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The Secret to a Successful Life? Have Zero Tolerance for Wrong Decisions

The Secret to a Successful Life? Have Zero Tolerance for Wrong Decisions

Life is full of decisions. Whether we choose this over that, we make a decision and its impact comes afterwards. From time to time, we encounter situations where we need to make a decision. And the decision could have led us to fortune or failure.

Meet Joe Green,[1] the former roommate of Mark Zuckerberg, the current CEO and founder of the Facebook. Instead of dropping out of the university with his roommate to work on building a potential social networking site, he listened to his father’s suggestion to focus on his studies and obtain his degree.

Well, he had never realised this seemingly rational decision would cost him $100 billion, the current valuation of Facebook. What if he followed his gut feeling and took a more risky path? It would be an entirely different story!

Decision making is the most important life skill we should keep improving. Whether we are successful or happy in life is determined by the right decisions we make consistently.

And most importantly, there’s a way to do it!

Common Struggle: Should I Trust My Gut Feeling or Make Careful Calculations for the Right Decision

We all have times struggling to make a decision, especially the important ones. And we are usually caught at a crossroads, wondering whether we should trust our gut feeling or make careful calculations to draw the conclusion.

Most often, we believe that logical reasoning can bring us to the right destination.

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But while we’re trying so hard to make the RIGHT decisions, isn’t it more important to take a step back and ask ourselves: can the reliance on logical thinking help us make the decisions BEST for us?

No, indeed.

Imagine you’ve got some really good grades in public examinations. Logical reasoning would tell you to pursue degrees like law and medicine, based on the expectation that these professional qualifications could bring us to a brighter future.

However, despite that it could be true financial-wise, we are overlooking our interest and whether we will be enjoying our study in those fields. Ultimately, we may earn a lot (if we can make it to graduation). But there is a even larger possibility that we will end up wasting our time pursuing something we are totally uninterested in.

What if we have listened to the voice in our heart and take an alternative path to study what we enjoy and like? We would have reached a higher position and enjoyed our times in college.

You may think we are suggesting that you should follow your gut feeling when making decisions. Yet, in fact, whether to make decisions based on gut feelings or reasoning is not the key point.

It is how much you understand yourself that determines how likely you can make the right decisions.

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Only Self-Understanding Can Give You The Most Reliable Guidance

In our decision-making process, we always seek external information to guide us. This includes the advice and opinions from people we know, people with expertise in the field or people we can trust.

When it turns out to be a wrong decision, we blame them for misguiding us and the advice is inaccurate. We completely exclude ourselves from the consideration of options ahead.

Actually, knowing ourselves better can help us judge whether the given piece of advice or information is valuable or not more accurately.

None on this planet knows ourselves better than we do. And self-understanding is like a yardstick to help you assess the information or advice collected.

General norms are irrelevant to decision-making. People advise us by considering the social norms and think from their perspective instead of ours. When weighing pros and cons of a decision, we should not do it objectively or base on the general norms, after all it is all about us.

Remember, people who make right decisions consistently may not be the ones who are the smartest or the luckiest. They are, indeed, the ones who thoroughly understand themselves.

Understanding Yourself Is Toughest Challenge You Could Have, But You Can Nail It with These 4 Steps

Now we know we have to thoroughly understand ourselves. But it is easier said than done. One may think that we are born knowing ourselves and this is definitely not the case. Our subconscious minds always come into play and affect what we do and how we think without even us noticing. In fact, we may even live our lives without actually knowing who we really are.

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Self-understanding is an abstract concept. The notion taps into intangible things like our values or beliefs and understand your priority, strengths and weaknesses. And to start from something abstract is really challenging so here we provide a concrete step-by-step approach to draw a profile to know ourselves better. Remember to be honest to our own selves.

Step 1: Myers-Briggs Personality Test

If you are stuck with where to begin, try the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, it offers an analysis on your personality types and groups them into 16 different categories. The test consists of questions and statements and ask for your opinion on a scale of agreement. By taking the test, you will know who you are in a broader sense.

