Decisions 25

All of us are confronted with various decisions to make on a daily basis. Some are small and of minor consequence, while others are challenging and potentially life-changing. Making good decisions is one of the hardest but most important things we do. In fact, anything that happens down the line can be seen as a direct consequence of earlier decisions.  Some are simple and obvious choices; others are more difficult and painstaking. For every option there are going to be advantages and disadvantages. Successful people approach decisions differently; they have a methodical way of looking at choices and understand there are no guarantees in life. You can never know for certain and in advance whether a decision will be correct, therefore, you must be prepared to take risks.  It is also important to recognize when your ability to make good decisions is vulnerable, such as when you are in a hurry, your pride is at stake, angry, lonely, rejected, inebriated, or tired. Successful people know when they are not in a good place to make a decision, and they say, ‘Let me sleep on that,’ or ‘Let me think about that. I’ll get back to you”. Making a decision when you are not in the right frame of mind leads to consequences. Consequences pile up and turn into regret. Regret has a big impact especially if it is due to bad decision-making. When successful people review disappointments, they learn from them and then they are done with them; they forget them.  Successful people are not willing to let others take control. If we make our own our decisions, we get what we choose. Good things come to those who decide.

Complex and difficult decisions need a process we can follow to help us come up with a good solution. Identify the decision to be made as well as the objectives or outcome you want to achieve.  Do your homework. Gather as many facts and as much information you can to assess your options.  Brainstorm and come up with several possible choices. Determine if the options are matching your values, interests and abilities. Weigh the probabilities or possible outcomes. In other words, what is the worst that can happen? What will happen if I do A, B or C and can I live with the consequences?  Sometimes when you match the pros against the cons you may find them dramatically lopsided. Look for opinions and obtain feedback from those you trust or have had a similar situation to contend with. There may be some aspects you haven’t thought about. Make the decision and monitor your results. If you make a mistake view it as an opportunity to learn what didn’t work and examine why. Many times decisions are reversible and you can change your mind. Sometimes people become so paralyzed with the fear of making a wrong decision that they panic and lose sight of what they are trying to accomplish. This hinders making any decision. Once you have made the decision, stick to it. At the very least, you will have learned important lessons. Do not underestimate the power of intuition, or your gut feeling. Decisions are crossroads. Life does not happen to us; we are an active participant. We get out of life what we choose.