One of the main cause of stress, conflict and procrastination is our inability to make good decisions.
Let’s face it — we are faced with many decisions from the time we get up each day. It can be what clothes to wear, what to have for breakfast or lunch, or what to do during the day.
Being able to make decisions may seem like such a simple thing yet it’s not uncommon to find that many people struggle with making decisions. In the book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill revealed, after analysing thousands of men and women, that one of the major causes of failure in life was due to people’s inability to make decisions.
On the other hand, those who were highly successful had the habit of reaching decisions promptly, and changing these decisions very slowly, if at all. Those who failed to accumulate any significant wealth had the habit of reaching decisions very slowly and changing their decisions quickly and often.
When we become better at making decisions, we will start to experience the following.
- Eliminates confusion or conflict from our mind.
- Reduces the amount of stress we experience.
- Allows us to get clear on our priorities faster.
- Reduces frustration we may cause others.
- Helps us make progress a lot quicker.
In order to become better at making decisions, here are some reminders that will certainly help. When you consistently apply these, you will start to experience a greater level of calmness and order in your mind, and having increased clarity will lead to better decisions.
- Use these four questions as a guide to speed up your decision-making process.
- Do I want to be, do, have or experience this?
- Will being, doing, having or experiencing this move me towards what I want?
- Is being, doing, having or experiencing this in my and other’s best interest?
- Will being, doing, having or experiencing this violate the rights of others?
It is best to have three “yeses” for the first three questions and a “no” for the last question.
- Reduce the amount of choices you have. A lot of indecision comes from the fact that we have an abundance of choice today. Think about a supermarket for a second. For a particular product, like cereal, as an example, we have so many choices, which can make it difficult to decide, unless we have a criteria like price as a filter.
Reducing the amount of choices means we have less things we need to filter out, thus reducing how much energy we need to spend to make quick decisions.
- Delegate things that are not important. We all have things we do regularly that isn’t the most efficient use of our time. In a work situation, it could be responding to emails or managing your calendar, which an assistant could take care of.
By listing down the things you do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, you’ll be able to identify what tasks are absolutely necessary for you to do and what tasks could be delegated so that you can focus more on the high value activities you know you should be doing more of.
- Learn to trust your intuition. It has been said that our intuition is never wrong. Whenever we’re faced with a decision, we usually get a sense, a hunch, a gut feeling or an inkling one way or the other — whether to agree or disagree, whether to say yes or no, whether to do it or not do it.
The more we’re able to trust our intuition, the more experience and confidence we’ll have tristing it, which means we’ll be more likely to act on what we receive via our intuition. Being able to develop our intuition is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.
- Try a “no” first policy. Being able to say no consistently and without feeling guilty can make life so much easier. We tend to feel stressed or overwhelmed when we are overcommitted as a result of saying yes to too many requests.
As an experiment, start saying no to any new requests you receive (within reason) and notice if that makes a difference to how you feel and how much you can get done during the course of a day, week or month. Adopting this policy means the decision is already made for you so there is no need to give it any more thought.
One thing to remember is that nothing is ever disastrous (unless it’s something silly like deciding to drink alcohol then driving a car). Practice asking yourself, “What the worse that can happen?” and free yourself from all the mental anguish when making a decision.
If we do end up making a decision that has not worked out, we can always correct it and continue to move forward. The key is to get into the habit of making decisions quickly and exercising our decision-making muscles.
Question: What is another technique that can be used to make better decisions?
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