decision-making in a money focused world

Navigating decision making in a money focused world

decision-making in a money focused world

This column is supposed to be about decision-making, and ironically enough, it’s the first time I can’t decide what to write about: making decisions at work, in relationships, or simply navigating life’s myriad choices?

As a single millennial woman in a society primarily geared towards cohabiting or married couples, the burden of making countless decisions alone is a familiar weight, sometimes making even the simplest choices, like what to have for dinner, feel overwhelming. I often joke about needing someone to manage my life – like a personal assistant for chores and paperwork. A friend once teased me, asking if I meant a housewife from the 1920s. “If someone volunteered willingly, why not?” I quipped back, albeit half-seriously. Admittedly, it’s somewhat of a first-world problem, but the increasing individualization of society is a trend worth being concerned about.

Self-reliance has become second nature to me. Arriving in the Netherlands at the age of four, accompanied by an older sister barely of legal age herself, and classified as an unaccompanied minor refugee by the government, undoubtedly contributed to this trait. As a creator and co-founder of various media outlets, social initiatives, and cultural grassroots organizations, and as someone who actively participates in public discourse, the expectation often lingers that taking on leadership roles, especially as a #girlboss, should come effortlessly. It’s something that can easily become internalized.

However, the desire and necessity to make decisions alone in every aspect of life serve as a facade of control. Life, as it turns out, is not easily dictated. “The rhythm of life is a jazz rhythm, honey,” as American poet Langston Hughes so aptly put it in his poem “Lenox Avenue: Midnight,” “The Gods are laughing at us.”

There’s a certain peace in allowing life to guide you, rather than incessantly trying to steer ahead of it. It means not basing decisions solely on unpredictable doomsday scenarios, or losing sleep over problems that haven’t yet materialized. Instead, it’s about facing challenges as they arise, preferably not alone.

People who assume leadership roles are often expected to do so solo. For some, it’s more comfortable to relinquish control of their lives to others rather than shoulder the responsibility themselves. Otherwise, one must admit that every triumph or stumble is a result of their own actions. It’s no wonder organized religion, with its promise of absolving personal responsibility by entrusting control to a select few who claim divine authority, often serves as the opiate of the masses.

Recently, I had the opportunity to read “Emergent Strategy” by adrienne maree brown, an exploration of both ancient and innovative approaches to effecting change. One concept that resonated deeply was collective decision-making, illustrated by the synchronized movements of flocks of starlings in nature. “No one bears the burden alone of figuring out the next move and muscling towards it. There is an efficiency at play.”

This notion harks back to Liberia, the land of my ancestors, where disputes and significant matters were deliberated in the palaver hut. From shepherds to kings, all villagers convened beneath the thatched roof to address the issues of the day. This communal deliberation echoes the democratic principles of ancient Greece, which laid the groundwork for modern democracies. Yet, these principles are currently faltering as profit-driven motives and power accumulation overshadow the original ethos.

Our contemporary political landscape exemplifies this, with little room for thoughtful discourse when the aim is to win votes rather than serve the populace.I must confess, I wouldn’t attend every mundane meeting or lengthy discussion that could be handled via email. My contention lies in making collective decisions about our shared path forward. It’s not merely about which laws we desire, but rather, what laws are truly beneficial and how they should be shaped. According to capitalist doctrine, this collective deliberation is a luxury we cannot afford. However, this assertion is a blatant falsehood that primarily ensnares those at the societal margins—those grappling with poverty, systemic bias, or disabilities. By determining our priorities collectively and working together towards them, we can alleviate much of the anxiety surrounding the future. As brown astutely observes, “The clearer you are as a group about where you are going, the more you can relax into how to get there.

This article was originally written in Dutch, for Conflicthantering Magazine

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Navigating decision making in a money focused world