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Do You Have the Discernment to Succeed?

The following post is from Jeff of My Super-Charged Life:

Discerning Lady

Success in life is mostly about making the right choices.

The way you choose to act or react to the circumstances in your life defines the results you get.  This seems simple and straightforward enough, right?  If you continue with this logic, then it only stands to reason that if you can improve your choices, then you can improve your results.

So, how do you make these critical choices in life?  This is where discernment comes into play.  Do you regularly exhibit the kind of keen insight and clear judgment necessary to discern the best path to take in life?  You can answer this question by looking at the results you’ve been getting.

Are you completely happy with the level of success you’ve achieved?

If not, then maybe you need to work on sharpening your discernment.  Even a small improvement can make a big difference in the results you get and the rewards you enjoy.

The Role Discernment Plays in Our Success

A person with good discernment will handle much of what life throws their way and generally come out on top again.  People with exceptional discernment seem to pass through all kinds of crap and still come out smelling like a rose.

These are the people we call Teflon men and women because nothing ever sticks to them.  They are often labeled as “lucky” or said to be living a “charmed life”.

Why?  Because they seem to instinctively discern exactly the right thing to do in every situation.  They consistently choose the next best move.  In doing so, they seem to always be in the right place at the right time.

However, it isn’t really luck or any such nonsense that puts them in these perfect positions.  No, it is their keen sense of discernment.  For some, it comes almost natural.  For the rest of us, we have to work at it.

Improve Your Discernment for Greater Success

You use your discernment on a daily basis whether you are aware of it or not. You make hundreds of choices every day. You pick what clothes to wear, how to spend your money and who you hang around.  These all have an influence on your level of success.

Then there are more critical situations where your choices have even greater consequences.  I’m talking about things like how to react in conflict, when to expand your business and who you should marry.  Poor discernment in these circumstances can really cost you.

So, I’ll ask, are you happy with the choices you’ve made so far in life?

If, right now, you are thinking that you need to improve your discernment, then I want to congratulate you because you are choosing wisely. See this is already helping you!  I’d suggest that there is room for improvement for all of us.

Steps to Improve Your Discernment

The good news is that there are things you can do to improve how well you discern the next right move in your life.  It’s likely things won’t just magically get better for you overnight, but if you consistently work on your discernment, then over time, the incremental improvements you make will make a huge difference.

Here are the steps to improving your discernment:

1.  Acknowledge Your Discernment Isn’t Where It Needs to Be

The first step in sharpening your discernment is to acknowledge that you need to improve in this area of your life.  This is no different from anything else.  You can’t get any better at something until you realize that change and improvement are needed.  This is always the first step toward greater success.  This sounds simple enough, but admitting you don’t always make the best decisions for yourself is harder than you think.  Many people will never make this first step.

2.  Select an Area to Focus On

Choose the area of your life where you feel you would most benefit right now from improved discernment.  It might be in your business, your relationships or your finances.  Where have you been struggling lately?  This is likely the place to start.  By narrowing your focus to a particular area, you will be able to concentrate your efforts and realize greater benefits.  Trying to improve your discernment across the board is too broad of a stroke and I would recommend against this kind of approach.

3.  Grow Your Wisdom

Wisdom and discernment are closely related.  They both have to do with applying your knowledge and experience to make good decisions.  If you want to improve your discernment, then you need to build up your knowledge and experience in your area of focus.  You can do this by seeking the input and support of others that have gone before you.

What I’m saying is that you can bolster your own wisdom by learning from the lessons of others.  Find a book, blog or mentor that will teach you specific techniques for how to handle the decisions you need to improve upon.  Don’t just dip a toe in a move along, you’ve got to immerse yourself in the topic and soak in it for awhile to really grow your wisdom.

4.  Apply What You Learn

There is a Chinese Proverb that says, “Talk doesn’t cook rice.”  In other words, nothing happens until you begin to act.  Studying a subject is great and I certainly encourage it, but eventually you have to do something if you want to see results.  Prepare yourself and then act.  Yes, you may make a mistake, but you can learn from this too.

If you approach life with the right attitudes, then you can eliminate failure as a possibility.  The key here is to make adjustments along the way.  People that appear to have the best discernment are the ones that know that very few decisions are absolutely final.  They continually adjust as they begin to act increasing the likelihood that they will achieve their desired outcome.  You can do this too.

5.  Evaluate Your Results

Finally, I’m a big believer in debriefing after a mission.  In other words, once you act, you need to stop at some point and evaluate the results you are getting.  Reflect upon your decisions.  Were they wise?  How could you have done better?  Discuss it with those involved or a mentor.  Learn from the feedback and make the adjustments we just talked about.

At a minimum, acknowledge what you could have done better so you can improve the next time you face similar circumstances.  Regardless of the outcomes, remember, life goes on.  Don’t beat yourself up too much.  You are a growing, evolving person that is making an honest effort to improve your discernment.  That’s something to be proud of!

What are you going to do to improve your discernment? What has helped you make wiser choices? Share with us in the comments so we can all learn from your experience.

Jeff Nickles writes My Super-Charged Life to help people find success and meaning in their life. He has spent many hours researching these topics and loves making it easy for others to use the wisdom he discovers. Jeff is a corporate IT Director, but also has experience as an entrepreneur, consultant, training instructor, and military officer.