I am a food servers nightmare. I stare at the menu again and again struggling to make a that grand decision, “What will I eat?” Many times I just give up and order the “regular” just to avoid the thought process. What is funny is that I am a decision scientist. I have made a pretty good living helping other people make decisions while, ironically, often struggling to make my own decisions.
I understand why one of the wisest men that ever lived asked God for wisdom instead of money or power. If I could only know what the future holds, I could have avoided some decisions that cost me. There are investments that I should have made and others that I wish I had not made. There are girls I dated that I wish I had never dated. There are words I have spoken that I wish I had never spoken. There are battles that I have fought that I now wish I had let go.
Do you have any regrets? They say, “Hindsight is 20/20” and they are right. But what if we could cut down the learning curve? What if we could reduce the amount of regrets?
Here are 3 tips to making better decisions:
- Never ever make a decision while you are emotional. Sometimes we just need to dive in, but more often than not, emotions cloud our ability to think about the long term impact of our decisions. So before you quit, leave, or jump at that great opportunity — breathe. Most teenagers and employees wish their parents and bosses practiced this one tip!
- Make decisions when you are rested and well thought. Like the character on West Wing said, “I rarely make a decision this far after dark or this long before dawn.” We are prone to feel that we have to decide. Sometimes we just want the decision process to stop. Successful decisions require a bit of work. Don’t give up and don’t settle for less than the best!
- Make decisions that are consistent with your life plan (I hope you have one!). Ask yourself great questions like “Who do I want to be or what do I want to do in 10 years?” So often we make decisions that pull us off our life track and we find ourselves asking, “How did I get here?”
It is true that every decision counts. Even the little ones like “What will I eat?” are part of a chain of events that affect our health which is so much a part of our future. Who our friends are, who our advisers are, who we listen to, and who we trust are some of the greatest decisions we will ever make. Great people are surrounded by great people. Wise people are surrounded by wise people.
Have you ever made a poor decision? Who has influence in your world? What will you do today? Be great and remember, every decision counts.