Do you have a process for making decisions? Do you make the best decision that you can in most circumstances? How can you be sure?
I don’t recall my education including training on how to make good decisions. I don’t believe schools now teach decision-making, but they should.
Seems like the processes that I have used through the years has evolved. When I was young, emotion was king. A strong feeling could overwhelm me into making a choice that frequently was not in my best interest.
As an adult, I became more rational. I began employing the “pros and cons” method. You know how it works – take the choice you are considering and list its advantages and disadvantages. Look at your list and make the decision towards the choice that has the most advantages and least disadvantages.
Later in life, I began to more frequently employ my intuition. The rationally minded person might consider this folly equating an “intuitive choice” as being a pure “emotional choice”. Yet, to me, it’s not the same. There is some inner wisdom that I can tap into. However, you do need to be careful that you’re not letting your emotions drive you into believing that some information is intuitive wisdom when it’s not. Making this distinction takes some practice and developing trust.
Now there’s a new source that can help you develop a process towards making better decisions. Authors Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Switch and Made to Stick, have recently published a useful book entitled Decisive How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.
The Heaths point out that there are four basic villains we all face in making good decisions. First is our limiting our options. Second is our only seeking out information that agrees with what we already believe. Third is being swayed by our emotions. Fourth is having too much faith in our own predictions.
I find these “villains” to be interesting as I have written about them before here at Conscious Bridge. I’ve often pointed out that our media likes to present things in “either or” dichotomous options when in reality there are more options. I’ve encouraged us to check out sources that we know will challenge our beliefs, recognizing we tend to place ourselves in “informational bubbles”. I have recommended gathering as much information as possible so as to make wise decisions. And, I’ve always suggested remaining open to new information and new ways of being. Therefore, this book certainly resonated with me.
To deal with these four villains, the Heaths offer four steps that get at reversing these ingrained habits. They encourage us to seek out as many options as we can when we’re making a decision. They suggest that we test all of our assumptions so that we don’t simply go with the choice we already believe is best. They strongly ask us to take our time and put a little distance into our decisions so that we’re not rushed by our emotions. And finally, they want us to think about what might go wrong in any decision so that we can be prepared to handle it.
I highly recommend the book. There are plenty of real life examples of decision-making using the techniques they suggest. Here’s a link to a one-page summary of the book along with resources from their other books which you may find useful (registration is required).
The bottom line is that as we grow and develop into becoming the highest and best version of ourselves that we can, that means moving beyond any of our limitations. Where have we limited ourselves in our ability to make wise decisions? It’s time to evolve into better decisions for ourselves and for the world. This book can help!
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!