EVERY DECISION COUNTS
Iam a food server’s nightmare. I stare at the menu, struggling to make that grand decision, “What will I eat?” Most times, I give up and order the “regular” just to avoid the thought process. Do you ever struggle with decisions? The twist of irony for me is that I am a decision scientist. I have made a decent living helping other people make decisions while often struggling to make my own.
I understand why one of the wisest men that ever lived asked God for wisdom instead of money or power. If I could have known 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 I wish I had never dated. There are words I have spoken I wish I had never spoken. There are battles that I have fought I now wish I had let go.
Do you have any regrets? They say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” They are correct. But what if we could cut down the learning curve? What if we could reduce the number of regrets?
Every decision counts. Who our friends are, who our advisers are, who we listen to, and who we trust are some of the most significant decisions we will ever make. Great people are surrounded by great people. Wise people are surrounded by wise people. But, even little decisions count. The decision of what you will eat may seem trivial, but it affects your health and future. Big or little, each decision is part of a chain of events that make up your life.
Here are 4 starter tips for making better decisions:
- Never ever make a decision while you are emotional. There are times we 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!
- Never ever make a rush decision. We are prone to feel that we have to decide. Sometimes we just want the process to stop. Successful decisions, however, require a bit of work. There are very few decisions that you must make “right now.” Learn to walk away and avoid saying, “Oh, I wish I said or done that!”
- Make decisions when you are rested. Like the character on West Wing said, “I rarely make a decision this far after dark or this long before dawn.” Rest is the antidote to emotions and rushing. Sleep deprivation and mental stress negatively impact our decisions. Follow the age-old advice and sleep on it.Make decisions based on data. What are the real facts? What was really said? What are the options? What are the risks? Personal and business decisions are better when we practice critical thinking. Demand data to drive your decisions.
- 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?” Avoid making decisions that pull you off your life track and avoid having to ask yourself, “How did I get here?”
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.