Making a decision can be really difficult on somethings and on others, super easy. It doesn’t matter who you are, decision making is an everyday experience, but we don’t think a lot about it, until faced with one of those tough ones.
I am a strong believer, that a decision made, is a decision made. You will never know whether one you made the right one or the wrong one, until long after it is made. By that point, you are on to the next one and chances are, won’t even remember toiling over the one you made.
Do you remember the movie, “The Matrix”? I love the scene where Morpheus asks Neo to make a decision about whether to take the blue pill or the red pill. Can you imagine having to make that decision? Neo certainly could never have anticipated what would happen next, but recognize when you make decisions, you never know either.
Most times, you are not facing some imposing figure that forces you to make a decision, like Morpheus did with Neo. However, in some instances, when you are under pressure or under the gun, it is easier to make decisions. The less time you have to think about things, the less issues you are able to identify that make the case one way or the other.
Funny thing is a decision is never as difficult as we make it on ourselves to make one!
There are some pitfalls people fall into that make decision making more difficult than it needs to be:
- Asking for too many opinions. Sometimes, people are afraid of making a mistake or are afraid of being solely responsible for making a decision, so they seek a large number of opinions. Getting some advice can be helpful but if you ask enough people, you will start to get differing opinions. As soon as you get a differing opinion, then you are required to make another decision regarding which one to believe. The more you ask, the more decisions you will be required to make.
- Wanting a guarantee before you decide. Some people collect a lot of information about a decision, hoping that in doing so, the answer is going to pop out in front of them. They are seeking out a type of guarantee that they are making the right move. They believe the more data they collect, the better the chance that they can be prepared for anything. The problem is, that sometimes, they get data paralysis and never end up making any kind of decision.
- Letting your emotions get the best of you. More than one person has made a bad mistake, because they let their emotions get the best of them. It could be that they didn’t want to feel embarrassed, so they went along with the crowd. It could be that they were made at a friend and made a decision that turn out to be the best move for them in the long term.
So how do you get better at making decisions?
Decision making is a muscle that strengthens the more you use it. If you are someone who finds yourself falling into the pitfalls above, it could be that you need to strengthen the muscle. You need to make decisions and it can start in the simplest ways:
- When your friend asks you where you want to go for dinner, instead of saying, “doesn’t matter to me, where do you want to go?”, jump in and decide.
- Impose your own deadlines on making a decision. Instead of telling your self that you will decide in the next couple of days, make yourself make the decision tomorrow at noon.
- Recognize when you are feeling emotionally charged and enforce your boundaries by telling people you won’t decide until tomorrow.
The better decision maker you are, the better decisions you will make. Remember you will never be 100 percent right, but you will never be 100 percent wrong either.