Can you imagine having to make a decision that can change the course of humanity? It’s a choice that many make every day. The choices you make today will affect people in the next 5 minutes, next hour, tomorrow and possibly for years to come.
Some decisions and choices will affect generations.
Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov
It is the twenty-sixth of September, nineteen-eighty-three. A young lieutenant colonel of the USSR Air Defence Forces is forced to go into work because of a colleague who has fallen sick. This change proved to be a pivotal moment in human history.
Stanislav Petrov may well be the man who saved the world from World War Three. One decision, one choice that could have changed the course of history. It was a decision that took courage and heart. A decision that few would be willing to make.
The system that they relied on showed false attacks, the cause of which has never been discovered. It was one man’s ability to follow his intuition to prevent a nuclear apocalypse. He didn’t rely on what he was getting told by systems but by what he felt. And thankfully he was right and thankfully he followed those feelings.
Stanislav Yevgrafovich’s decision affected the whole world. That is pretty obvious. Anyone that fails to see this needs to re-think how they perceive their current environment.
But there is one greater failure many make after that decision that gave them the opportunity to be alive today. That failure is the inability to make a decision that is hard but which could alter their lives for the better.
There are not many people who will have to make decisions under pressure, the consequences of which will affect the lives of many. In politics, in the armed forces, in the emergency services, traders, CEO’s of companies, all have to make decisions that will affect other peoples lives.
When a decision is made under pressure, when it is time-limited, fear sets in, responsibility sets in and the realisation that consequences will be on your shoulders alone. Fear is the greatest reason why so many people don’t want to take on any extra responsibility.
They feel, they believe and they think that they cannot do it, never giving themselves the benefit of the doubt that they can. Their fear of pain is greater than their belief that they can rise to the occasion. Sometimes we are forced into situations we didn’t expect and we can either rise or sink.
Fear tells them that they will fail, that they will make the wrong decision, that they will be criticised for the decisions and choices they made, that ridicule will follow. They never consider the possibility that they can and are able to meet the demand, what is expected of them.
Those who have the responsibility of making those decisions are aware of what is required of them and they willingly accept them; consciously or unconsciously they accept that responsibility.
You do it every day
Most of the choices we make affect us, some more than others, but we all make those decisions every day. Whether it’s to fix the broken tap or not, to paint the fence or not, to spend time with your family or not.
Time does limit us, but only to a given extent. We do have a tendency to use it as an excuse for not doing something, whether it’s painting the fence or visiting family. That’s the truth and a hard one to accept. It means that there is a lazy side to you, a dark side to you that you are not willing to face, or emotions that you don’t want to face.
Whatever your reasons and your reasoning, they are decisions you have to make. Do you ever wonder how those decisions will affect those around you? How they can be reflected in your own future if you are following the same patterns?
Looking at present-day events, how many people have chosen to ignore their responsibility to the rest of society, causing further issues and distrust? But, putting another perspective on it, the majority of us have chosen, decided, to do what’s needed to maintain safety for ourselves, those close to us and the rest of society.
There are the other decisions that you are also not willing to face, the ones that are life-changing but you are too worried about the outcome. Fear.
Some outcomes are predictable, such as changing career, painting a room, a change in a relationship. Others are not so obvious to start with, the effect being a compound effect over time, like changing your diet and getting onto some kind of fitness regime – these need time to see a change.
It always agrees
During his interview, Stanislav Yevgrafovich stated,
“I fully understand that I won’t be corrected. No-one will dare to correct me. They will agree with me and that’s it. It’s always easier to agree.”
He was referring to his chain of command and the response he knew he would get.
Reflecting that same thought on ourselves, how many realise that every thought and belief they have follows the same pattern?
When we tell ourselves something, something that we believe and are emotionally involved in, our mind, our subconscious, will accept it. There will be no corrections. Your subconscious mind will accept anything that you tell it and it will not dare correct it, because you are the captain of your ship, the master of your fate.
It always agrees with you, because it can’t do otherwise. It the easiest option it has.
So when you tell yourself, “I can’t”, the answer will be, “Okay, you can’t”. If you say, “I am worthy” it will respond, “Yup, you are worthy”, as long as you believe you are. And if you don’t it doesn’t matter – just keep telling yourself that same thing until you believe it. Do it with enthusiasm and pretend that you do believe what you are saying.
And your subconscious mind will agree. Because it can’t do otherwise.
What Stanislav Yevgrafovich faced back in nineteen-eighty-three is something that none of us wants to face, not to such an extreme.
It does highlight two things – the preciousness of life and that there are decisions that can be life-altering. We forget to be grateful for each day that we have because there are people working hard to ensure our safety, on a national and a global scale. Then there are those decisions we should be making to make our lives better but we fear the discomfort that any such decision may bring, failing to see the bigger picture of what comes afterwards.
Fear and the fear of pain keep us still. But decisions made on a daily basis, without thought, are not the ones that change anything – they are the ones that keep the routine going and the insanity in place. For any change to happen there has to be a change in the routine.
A decision has to be made and any decision made with the same determination and resolve as that done by Stanislav Yevgrafovich on that day will produce results unexpected under normal conditions.
One decision saved the world. One decision can change your world.
You can measure a man’s character by the choices he makes under pressure.
One wrong decision and everything turns to dust.
Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov