“We are our choices.” ~Jean Paul Sartre
Do you have trouble making decisions?
Is it hard for you to choose between options?
Or are you great at making decisions…
you just make the wrong ones over and over?
Decision-making is a life skill that just can’t
be over-rated, as it affects everything in life.
It’s A Process…
So, how do you make better decisions?
Ask yourself the following questions when
you have to make an important decision:
1. Have I considered all the possible consequences of this action?
2. Have I considered all the possible alternatives to this action?
3. If I cannot come up with either #1 or #2, who can I talk to
who can help me think this through?
4. Am I willing to accept all of the possible consequences
of this action, even the ones I cannot now anticipate?
Take Responsibility, Then Act
If you finally work through all the possible consequences
and alternatives to the choice you are about to make,
and you are willing to live with and learn from whatever
happens if you give it a try…you are generally good to go.
The next step is to make the decision and act.
Hey, Not So Fast!
But, before you do that…take a moment and just
“check in” with yourself about a few things.
First, just because you CAN do something,
doesn’t mean that you SHOULD do it.
Does this decision fit with your values and
who you know yourself to truly be?
Is this decision something that you believe
you will be okay with ten years from now?
You Might Need to Sleep On It
What’s your emotional state as you are
going through the decision-making process?
Are you reacting to something that just happened
or to someone who easily pushes your buttons?
If you’re angry, hurt, or upset, take extra time
to cool off before you go through the process…
otherwise what looks like a reasonable decision
to you now will look mean, petty, or just plain
stupid in a few days’ time. (You know this!)
Take a night (or two) and sleep on it.
It’s Not All About You
Okay, Sartre would say your decisions ARE
all about you… but it’s a very good thing to ask
yourself how the decision you are going to make
is likely to affect the people you care about
and who care about you. We are all interdependent,
so don’t forget that every choice you make, even
what you buy or eat today, will affect not only
you, but others, perhaps our planet, as well.
A final question to ask to help you make better
decisions is “In ten years, will I regret more that
I chose to do this or that I chose not to?”
Happiness researchers have found that it is
often easier for people to be happier living with
mistakes they have made and learned from than
it is to live with regrets and wondering “what if?”
So, take that into consideration as you also
ponder all of the other important questions
in the decision-making process.
You Can’t Make A Mistake
If you’ve read my blog for very long, you already
know that I believe you cannot make mistakes
in living your own life. You make the best decisions
you can at the time, with the knowledge, awareness,
and understanding that you have at that time.
Then you see what happens, you learn, you may
make different choices in the future based on what
you discover as you live. Most importantly,
you don’t have to be afraid to make life choices,
especially if they are carefully considered.
“The greatest accomplishment began as a decision
once made and often a difficult one.”