How do you decide? 10 things I do in decision making

Which path to take?  What will happen?  How can you improve your decision making?

Do you find yourself in those places from time to time where you need to figure out what to do?  How do you make life choices?

Do you follow someone else’s path?  Do you make your own?  What will it be?  How can you choose?

For part of my life I made decisions in a vacuum with my gut and did not think through them the way I should have, or sometimes thought about those things way too much.  Either way I would suggest is not the best way of trying to make an informed decision.

So what do I do now?  How do I process? Might any of these be helpful to you?  A few thoughts:

1)  Take the emotion out of the decision unless it is helpful to you – have a clear head when processing.

2)  Ask a few trusted advisors who know you well for their thoughts and opinions.

3)  Take time to sleep on your thoughts, if you have the time to process through the decision.  Sometimes things look different in the morning.

4)  List out pros and cons in your head, or better yet, on some form of paper or google document.

5)  Envision what saying yes to something looks like, and what no means.  Sometimes both can be good options depending on your situation.

6)  If it is job related, will you get a chance to do what you do best every day?  For a majority of the day?

7)  If you say yes, what does it commit you to?  Do you know what you are getting into?

8)  If it is time related and you are busy (who is not busy?), and you say yes, what are you saying no to in the rest of your life?  For every yes, there may be a no.

9)  Do you have any experience in your life that you can draw on to help inform the decision?  What has happend in your past that might help you decide?

10)  Ultimately have a clear head, and go with your gut – then have no regrets.

Decision making is something we do thousands of times of day, and we only think through a few of those decisions.  When you get to a place where you have one of those bigger decisions to make hopefully you can have some time to run through a few of those suggestions listed above.

A number of years ago I faced a time in my life where I had two paths that were obvious – one, to stay working at a job in politics, or two, go on to graduate school and move into a totally different field.  I chose to leave politics and go on to graduate school.  I regret absolutely nothing about that decision.  Yesterday I flew into San Diego for work and was going down an escalator at the airport.  I have been to San Diego a number of times for work and mostly have not thought much at all while traveling down that escalator.  But yesterday I did – I thought about the first time in 2001 when I came to San Diego for work and everything that has happened since then.  It was like the last decade flashed before my eyes while traveling down the escalator.  By the time I reached first floor I had a smile on my face thinking – I am so glad I made the decision I made to leave DC and head back to Minnesota.

Decisions… Decisions..

What are some of your suggestions for healthy decision making?

What do you do?  What is your process?


1 Comment
  • Mr. Fremont
    November 15, 2012

    Prepare for stream of consciousness:

    Number 10 is the most important especially in context to the preceding numbers – regrets create resentment.

    I would also add prayer and a dramatic reduction or even elimination in expectations, as expectations kill happiness.

    The younger one is, the more easily he can course correct – the older one is, there are usually more people involved in the decision and that is another component that must be considered…

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