Step 2: Strengths and Weaknesses

Ask yourself on what areas you are good at and what you are not. It is even better if you can provide examples to illustrate the traits respectively. You can also ask your friends and family members the same question and compare their answers with yours. You will be amazed by the difference between how you see yourself and how they see you. Discuss with them why they have such an impression of you to investigate the reason.

Step 3: Priorities

Everyone weighs things in their lives differently. By putting yourself into typical scenario, you will realise what is more important to you. For example, if your house is burning down, what would you do and who would you save? You will be astonished by your way to prioritise things that you never know you do.

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Step 4: Strong Emotions

Recall your experience when you have really strong emotions. It can be the time when you are really happy or really furious. Once you identify the incidents , you can then look into the reasons why strong emotions are triggered. What exactly made you so angry? What in particular delights you? By checking these experience, you can understand yourself more about what affects you the most emotionally.

Look Further! There Are Always More Options

After having thorough understanding of yourself, you should explore more options when making decisions. If you stay with the options in hand, they may be good for you. But if you further explore other alternatives, you may find some that are GREAT for you.

While we are collecting information for the existing options, we may come across with other alternatives. Never leave them aside. They may be the best fit for you.

There can be numerous paths leading to the same destination. But some of them are shorter and some take less effort. You should never limit yourselves in picking a new road to go.

When you are looking for other possibilities, it is the time to let your imagination go wild, brainstorm with the additional information gathered and generate as many options as you can. At this point the feasibility is not of concern. You will weed out the improper ones later.

Living without realizing who you are is pitiful. Mourning on the wrong decision you made is even more so. Thus, start building your own profile now and avoid being the next Joe Green!

Reference

More by this author

Jeffrey Lau

Editor. Sport Lover. Animal Lover.

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Published on April 16, 2019

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

When was the last time you did something for yourself?

Whether it was deciding to treat yourself with a little something or travel for some R&R, how often do you practice self-care?

Well, as good as above sounds, there’s a common misconception that many of us have about self-care: that it’s only about indulgence and enjoyment.

However, self-care goes far beyond indulgence. It’s actually about respecting your mind and body, understanding its limits, and being able to take care of every part of yourself, in a holistic way.

And, you really don’t have to go to extreme measures or do anything specific–like meditating or following a plant based diet–in order to practice self-care. You just have to make sure that what you’re doing is in your best interests.

So how can you make that happen?

Below are a few proven methods that will help you become a better version of you. Follow through with these regularly and you’ll be well on your way to living your very best life.

Listen to Yourself

The bulk of self-care is knowing yourself.

This means knowing your body’s limitations, and being in tune with your feelings, emotions and thoughts. So it’s important, then, to know who you are and what you want to do in life, in order to truly say that you know yourself. 

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What is your purpose?

Have you ever thought about this question?

Your purpose doesn’t have to remain the same throughout your life. What you found a purpose in at age 19 would likely be different at age 49.

In your current situation, think about the different roles that you have – as a working professional, a spouse, a partner, a parent, etc.

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose through any of these roles?

All you have to do is ensure that what you’re chasing is meaningful to you; this will bring focus and motivation as you strive to achieve your goals.

If you have your purpose defined, then that’s awesome! You know what drives you and why.

But, if you don’t feel like you have a purpose nailed down, it’s good to start by asking why.

For example, why are you working in your particular job or industry? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. In which case, you may find yourself not having a direction for where you’re headed in life.

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If you’d like to learn more about finding your purpose, then I recommend you check out this article:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Seek Out Continuous Education

Now, this may seem less common when you think of self-care, but lifelong learning is incredibly useful and an important component of taking care of yourself.

It’s Super Practical

Lifelong learning is extremely practical these days and does not require as much effort as it may have in the past. Long gone are the days when you could only find information on something by visiting a library. In this day of the internet, anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.

You don’t need to physically go to a learning institution to learn. You can watch Youtube videos to learn new skills, take online courses to earn a degree, and scroll through an endless amount of articles, books and journals from reputable news and informative sites.

