At the end of his letter of advice written to James Harmon for his book, Take My Advice, Alphonso Lingis writes “Never make any important decision out of depression, a sense of needs, of dependency.” He continues to explain that when you make choices because of fear, those choices typically end up being poor choices. According to Lingis, decisions that are made during happy moments are decisions that are made with more clarity, and more closely align with your true inner feelings.
For Lingis, when we make decisions because we are afraid of negative feelings or because we believe that it is what is expected of us, especially when those feelings don’t align with our own desires, we end up making hasty choices that in the long run will lead us to more difficult situations.
For me, this has been something that I have experienced multiple times. There was a point in college where I was not happy and I was uncertain about my future. I decided to switch my major to business because I was afraid of not finding a job immediately out of college. I was depressed, and scared, and made a decision without truly looking at what I waned and was best for me. The major only led me further into depression.
What I later learned was to follow a major that I enjoyed and that made me happy. I switched to Spanish and found more ways to become connected and involved on campus. By taking risks and putting myself in situations where I enjoyed what I was doing, even if it was not what all of my friends were doing, I was able to grow in new ways by becoming a more engaging person. I learned to value decisions that aligned with my inner purpose, despite the fact that those decisions were not easy and would not clearly lead to a job, .
I think that Lingis’ message is to find areas that will help you grow and feel at peace with you inner self. By making decisions because we are afraid of what the future will hold, we act hastily and make choices that we think will make us happy, rather than making decisions that we know will make us happy.