How to Make Great Decisions - By Paul Dalton
How many times in your life have you put off doing something because you couldn't decide the best course of action to take? I've known people plan to go out for a well earned meal with their partner and end up staying at home because they couldn't make up their mind between Chinese or Italian. Heaven help the person who orders sweet and sour chicken when all along they should have been having lasagna! Can you imagine what it is like for them to choose between a staying in their job or take a gamble on starting that business they always dreamed of?
The fear of making bad decisions prevents people from doing all kinds of things that they might be better off doing. The truth of the matter is there is no way of knowing which direction a particular choice is going to take you. You can spend years ruminating over every possible outcome while in the mean time watching the world move on around you. It doesn't change the fact that, no matter what you choose to do in the end, it might all turn out right and it might all turn out not so right.
But none of that matters because the secret to making great decisions is falling in love with making mistakes.
A lot of people will not make the distinction between making a mistake and making a bad decision, but there is a world of difference, and realizing what that difference is can literally turn your life around and set you on a whole new path.
A mistake is literally doing something in a moment that you think is for the best but later turns out to be not such a good idea for you. A bad decision is doing nothing to correct that mistake and then letting the consequences of it define you for ages afterwards.
Here are a few of examples:
Mistake = Getting into a relationship with the wrong person.
Bad Decision = Sticking with them and being miserable for the rest of your life
Mistake = Choosing Bognor Regis rather than Cuba for your annual holiday.
Bad Decision = Looking for everything you can find to hate about Bognor just to prove you were right about how you should have gone to Cuba! And then going back to Bognor next year! (Bognor is a wonderful place by the way).
Mistake = Going into business without having some sort of a plan.
Bad Decision = Injecting more and more of your personal finance, sweat and tears into it just to prove you can make the damn thing work.
Making a good decision is not about knowing the outcome before it has had a chance to happen. It is about committing to ANY course of action you FEEL is for the best and then paying attention to the lessons you are later presented with. It is the skill of interpreting the information generated by what has happened and choosing to either do more of the same or change your approach -- even start again in some cases. In the same way that an airplane reaches its destination by continually measuring how off track it is from the set flight path and adjusting its course to get back on track, the same is true for good decision making.
Making a decision in any area is not a one time event; it is an ongoing and organic process that must evolve as life unfolds.
Think about a decision you have been putting off making. What are the possible choices you have?
Just for a moment, let go of analyzing which choice you think you should make and just listen to your body; your intuition. If I were to flip a coin and the rules were Heads you choose option A and Tails you go with option B, which side would you secretly hope for, deep down, before knowing the outcome?
Just go with your instinct and do something to start to make that choice happen. Be willing to make a mistake, knowing that the only bad decision you can ever make is to not do something about the things you didn't want to happen.
If things go wrong be willing to make a mistake in the opposite direction because, who knows, it might turn out to not be a mistake after all, but rather the realization of your dream!
No matter what your situation you always have choice. Don't worry about having to choose wisely; that's overrated.