When you’re constantly pushing yourself to learn and take up new things, your mental health also improves. Research shows that an active and engaged mind is responsible for diminishing age-related memory loss and improves overall cognitive abilities.

Your Confidence Will Skyrocket

You’ll also have improved self worth as it teaches you to step outside of your comfort zone, which will undoubtedly improve your confidence.

You’ll also connect better with others by expanding your knowledge base. Learning exposes you to a multitude of new ideas and perspectives that you may have otherwise never considered. This also increases your adaptability. Whether it’s at work or just wanting to adapt to society, your peers, and loved ones, life long learning prepares you to take on new challenges.

You’ll Be More Desired in the Job Market

Another obvious reason for continuous education, is that your employability will also increase.

With the ever changing economy, and huge influences from technology, social media, science etc., job descriptions today are moving targets. Assignments and roles change so quickly in response to changing business demands, it becomes a Herculean task to keep a job description database current.

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In years past, stability was a characteristic of the world of work. Procedures, information, jobs, and organizations were established and provided continuity. Education was completed in the first 14 to 22 years of one’s life, followed by a long career occasionally punctuated by short-term job training.

Today, however, jobs, companies, and technology are disappearing and being created simultaneously. To remain current and maintain a competitive advantage in the human capital marketplace, an individual is challenged to continually learn.

People return to school at every age to enrich their skills and knowledge for their current positions. Some even prepare themselves for new jobs or career changes, moving them forward into new opportunities and technology.

We can be assured that we will be challenged to continue to learn new tasks and information throughout our lives. Successful careers belong to flexible, curious learners who are prepared for opportunities because they know themselves and where they make their best contribution. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management stated,

“Knowledge is choice.”

Lifelong learning also increases social awareness and perspective. To genuinely understand and empathize with others, increase social awareness, and foster strong interpersonal relationships, it’s important to seek out new perspectives. Enhancing the skills that positively impact emotional intelligence can bring even greater happiness and success, both personally and at work; and, this is all part of self-care.

Improve Your Habits (Both at Work and at Home)

Now, the last piece of advice I want to introduce to your self-care regimen, is to improve your habits.

Habits define who you are, and are built up over time. You are what you eat is a great example of this. If you make it a habit to eat foods that nourish your body, rather than make your body feel bad, then you will be much healthier overall.

Good Habits Allow You to Reach Your Goals

Since habits dictate your days and nights, such as waking up every morning to get to work before a certain time, or brushing your teeth before bedtime every night, they play a major role in whether we do or do not reach our goals.

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When you form habits that allow you to progress towards your goals, you’re automatically living a purposeful day, everyday.

Habits Make Your Time a Priority

How do you spend your free time? Do you opt to lounge on the couch watching Netflix passively, or do you engage in activities that support your purpose in life?

It’s natural to waste a lot of time during the day, but fostering good habits will make you set a pattern for how you spend your time and give you the choice of what you choose to spend your time on. By improving your habits, you’ll find that you can be a LOT more productive. When you create good habits, you become more efficient with your time and a lot less is wasted.

This in essence creates an overall positive influence on your life, allowing you to treat your mind and body well, which is why improving your habits are so important to self-care.

Your Well Being Comes First

We live in such a fast-paced society, where we are often so caught up in our work, families, maintaining our social lives, our studies and everything in between. It’s an understatement to say that life can get a little overwhelming at times.

If you’ve ever watched the safety video onboard a plane, you’ll know that they always ask for a parent or adult to put on the safety mask first, before tending to the child. This may sound selfish, but the fact is that if you truly want to ensure the child’s safety, then your safety needs to come first so that you can protect and care for the child without complications from your end.

The same goes for self-care. We need to ensure that our well being is priority, so that we can be the best for the people around us.

Listening to yourself, practicing lifelong learning and improving your habits are steps that you can take to ensure you’re constantly in the best state of mind, alongside the indulgence and rest that you reward yourself with.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Raychan on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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