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, 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!