Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

20 Most Fun Jobs in the World (That Also Pay Well) How to Think Positive Every Day How Our Brains Trick Us into Believing the Wrong Things The Best Catalogue of Books from Every Category in 2017 What We Think Love Is and What Love Really Is

Trending in Productivity

116 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed 27 Surefire Ways to Become a Successful Writer 36 Characteristics of Successful People That Make Them Outstanding 4The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) 515 Best Android Productivity Apps (2018 Version)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

Advertising

This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

Advertising

Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

Advertising

Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

Advertising

Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Read Next