To Decide Is to Act

If you look up the word “decide,” most dictionaries will say something to effect of “making up one’s mind.”

When you look at the actual Latin origin of the word, however, you will see that a decision is not just a mental process. In Latin, “decide” means “to cut” or “to cut off.”

The modern usage only deals with the mental aspect of decision-making. . . the thought process. The original definition, however, deals with action.

When something is cut, it cannot be uncut. It can be mended, our healed, but evidence of the cut, the scar, is always there. A pipe that is cut is never the same again no matter how well you weld it back together.

One can always internally make up one’s mind, and then change it, without anything ever being done. Internally, you can go back and forth between choices and possible outcomes all day with no physical action ever taking place. That is not deciding, that is contemplating, or assessing.

An action, however, cannot be undone. An action can be corrected, adjusted, modified, or perfected. But your actions cannot be erased from history once they are made.

At the same time, not taking any action is a decision as well. Non-action and action are differences in degrees of decision-making, not difference in kind.

It’s not enough to say, “I’ve made a decision.” That is not the same as making an actual decision. Until you’ve actually done something, you haven’t decided anything at all.

You’ve only thought about it.

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