How to Make Good Decisions: 4 Tips to Success
I think it’s fair to say that people can be separated into two kinds: those who find it easy to make decisions and those who ponder for days and nights whether they should eat a burger or a pizza for lunch, and to buy or not to buy that basic black T-shirt that only costs 10€.
I do not want to know how hard it is for these indecisive-kind of people to make big, life-affecting decisions, for example about changing jobs or whether to finally do that round-the-world trip or not. Luckily I am one of those people who are able to come to decisions within half a minute... most of the time.
But then there are things that require a little bit of thinking and perhaps at least one night’s sleep before choosing which direction to jump to. Such decisions as 'should I get a job in the country where I currently live in or might it be better to escape the on-coming winter and move away?'
The good thing about this sort of decisions is that you don’t just ”get” a job overnight. You apply, you go to interview(s) and then there is probably some sort of a notice period which you have to work through. So there is plenty of time on offer for a decision-making process in such cases.
I gathered here a couple handy tips which work well in all sorts of decision-making processes, whether you are making a decision about purchasing a pair of trousers or a summer house in North of Italy.
1: Think about the big picture – You must, fist of all, understand why you need to make this particular decision. Or do you? Has an Italian villa been your dream for years and years or is it necessary to update your wardrobe to meet the challenges of winter. Research the item you are deciding on; What does realizing it require economically and time-wise and will it be worth it all in the end?
2: Make lists – A 'pro & con-list' is always a good idea. It will help you see concretely the issues and benefits of the decision that you need to make and its effects. Personally I can vouch for the force that such listings have on the decision-making process because subconsciously you write down things that you might not have thought about otherwise: one word brings to mind another thing related to the issue. It’s also the subconscious mind that will show you via such listings which way you yourself are leaning to: one side will always end up with more items.
3: Trust your intuition – In cartoons they always spoke about ”following your heart”. And I have done so multiple times in my life while making huge decisions about moving from one country to another. And I can’t say that my intuition (or heart) would ever have been mistaken. Things might not have gone according to plan or my wishes but never have I ever regretted making those big decisions and acting accordingly. I have also noticed that it’s better to say ’yes’ more often than ’no’, especially when you are confronted with a suggestion of something you might not have experience of previously. Taking the risk and jumping to the unknown always pays off. If not with a success then at least with insight and more self-confidence for the time when you are next confronted with a similar challenge; next time you’ll do better!
4: Consider how your choice will affect others – Every single decision we make affects someone on this planet. Even the decision to buy that particular pair of trousers has an effect on someone out there from the owner of the store to the person who made those trousers. Bigger life-changing decisions obviously affect people close to you, so especially in such cases you should take a minute to consider how the people around you might react and how this decision could affect their lives.
At the end of the day the decision is always yours. You can go and ask what your friends and family would do in such a situation but the decision is still your to make. Alone. Even if you make a decision based on your friends' advice, it's still you who decides to act according to that advice. And you are the only one who will also carry the consequences of that decision. So, make sure you base your decisions on facts and realistic prospects rather than on friends' and family's opinions.
* Pictures: Ugliest building on the planet decorated with very unprofessional spray paintings, Linnahall in Tallinn, Estonia.