things to find yourself at considerable odds over the others.

The student was locking horns with his landlord over a simple kitchen faucet water filtering system. He felt that an apartment labelled “luxury” demanded such an item. He felt that it was the same for a new stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. It is all a kitchen package that should be in place when you first move in. Landlords generally replace the flooring and paint so there is no argument there. He had it out with his building owner about the filtration system and held back his rent for one month. The class says that coercion is never a good tactic. It is better to offer the landlord basic pros and cons. A filtration system is not that expensive and adds value to the property. Future tenants will appreciate having one installed. Good relations with a landlord may affect future rent increases. Think the issue through clearly before you make yourself heard.

The Universal Language of Sports

You have heard of the language of love no doubt; but have you heard of the universal language of sports? Both are quite true and these “languages” are rich and varied. You will find expressions of them everywhere you go. You could make a lifelong study of them. For me, it is part of my on-going interest in ethics which applies to human behavior, decision making, honesty, and good intentions. As a branch of philosophy, it studies theories of good and evil, free will and determinism, absolute and relative values. On a practical level, I want to know what makes the world go around and how we can do a better job of unifying diverse people from different cultures. Surely, love of self and of the concept of freedom are relevant. Art is said to bring all members of humanity together as its principles are archetypal. I love the idea of artworks making the world a better place. If it works, we can build museums worldwide. Let’s get to it!

I have heard other opinions on the subject. It is not to discount the power of art but to add another dimension—the vast and engaging realm of sports. Think about something like the Soccer World Cup. At event time each year, most of the world is glued to the TV. Patriotism abounds and people get outside the humdrum aspects of their daily lives to watch the pros in action on behalf of their respective countries. Watch people next time and you will see something magical happen that speaks well of the human spirit. The same happens with the discussions in magazines and on their Facebook pages, like this one: https://www.facebook.com/Top-Corner-Magazine-252076668590188/. If we can harness this joyous feeling and apply it to other projects like saving the planet and stopping wars, imagine the degree of happiness that would arise.

When we watch the best players in action, we celebrate humanity at its best. Athletic prowess has been revered since Ancient Greece as seen in the games at Delphi. The love of games has persisted for centuries, attesting to the ability of athletics to change the world. There is nothing more exciting than watching your team win a tournament match. We have heroes and idols galore and admire their innate abilities and skills. They are ideal beings above the rest of us. It shows what human beings can do when they are allied in a common goal. Soccer and other games teach ethics when laying down rules and regulations. There is a protocol of behavior that boils down to the praiseworthy concept of fair play. Ethics teaches through sports and games how to be a good loser, how to participate on a team, and how to accept glory with humility and defeat with pride.

Soccer, for one sport, brings out the best in us no matter the color of our skin, our religion, or our basic beliefs. It tells us that we are all the same—creatures of nature with the same DNA. Yes, they say all of mankind descends from one source the paleontologists call “Eve.”

Volunteering with Younger Students

One of the great things about having good character is that it begets better behavior; it can be practically contagious. When other people see you standing talland behaving admirably, theytend to think twice about their actions as well. The more they practice treating people in this manner, the more of a habit it will become. It can be especially beneficial to younger students. Whether you work as a teacher’s assistant, tutor, or volunteer with an organization, setting a worthwhile example can be a rewarding experience for both you and others.

It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason, right? When you are interacting with others and you show them fairness, respect, and compassion while continuing to maintain your integrity, other people will appreciate it and treat you in kind. When you hold others to those same standards, most of the time, they will rise to the occasion.This does not mean that you constantly point it out when others are wrong or make mistakes; that’s not good character.Instead, talk them through decisions before or afterward, and go over what went right as well as what went wrong. You can direct them toward other ways of thinking that may bring them to options they weren’t aware of before.

This also does not mean that you force others to act the same way as you—you can only be an example and encourage others to follow suit. Fortunately, most people want to do the right thing and have integrity.However, depending on their life experiences, they may not know how to go about it. That’s where you come in. You can be a patient and informative guide, showing them how to navigate through life in a way that will make them feel good about themselves and will set an example for those around them.

Sometimes, especially when you are volunteering, you may be working with children or students who have been largely ignored in the past. They may think that no one pays attention to them; they may even believe that what they do does not matter. They may never have seen the consequences of their actions, either because no one bothered to teach them to take responsibility or because they have never bothered to see the effects. You can show them a different way. You can teach them that there are ways to behave that will reflect positively on them, and why that matters. Guide them to make sound decisions even when things appear to be a lose-lose situation. You can help show them that they don’t always need to be just looking out for themselves, that they can reach out and benefit others as well.

