The Decisive Moment

The lighted sign on Chicago’s Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Illinois Tower/skyscraper

“Eat Right!”* by ©Terry Tasche


Where did we get the term “decisive moment?” The French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson famously coined the term  “the decisive moment,” and is considered to be the father of modern photojournalism. Incidentally, he was the first photographer to have an exhibit in the Louvre. He described the “decisive moment” as, “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.” It’s interesting to note that he had spent part of his childhood in Normandy, France, where the Battle of Normandy took place.

The Battle of Normandy of WWII involved an historic “decisive moment” and is an example of a significant event captured in many photographs. Jim Tice, Times staff writer, states in his article, June 6, 1944: Against all odds, “D-Day, June 6, 1944, was the decisive moment of the decisive campaign to gain victory over Nazi Germany. Years of planning, Ike’s (General Dwight D. Eisenhower) leadership, laid the foundation for D-Day success. When 150,000 American, British and Canadian forces assaulted beaches and drop zones on the Normandy coast of France on June 6, 1944, they were executing a strategy conceived four years earlier, well before the United States officially entered the war.”

Tice continues, “The Americans and British agreed early on that a single officer, Gen. Eisenhower, would command the invasion of Europe — a unique position that went to Eisenhower in December 1943.” It’s an exciting story of victory that led to freedom. History professor Dr. Christopher Gabel, of the Combat Studies Institute U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, referring to the plan to strike at Germany and destroy its war machine, said, “I think it was very important that we knew where we wanted to go, and we stuck to that concept.”

Decisive moments can bring victory, as in the Normandy invasion. Many might relate to this quote by French author Andre Gide, who coincidentally was also brought up in Normandy, “The most decisive actions of life are most often unconsidered actions.” Therefore, the result can be other than what you intended when you don’t think and plan ahead with decisive action.

Eisenhower knew where he was going and what he was supposed to accomplish for that all-important decisive moment. How important it is to have a plan and a single focus! That same principle presents itself many times in every day life. For instance, knowing where you want to go and sticking to your plan are successful strategies for victory in daily life, diet and exercise, too.

Interestingly, the word “decide” comes from the Latin root meaning to cut off.  This is meaningful, because cutting off the junk food supply will most assuredly bring victory over weight gain and other defeats, which added weight might bring.

Other meanings for the word decide are also significant:

  • to make up one’s mind about (will you eat junk food or not);
  • to decide what to do (when confronted with hunger, will you take the easy road to unhealthy food or will you eat right);
  • to influence or determine the outcome of (will you take note of the eventual outcome for your body and health);
  • to announce a verdict (can you see that judgment day is coming regarding the cost of your eating actions and activity inaction).

~ You Can’t Fix It if You Don’t Face It ~

One decisive moment for me was the day I decided to write and tell someone what I was eating. It was a small decision, a simple action step I took, yet amazingly helpful. That decision helped me see more clearly what I was eating, by writing it down in black-and-white and then sharing it with three friends. I found that being accountable to someone else was most helpful, because it let me know just how my decisive moments regarding my food choices were adding up. I had finally realized this: I can’t fix it if I can’t face it!

Everyone’s diet includes decisive moments. For instance, it happens the moment you decide you want the weight off. It’s a decision of whether to eat healthy food or not. It’s a decision you make to exercise more, or to just sit around and do nothing that benefits your body and your health. These are decisive moments that can make or break your health and your life.

For example, you may think to yourself, “I just want to have a little taste of that,” (e.g. whatever junk food item you’re contemplating gobbling down). Unfortunately, you don’t usually think about how much work that decision to eat just a little bite will take to burn off the weight that little bite can add.

Ever since the time of Plato philosophers have described the decision-making process as either rational or emotional: to carefully deliberate, or to make a hasty decision in the blink of an eye and “to go with your gut.” And, at the moment of decision, if you go with your gut, you just may be letting your gut go.

Plan the strategy in advance to outwit the enemy:

  • Stick to the battle plan!
  • Make up your mind to win.
  • It’s the added calories that are going in that add up.
  • It’s all in the decisions you make.
  • You are the one who decides your fate and your weight.

So, in that moment of decision, choose to Eat Right!

* The lighted sign on Chicago’s Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Illinois Tower/skyscraper caught my eye one evening while in downtown Chicago, so I stopped to capture this picture. Remember when you’re in that decisive moment to Eat Right!

Copyright © Terry Tasche – All Rights Reserved

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