Do you have problems making decisions?
If yes, don’t worry, as this is a very common issue.
Despite having to make thousands of decisions everyday, it’s likely that no one ever taught you about decision making.
However, as you’ll soon see, decision making is something that can definitely be learned. Instead of being apprehensive about making decisions – you’ll find yourself looking forward to it.
Making Good Decisions Is Hard, But Why?
Step back in time, and imagine a scenario where you were forced to make a quick decision.
Perhaps you were negotiating the purchase of a new car, considering a job offer, or choosing a last-minute holiday package. All of these situations would have tested out your decision making prowess.
Studies have shown that it’s harder to make the right decisions when we are suffering from anxiety, stress or time pressures.
As an example, if you’re anxious about a situation (such as navigating through an unfamiliar city), then your brain is likely to direct you towards the safest options. Unfortunately, these options may not be the best choices.
Good Decision Makers Are Often the Winners in Life
For sure, you can go through life by making below-par decisions.
However, if you want to excel in your career, boost your finances and live an organized and happy life – you’ll definitely need to be able to make good decisions quickly.
I’m guessing that you probably encounter daily or weekly situations where you need to make important choices or decisions. If you don’t know how to think critically (I’ll explain more about this in a moment), then you’ll be leaving your fortunes to lady luck, rather than forging your own path in life.
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins
Critical Thinking will boost your decision-making power
If you’re unfamiliar with the term critical thinking, I’ll give you a straightforward definition: Thinking that is open-minded, clear, rational, and uses evidence to reach a conclusion or answer.
Making the right decisions usually requires a combination of knowing how to think quickly and analytically.
Let’s take a look now at three ways you can boost your decision-making powers.
Prioritize your decisions.
Becoming a great decision maker starts with knowing which decisions are the most important or urgent.
Many of us have a tendency to prioritize decisions that we’re comfortable or good at making – rather than taking on more challenging decisions. The problem with this is obvious. The big, important decisions that require our attention are pushed aside and neglected.
To change this behavior, consider creating a daily list of decisions that you need to make, and then ordering them by priority.
Create mental space to allow superior decision making.
If like most people, your mind is cluttered by a relentless stream of news, gossip and information, then you’re likely to find that decision making is harder than it should be.
You must find time and space for your mind to dwell on choices, and to quickly reach decisions. There are several simple ways you can do this, including: taking a walk in the park, enjoying a relaxing bath, and turning your focus to a subject other than the one you need to decide on.
By doing one of the above actions (or something similar), you’ll give your mind breathing space to work subconsciously on reaching a decision. You’ll also be putting aside any pent-up anxieties or concerns about making a decision.
Develop a flexible mental approach.
Organizations and individuals who are stuck in a rut can often be heard using the following expression: “I/We always do it this way.” It’s no wonder they have great difficulty in making tangible progress.
To be a great decision maker, you must be willing to be flexible and open-minded. As Albert Einstein cleverly said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
The trick is to step outside of your normal thinking patterns. Instead, seek fresh, inspired answers by letting your mind be creative and free. As an example for you, if you normally take days over a major decision – why not try reducing this time to hours?
To boost your success, think quickly, think critically
Thinking quickly just takes practice. In time, as your confidence builds, you’ll be able to make almost instant decisions about day-to-day matters.
For more important decisions, however, you should turn to critical thinking methods.
These can be summarized as follows:
- Recognising the links between ideas.
- Approaching problems in a systematic and consistent manner.
- Identifying errors and inconsistencies in reasoning.
- Determining the relevance and importance of ideas and arguments.
- Using evidence to reach conclusions and decisions.
To illustrate the points above, picture yourself running your own business. You’ve had some initial success on your own, and you’re now considering hiring someone to help you grow the business further.
To reach a decision on this, firstly, you could write down the pros and cons of employing someone. You could then take it a stage further, by looking at the likely financial benefits and potential risks of taking someone on board. Finally, you could research similar businesses to yours, to see if they were able to successfully expand by hiring staff.
Successful people know how to make everyday decisions quickly. However, they also know how to pick out vital decisions that need more time and focus.
By learning critical thinking, you’ll boost your confidence in making decisions. This will naturally lead to boosting your success and happiness in life.
Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com
|||^||The Journal of Neuroscience: Anxiety Evokes Hypofrontality and Disrupts Rule-Relevant Encoding by Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex Neurons|