You can be a beacon of light and ignite a fire in the people around you as well. Volunteering can be hugely rewarding, and we cannot recommend it enough. Put yourself out there. You will be surprised at the good you can do just by being yourself.

What Builds Character?

what-builds-character

In our quest to improve our character, we have learned a few lessons about ourselves. This has been a long journey. Sometimes the path is straight and clear, other times it is a steep and rocky climb. And sometimes we cannot see the path at all, but can only hope and guess that we are headed in the right direction. Here are a few things we have found to be true so far along our way:

We should not even try for perfection. It will only cause us sadness and heartache. We should also not expect the people around us to behave perfectly. We cannot hold people to a standard that we cannot reach, either.

We have also come to the realization that we are better off making mistakes. It will hurt—sometimes a lot—but it is how we learn and grow. It will give us resilience and the determination to try again. Additionally, if we did everything right all the time, we would never understand the need for compassion. You can only truly appreciate forgiveness when someone forgives you for a mistake you made or a wrong you committed against them. The words, “I forgive you,” can be a balm to the soul. However, you would never know the relief you feel, the guilt and grief that would otherwise be hanging over your head unless someone says it to you. Only then will you realize the value and power in those three little words.

Your life will not be without obstacles. Unfortunately, it is while trying to climb those obstacles that you will realize your inner strength. You don’t have to test something to know if it is strong, but it can be hard to believe what you are capable of until you actually have to rise to the occasion. The struggles we have in life also force us to change our way of thinking. Difficulties are challenges in disguise. You are forced out of your comfort zone. In order to solve problems, you need to think creatively to find a solution.

We have also learned that a way to strengthen character is by asking for and providing help. There are some amazing benefits. People naturally want to help, but often will not unless you ask. When you need help, ask for assistance from someone you love and trust. It will show them that you rely on them and they may be more willing to ask for your help when they need it in return. This will help you to learn faith in your fellow humankind as well as gratitude. Being thankful for what you have and the people around you is a great way to remind yourself of how blessed you are. It reinforces kindness, sharing, and empathy, all of which are excellent character-builders. Developing a support system will make life’s journey easier for you.

But the most important thing we have learned on our quest to become better people is to be patient. With ourselves as we go on this journey, with others who may not see things the same way we do, and the world at large. Standing tall as a good example will inspire others to do the same. It may not happen overnight, but be patient. This is a worthwhile endeavor, which means it will require work.

Ethical Career Choices

ethical-career-choices18

When you are on the threshold of starting a career like we are, you may be wondering how to even begin making selections. We have all decided that we will be searching for careers that will allow us to maintain our good character and be ethical career choices. That may seem odd, but the idea is that by doing the work we have chosen, we will feel like we are making things better for those around us and also continuing to operate at the high ethical standards we have set for ourselves. A decision like this may look different for each person.

Take a store manager for example. A store manager with good character would treat everyone equally and with respect, handle the finances properly, and take excellent care of the customers, choosing the greater good of all involved over only profits. Another example could be a doctor. People feel especially vulnerable in situations like doctor visits when they’re sitting there in a paper gown or with potentially embarrassing symptoms, so as a doctor you might want to put your patient at ease instead of appearing judgmental when they come to you with a problem. It is simple things like this that can help you be better in your chosen field as well as being a better person. The two things do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Even something that may seem very clearly to have right and wrong decisions, like being a police officer or a judge, can still provide one with ethical dilemmas. The key is to evaluate each decision as it comes and not make assumptions based on your own experiences. There will always be people who do the wrong thing for the right reason and people who do the right thing for the wrong reasons. There will also be laws that you may feel are biased toward certain people or are completely unjust. You will have to decide between making decisions that are ethically right for you versus legally right. If you cannot make the two things agree, this field may not be for you.

When you are looking for a job, try to get a feel for the “corporate culture” of any prospective employer. Do they seem cutthroat? If you google them, do you see any evidence of unsavory business practices?Even companies who are supposed to be charitable organizations can be unscrupulous. The information can be hard to find, so you may want to go to the interview prepared with your own questions. Find out what the average turnover rate is. If people are typically there for only a short time, that could be a bad sign. Ask about what behaviors are rewarded (for example, do people receive rewards individually for meritorious service, or does it get pooled together? Are there incentives to work harder?) and what their policy is on slow performance.

Trying to find a job that is fulfilling, has an acceptable salary and allows you to operate in an ethical manner sounds impossible, but with some work (and maybe some luck), you should be able to head down the right path!

