How do you make important life/career/relationship decisions?
Few decisions in life are ever really easy. In fact, some of them might appear to be easy on the surface or with a quick view or when we look at just the short term impact, but if we took the time to take a longer view of even the simplest decisions we might find that they have a bigger influence on our life than we might have considered if we had made them differently.
For example, there are many factors both short and long term that are impacted by our decisions such as; health, freedom, happiness, inner peace, long term success, relationships, self-esteem, self-value, financial freedom or status, career outcomes just to mention a few. What we eat, what we drink, how much sleep we get, who we associate with, how we drive etc.
There are many factors that contribute to our decision process such as; the need for control, the desire for approval, the hope of security, the concern for our health, considering what others might think or how they might interpret our decisions, short and long-term commitments, previous decisions and their outcomes or consequences, emotional maturity, accurate information and our degree of wisdom and emotional control. Need I go on? OK, one more - instinct.
Let’s take a brief look at just a few of these to see if you are using them in an effective way to arrive at conclusions, research concepts that contribute to decisions or actual steps you take.
Let’s consider two critical areas first – the issue of consequences and the fact that there is little in life we can control.
All choices lead to consequences. Some of them are positive and some are negative. Some are short term whiles can take years to play out. We always have options and choices. We may not like some of them, but we always have them. The choices we are given present us with the opportunity to move steadily in the direction of a better way of life or the opposite as we move toward our destiny. If we chose wisely, we move smoothly toward this favorable destination. If we choose poorly, I guarantee that sooner or later we will be guided back to the correct or a more favorable path.
Each of us is responsible for the quality of our life. To point your finger at anyone or something in your environment other than yourself for your life’s outcomes is to live in frustration, anxiety, stress and denial. Each of us is free to choose any path. So, choose wisely today, for tomorrow’s harvest is planted today.
What consequences are you paying today as a result of past or previous choices, decisions or actions?
Please consider the following as you develop or nurture your decision approach.
Life will never be exactly what we want it to be or expect it to be. When you think you should be in control of anything – a project, a person, a situation, whatever – sooner or later, life is going to let you know that being in control is not what is important. What is - is learning to live happily and successfully without it.
Have you ever reviewed and analyzed your past when it come to your decisions and their outcomes? My experience and research tells me that most people don’t. They just keep making decisions, dealing with consequences, moving on and repeating the process. “New/different day, same stuff, same actions”. From personal experience, this is not an ideal way to live life expecting it to get better as the years pass. You’ve heard it – “Expecting different results from repeated behavior is a mild form of insanity.”
Your decision process
Most people have a decision process but it’s more an auto-pilot process than a thoughtful one. Something happens, they have options, they consider the short-term outcomes, they decide and they act or they – procrastinate and trust me – procrastinating is a decision. A process means that you have developed a – repeatable, workable, successful and manageable approach or philosophy – doesn’t matter whether it’s in the kitchen making a new dish for your guests or it’s your heart surgeon preparing you as a patient for an upcoming event. It’s all the same – you consider, you evaluate, you forecast, you plan, you act, you consider outcomes and then you repeat the process. Simple? No. Necessary? Yes, if you want better outcomes.
A few things you might want to consider –
-The future is never a guarantee no matter how perfect or right your decisions seem at the time.
-The future outcome is not a function of your history of favorable or wise past decisions.
-Outcomes can vary person to person with people who face the same issues and have to make the same types of decisions since we all interpret things uniquely and our environments vary.
-No decision guarantees that people affected by it will like it.
-The longer you wait to decide the greater the cost can be.
-Decision dysfunction (the inability to decide – no matter the issue) is common with people; who procrastinate, have a victim mindset, have low self-esteem or seek others approval.
-There is never a perfect time to decide anything.
-One of the best things you can do when it comes to decisions is to trust your “inner guidance system”.
Why not add a few of your own from your personal experience.