Dr. Levy's CBT Blog
Insights on Well-Being, Contentment, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
I recently finished the book "Dedicated" by Pete Davis, a Harvard Law graduate who gained online notoriety thanks to a viral graduation speech in the youtube video below. Mr. Davis has expanded the concepts in his graduation speech into a bestselling book that questions how we can find commitment and purpose in a fluid society that values open choice, freedom, and individualism. It is an interesting and well-written book, focused largely on civic involvement. But as far as CBT is concerned, the sections about choice are particularly relevant.
Mr. Davis makes the case for the impossibility of making "right" choices. When we call a path the "right" one, we assume that there is only one perfect future and that this one path is the absolute best way to get there. This is obviously as fallacy, as the future doesn't exist. We make it with our actions today. There are many, many choices that can conceivably lead to great places down the road. Failing to recognize that keeps us stuck in search of that one winning ticket.
If we can't make the "right" choice, what we can do is make our choices right. The book quotes executive coach Ed Batista as highlighting that if we commit to the choices that we make, those choices have a much greater chance of leading us to a positive outcome. So after we make a choice, any choice, the key lever that we have to make it work well is commitment.
Commitments, Mr. Davis argues, are living things. And like all living things, a commitment needs to be nurtured and nourished. When we work towards making our choices right, we are feeding that commitment and giving it a fair chance to thrive. We don't constantly revisit the choice, we don't move backwards or in circles, we don't get stuck. We commit and we move.
However, like all living things, commitments can sometimes wither and fade, in spite of receiving good care. If or when that happens, it is likely time to let that commitment go, without regrets. And make a new choice. And make that choice right.
In TEAM-CBT, we use the Decision Making form to help guide clients through the analytics of of a hard decision. If needed, we can process the emotions behind that choice through empathy or using a thought log. There are many therapeutic tools and interventions that can help us make careful, deliberate, well-intentioned decisions. But it is ultimately the voluntary act of committing to the direction that you choose that will make those decisions right.
Dr. Daniele Levy is a licensed psychologist offering CBT via Teletherapy from Menlo Park, CA. Her background uniquely combines leading edge training in behavioral sciences with deep expertise coaching and mentoring working professionals in dynamic organizations.
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Bay Area Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
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