We make thousands of decisions everyday. Some are big and life changing, such as making a career switch or choosing a house. While others are small and inconsequential, such as choosing an outfit to wear. With so many decisions to make, it might be easier to get someone to make the decisions so that we won’t have to take responsibility if anything terrible happens. Yet always remember that you and only you, have your best interests at heart. How your life will pan out depends on the decisions that you make. Don’t let someone else make the decision. Take control over your life by being a better decision maker.
Manage Your Emotions
Remember what they say about not making promises when you are feeling overconfident or happy? That’s because you’re more likely to take bigger risks and make rash decisions! It’s like going all-in in a poker game after making a small win. Conversely, you’re more likely to be conservative in your choices if you are feeling anxious or nervous. Take a step back when you feel overwhelmed with emotions and make the decision when you have calmed down.
As much as we’d like to think that we are rational and impartial, we’re not! We all have our cognitive biases. We tend to fixate on a particular choice or belief that we think is right. But hold up. What about the other alternatives? Look at the issue from a different angle. Ask yourself what would happen if you do this and what would happen if you do that. More importantly, find out what you don’t know! Talk to your friends or family to broaden your perspective and think a little deeper. You’re more likely to make an informed decision with more facts and alternatives.
It’s good to weigh the pros and cons especially if you are making a life changing decision. But don’t overthink it too much! Studies have shown that thinking excessively about a problem will make it even harder to make a choice. If you have to make a decision, sleep on it! Or do something that will take your mind off the issue so that you’ll have a clearer state of mind when it comes to decision making.
Align Your Values
Time and time again, people will grab your hand and tell you to choose this or that. They may tell you to make the most practical choice or impose their ideals upon you. It’s easy for your thoughts and aspirations to get drowned in the sea of voices. Take in all the feedback and make a decision that is true to your values and goals. It’s more important for you to be happy with your choice than for it to be practical. Make a decision based on what you think or feel, not because someone else told you to do so.
Take Calculated Risks
In every decision that we make, there will definitely be risks and trade offs. We might not always make a good decision. Sometimes we only realise it upon hindsight and reflection. Sometimes we only realise it after experiencing the consequences. But don’t let it stop you from taking the leap of faith. The risk that you took might turn out to be the best life changing decision! As long as you reflect and learn from your past (poor) decisions, don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.
Once you have made the choice, commit and follow through! A large part of decision making is executing it. Take the necessary steps to make your decision a reality and don’t shy away from it. The more you learn to make decisions, the better you’ll become.