It is Never Too Late

it-is-never-too-late

Making ethical decisions is not something that comes naturally to people. You learn right from wrong as you grow up from all kinds of places: your family, your religious beliefs, your education, and your friends. Together with your life experiences, these influences have a profound effect on your decision making. These things also shape our views when we have to make choices that are not so clear cut. We may make those decisions based on past hurts, personal gain, or because we don’t see any other option.

The great thing about ethics is that you can start thinking ethically at any time. All you really have to do is want to improve both yourself and those around you. Decide what kind of person you want to be. Do you want to be more altruistic and do more for others? Do you want to be more judicious in your decisions and make sure that you treat everyone more fairly? Do you want to restore the self-respect of those around you? What does treating people—including yourself—with respect look like to you? These are the kinds of questions that may come up as you try to better yourself. No one answer is right for everyone, and you can choose some of one thing and add something else as you go. It all depends on how you want to see yourself.

After you have an idea of the kind of person you want to be, you can start putting that ideal into practice. When a situation comes up and there is not aclear-cut decision to be made, stop and think about what you are trying to accomplish for yourself. For example, if you are at work and presented with two different bids for the same project and have to select one, how do you decide? If you want to treat people more fairly, would you pick one team over the other and then promise the team you didn’t select that it will be their turn next time? Would you try to combine the two bids into one so that everyone felt like they contributed a little? There are so many ways to look at a situation, and once you find one that you feel represents who you are trying to become, you know you have the right decision.

The last thing that we have found when you are trying to do things in an ethical way is to follow through with what you set out to do. It might be nice to think about doing and being better but you actually have to commit to putting in the work as well. If you tell people that you are going to treat them fairly, and then constantly choose the second-rate projects from your favorite employee, then you aren’t living up to your word. If you make a tough decision and complications arise, own them. Don’t try to deflect it onto someone else or try to sweep it under the rug. Don’t continue to find exceptions or loopholes to the ethical standard you have created for yourself.

You can do this! It’s never too late to start!

Better Decision Making

People make mistakes. It is in our nature. We don’t always do the right thing for any number of reasons. Sometimes we don’t know what the right thing to do is in a particular situation. Sometimes we know and it is just easier (or better) for us if we don’t. Other times, we do what we think is best and there are unintended consequences. Some seem good in the moment but hindsight reveals the path we should have taken instead. We make a lot of decisions over the course of a lifetime; not all of them are going to be the best choices.

Is there a way to try and avoid making mistakes in decision making?

This is a question we have been asking ourselves often. The answer is probably no, but there are ways to make your decisions BETTER than before. You may not always make the correct choice in the end, but if you feel that you have tried to do the best you can when you’re making decisions, even mistakes will be something you can learn from and not feel as guilty about. When you can’t find a right or wrong answer, you can think about things in an ethical manner. The method we have been taught in class can be done in five steps.

  1. Recognize that the decision you are facing is an ethical one. Decide that you are going to make the decision that is going to be the right one, regardless of your own personal stakes in the matter. Could your decision negatively affect someone? Are there legal consequences?
  2. Once you determine what the decision is really about, you need to be more informed. Be honest with what you know and try to find out anything else that might help you make the right decision. Talk to the people it might impact and get their take on the situation. Discover what your options are.
  3. Now that you have options, you need to evaluate them.Hopefully, by following this step, a pattern will emerge and you will start to eliminate the bad choices and be left with one good decision. Look at the options from all sides. You want to find the decision that will work best for all involved. You can also look at it from your point of view: which decision aligns with the person you want to be?
  4. Choose the option you feel best handles the situation. Imagine yourself having to defend this decision. Would it be hard to do, or would you feel good about it? If someone you admired asked you what you planned to do, do you think they would approve of what you have decided? If you feel confident at this point that you have come to the right decision, that is what you should do.
  5. After you have made your decision and seen the impact, reflect on what you have done. Did you achieve the outcome you were hoping for? If not, why not? Were there any unexpected consequences? Do you think you could or should have seen them coming? Did you learn anything as a result of this decision? Now that you know how it affected anyone involved, would you make the same decision over again? As you reflect on the choice you made, and you answer these questions honestly, you can put the things you learned toward the next decision and continue to make better choices as you go through life.

These steps may not apply if you are trying to figure out what movie to see or whether you want to purchase a blue couch or a brown one. But when you are faced with a decision and are not sure what to do, or if it will impact others, using the above steps may help guide you to the best choice.