Making Good Decisions
When I started writing this article, my intention was to discuss the importance of good decision-making and ways to support this. I do cover this; however, however, I decided to also look at the various ways we may have been taught to make decisions.
Let me start by asking, what is a decision?
Some definitions, according to the dictionary:
• A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration,
• A judgment, decree, or determination of finds of fact and/or of law by a judge, arbitrator, court, governmental agency or other official tribunal (that is a mouthful isn’t it?)
So, when making any decision - normal, legal, or otherwise - is there a good way to do so?
According to Psychology Today, good decision making is done by gathering as much information as possible, considering all the possible alternatives, as well as their attendant benefits and costs, and taking the time to sleep on weightier decisions.
That is one way to do so.
Another thought is: to ensure when making good decisions, do not succumb to common errors or bias. A mention was made to not go with your gut on an “informed decision," but rather figure out what knowledge you lack and obtain it. Also, emotion-based decisions can be filled with later regret. That is what an expert magazine states.
A mentor of mine advised me to make my decision based on feeling expansive or constrictive. This included the question, what do I love? You may be thinking, “that is ridiculous.” I can definitely say that my gut and my expansive feelings have not led me astray. When my gut says, "take an umbrella on a sunny day," - I do - and am always glad of this decision as the rain descends on the umbrella and not my head.
When I have done the overthinking and over-searching as to which information is true and which is not, and considered alternatives, decision paralysis comes over me and the decision ends up being taken out of my hands and is then controlled by others. Not a way to live a life and yet so many do this and then blame the others because of the decision made.
Making decisions is a daily occurrence. What will we wear? Will we eat homecooked food or take-out? Maybe go to the pub for a pint? Those are some conscious ones we make.
Other ones are routine: brush our teeth, get dressed, go to work, the route we take to get there. Then there are ones that are automatic: throwing trash in the garbage, typing on a keyboard, placement of our coffee cup or parking our car in our spot.
With all these decisions, how do we know what a good decision is?
Think back to when you were a child and the decisions you may have faced were choosing friends, activities, what to snack on after school and what to do after homework was completed. Or maybe your decisions were based on required results from others, your parents, your older siblings, your younger siblings, grandparents, teachers, and others.
How did you learn to make a good decision and what is a good decision? Many psychologists can agree that a good decision is one that is healthy and provides you forward momentum in your life. Some of my decision-making skills came from being told what not to do. Being in trouble was not on my “to-do” list. Consequences also taught me how to make a decision. Was the outcome of my choice going to have me doing what I want with a blessing or with a lecture and punishment?
When we have a sense of self and a high self-esteem, knowledge of our worth is present; self-respect and confidence allow us to decide things and move into the light of success. Low self-esteem and low confidence tend to keep us stuck and feeling down which may lead to wavering in decision making and making poor choices that take us on a dark journey.
What if there were a formula for making good decisions? The 4 Cs of Decision Making creates the opportunity for great decision making. Choice, Consequence Evaluation, Choose, and Commit. Sounds easy in the process, but maybe a little more challenging at the end. When we have a decision to make, we first list our choices – brainstorm with a trusted advisor. Once we have a list, we are able to move to consequence evaluation. This step needs to be done honestly and openly – what are the benefits and fallouts, is it a “need to have” or just a shiny “want to have”. The “want to haves” often lead to limited fulfillment once received and possible regret later on.
Stretch your mind, ensuring you have written down every possible outcome for this decision that you can see, and your advisor (who has more years’ experience) may see. Then it is time to DECIDE. Choose. Choose the one which you, after steps one and two, decide for. Then, this next step is very important and may lead to a change in step #3 - commit to the decision. Be willing to stand by what is decided and accept the consequences that will result with this choice. The outcome is theirs to receive.
A quote from Neale Donald Walsch speaks to this process:
Therefore, be honest with yourself as to why you are choosing to do a particular thing. Then, do it gladly, knowing that you are always getting to do what you want. The statement "I have no choice" is a lie. You can choose. You simply do not prefer the alternatives available to you, for whatever reason. So you select the outcome that you most prefer.
Decision-making, once repeated over and over again, becomes easier. We get bogged down by overthinking the choice or possible outcome as it rolls around in our mind. Once it is down on paper and discussed with a trust advisor, the decision is normally clear and easy to make.
Life is made on the decisions we make, and decisions are made that affect us, even when we are not making them.
My mentor, Bob Proctor, said “There is a single mental move you can make which, in a millisecond, will solve enormous problems for you. It has the potential to improve almost any personal or business situation you will ever encounter … and it could literally propel you down the path to incredible success.”
So, I invite you to start making decisions that expand your life and not constrict it. If you would like further information on boosting your self-esteem, confidence, and decision-making skills, please schedule a Discovery Session with me. I would be honoured to hear your story and work to support your dreams.
Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again, soon. —Lois