We make thousands of decisions daily, and it starts the moment we get out of bed with deciding what to wear that day. While decisions like this only take us a split second to make, there are other decisions which we’ll spend a lot more time thinking about.
Regardless of how long it takes us to make a decision, the same thing drives the process all the time. The simple answer to this is the perception of loss or gain. In other words, we make decisions based on what we believe we’ll get from their outcome. This is why it can be so tricky to make decisions at times: We confuse ourselves by over-analyzing every detail and spending too much time pondering every possible outcome. Unfortunately, this results in a lot of inaction.
When you want to be a good decision maker you must spot problems, opportunities, and trends early on. This enables you to stay open to any and all available possibilities instead of shutting them off and making a bad choice. Of course, this doesn’t mean that as soon as you spot a dilemma you should make a decision because you still need to take time to think about what’s going on.
Although all of this probably sounds quite simple, it’s not always as cut and dry as “yes” or “no.” This is because a third alternative also exists: that of making no decision at all. The reason for indecision is simply because we’re faced with a choice but doesn’t mean we have to make one. We can stop and consider whether we really want to make a decision at all or simply let life happen to us.
All of these choices are easily affected by our emotions though. This is something we need to learn to remove from our decision-making process. While being in tune with your emotions is what is best, we can’t afford to let them get the upper hand. Instead, we must take an analytical approach, especially when we feel like they’re getting the best of us.
Motivational speakers say that one of the best ways to get our emotions under control is to make a list of pros and cons based on what the decision is. This will force us to make an analytical decision. It also stops us from dressing a decision up as being “good” or “bad.” Unfortunately, these thoughts truly inhibit our decision-making process.
“Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.” – Phil McGraw
Knowing what we’re facing simply serves as a starting point. It’s important to understand we cannot only evaluate one alternative, especially when we’re dealing with a big decision. This is something that is backed by research which states that when you look at three or more alternatives you can reach a better decision. Of course, this will take extra time and effort, but it’s a worthwhile investment.
Instead of only looking at the data that’s quickly available because it’s laid in front of you, it’s important to dig deeper. This way you’re “forced” to look at information other than what’s your “favorite.” The process also stops you from making a poor decision.
Once you determine what the right decision is for you, it’s important you commit to following through with it. Sometimes this will require consistency, time, effort, and regular action. However, you must help yourself here by trusting yourself. To do this you need to stay both positive and energetic.
Acting this way will also help you build your decision-making skills along with allowing you to be nice to yourself. You don’t want to be so cruel that you spend a lot of time beating yourself up every time you make a big decision. There are individuals who spend months wishing they’d made a different decision, the “right” decision. Dwelling on this doesn’t help or accomplish anything as it cripples you the next time when you need to make a decision in the future.
Any motivational speaker will tell you that life is about getting out there, making decisions and leading in the age of disruption. This isn’t about wallowing in self-pity when you make a bad decision. Instead, you have to keep moving forward if you ever want to succeed.
According to Forbes, being inspired makes a huge difference in moving forward. It can help you succeed in your life with every decision you make along with helping you face times when you’re wrong. In fact, research suggests 70% of all the decisions we make throughout our lives will be wrong.
It’s important to stay flexible enough to be able to admit when we make a mistake. Failure to admit a mistake leaves us plodding down the wrong path, which causes even potentially bigger problems. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you’re infallible. This actually opens you up to being able to learn from those mistakes that you’ve made.
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee
Admitting to your mistakes does require a certain degree of flexibility. However, in life you do need to be able to start new things, stop other things and be ready to make some bad mistakes. Being flexible simply allows you to make adjustments and adapt faster.
None of this is meant to say, or even suggest, that decision-making is easy as it is quite the contrary. Decision-making is actually a really difficult and challenging process. However, now that you understand this process a bit better you’ll be ready when it’s time to make the next decision in your life. Hopefully you’ll also be propelled towards making the right choice, which will make things a bit easier on you as well.
What is your decision-making process look like? Let us know in the comments below!