We all know this person who takes an eon to chose between three kinds of salads and finally orders a pizza or who urgently needs a pair of shoes, tries on 30 different pairs without being able to decide, only to leave the shoe shop and then to buy a sweater that’ll turn out a mistake the next day.
Maybe, just maybe, you yourself did one day…?
We are constantly surrounded by offers, information, temptations, and they all demand our attention and a decision. The fact is, we are taking thousands of decisions each day, from the moment we wake up (or take the decision to snooze a bit longer) all through our day, from small decisions (“Shall I delete this email?”) to not so small ones (“Shall we marry?”). Whatever outer circumstances we may depend upon, in the end it is mostly the decisions we make day in and day out that determine the course of our lives.
The quality of our decisions determines the quality of our life.
So, how does one make “right” decisions?
First of all let me say that not making any decision is worse than even a “wrong” decision. With a decision you go somewhere, and even if this turns out to be a detour, you’ll have learned and experienced something. Whereas with no decision at all you’re going nowhere.
All too many people live like this, and their “decisions” about how they live, what they wear or eat, what and where they work or even with whom they live are actually automatisms. And whilst we are all creatures of habit (just try for once to tie your shoelaces in a mirror-inverted way), we actually do have the possibility to reinvent ourselves at any given moment by the very next decision we make.
Call me new-agey, but when our dreams and the outcomes of our daily decisions all too often speak a different language, at the end of the day, the year or the life the results are sure to be unedifying.
Of course, the seemingly easier road of not taking a decision at all might be due to decision fatigue, a phenomenon which explains why otherwise sensitive people suddenly make stupid decisions. In short: the later the day, the more strain, stress or decision-making you experienced before, the more likely you are to not making a decision at all or to make one which is not in your best interest.
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve experienced a choice overload, whether you had to work through a pile of travel magazines for your next vacation, to decide which flowers, decoration, food, dress, seating order and church music you want for your wedding or simply in the supermarket looking at spaghetti, spaghettini, rigatoni, farfalle, orecchie, capellini, fusilli or vermicelli.
So, schedule your decision making for the morning, when you are fresh, rested and well aware of what you really want as opposed to what your tired self whispers to you at the end of the day, and ideally take your important decisions of the day before you answer 25 emails and spend an hour surfing the internet and hanging out on social media.
The right mindset
Another important factor for decision-making is the feeling of abundance. Not the abundance of 25 different sorts of pasta to chose from, but a feeling of general ease, of having enough. As a matter of fact, poverty researchers have found a direct correlation between an experience of lack – time and money being the most prominent ones, obviously – and bad decision-making. So, if you feel broke, stressed for time, poorly loved or experience any other form of lack, postpone your decisions or think them over most carefully (preferably in the morning).
Know what you want
But, of course, all this only makes sense when you truly know what you want. A lot of my work with my clients is about helping them to find out what it is they really want. Once this is clear, you have a direction in which to take your decisions.
So, what’s your next decision going to be?