The process of decision making can sometimes be an interesting topic to discuss. I am often asked “What is the best way to make decisions?” While there is no single, plain, and simple answer to so complex and wide a question, there are certain things that I have learnt about decision making.
These lessons have been learnt through my life (personal and professional) experiences, and through the wisdom that many experts in the field of personal development have written and spoken about.
Before I share these lessons with you, I have to ask you a question – “Have you ever wondered why some people are good at making decisions while others are not?” Now, when I say “good at making decisions”, I am referring to people who are able to make decisions easily.
Please ask yourself a question right now – “How good am I at making decisions?” Think about this in detail and see what answers you came up with.
Do you normally take a long time and think very hard before making a decision?
Do you find the decision making process a tedious task?
Everyone makes decisions differently. Making a decision is one thing, the outcome of the decision is another. Let’s focus on the process of making decisions.
So, here are 5 things that I learnt about decision making:
1. Stick to decisions – it is said that Henry Ford (one of the most successful businessmen of all time) was quick in making decisions and slow in changing them. I once read that if you are to achieve something, the first thing that you need to do is make a decision. Making a decision can be challenging enough at times, sticking to the decision can be more challenging. The key here is to look at the reasons and driving forces behind making the decision in the first place. Surely you saw some merit in making that decision. Otherwise you would not have made it. There will always be outside influences that will sway us into changing a decision. Unless you learn of a very valid reason for changing your decision, you can stick to your original decision.
2. Write it down (it is more effective) – once you make a decision, write down the decision that you have made! If you wish, you can write down the reasons why you made that decision, and the expected outcomes of that decision. Writing the decision will give you assurance that you made the right decision and will help you in sticking to it. Affirm to yourself that you did the best that you could, with what you had at the time of making the decision. A simple way to write it down would be “My decision is....... because I believe that.........” If you wish to stick to your decision, and outside influences are making you think twice, have a look at your decision in its written form.
3. Simplify it, instead of over-analysing it – the simpler your approach to decision making, the easier you will find the process of decision making. Sure, doing research and finding out certain things before making the decision can be part of the process. If you make it too analytical, your mind may be pulled in different directions, and confusion may set in. Making a decision is not so easy for a mind which is confused. If you look at the simplicities of making your decision, instead of the complexities, you will find that the decision making process can be made simple and easy. I will say this once again, in certain circumstances, there will be many variables to consider, and making a decision may require analysis and research. Yet, the analysis and research can be kept at a level which is simple enough for you to process and comprehend. Confident people make confident decisions.
4. Make decisions using your intellect and intuition- Let your intellect and intuition guide your emotions. Sometimes we make decisions based on emotions only. This can be counterproductive in certain circumstances. Use your intellect and make a decision with intelligence. Then, using your intuition, ask yourself how you feel about that decision. Intuitively, how do you feel about that decision? Does your intuition agree with the decision that you have made? If your intellect and your intuition are aligned with the decision that you have made, then chances are that your emotions will be guided by your intellect and intuition. Have you ever heard anyone say “I think that I should be doing it this way, and my gut feeling says the same thing?” That is a person’s intellect and intuition guiding him or her. You are welcome to do the same thing!
5. Make decisions with purpose - Feel good about your decisions. Be grateful! The fact that you have made a decision is a testament to the fact that you do know what you want, and you do know what you do not want. Rely on being in the moment when you make a decision and be passionate about making your decision. Know that your decision will serve a purpose in your life, and in the lives of others. You cannot travel into the future to see if your decision was a ‘good’ one or a ‘bad’ one. All that you can do is decide as things stand right now, not in the future. By doing so, you will take the pressure off yourself. I know what it can be like if you are putting pressure on yourself to make a decision about something. Decisions are best made while you are mentally and emotionally calm.
So, there you have it, my 5 simple insights into making decisions. If you make a decision and in the future that decision reveals itself to be a bad decision, take it with acceptance, and not with regret. If you beat yourself up, you will be under more pressure when you make your next decision. Life is about two things – learning and living. We live to learn, and we learn to live!
I hope that you will use these insights in your decision making process.
Inspiring you towards your excellence,
Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Life Coach & Executive Coach)
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