Decision making is a part of life. It is how we move forward and shape our destinies. From choosing a dinner entree to selecting a spouse, we may weigh feelings, instincts, practicality, propriety, and other factors; or we may just go on a whim.
Most of us are confident in some areas and helpless in others, yet we will be required to make choices in a wide variety of situations. Sometimes the decisions we make may have grave consequences and we are fearful to make a move. With a few basic considerations, we can all learn to handle decision making rationally and responsibly.
Why be decisive?
One of the most pivotal traits of being a great leader is being able to make important decisions quickly and efficiently; even when faced with difficult choices and possible unpleasant outcomes. Those who are responsible for others must have the determination to stick with the chosen course, and a belief in their power to carry out what they wish to accomplish.
Decisive people have confidence in themselves. They deliver their words and actions with clarity and courage. Becoming a better decision maker gives one the courage to venture out and make a difference, without letting fear or resistance to change hold them back from learning and growing. By making decisions in the field of duty, you not only boost your own self-assurance, but also gain the trust and confidence from those around you.
The more decisive we become, the fewer regrets we will have. It’s not that a decisive person never makes mistakes, but they understand the value in mistakes and use them for growth and guidance in the future, rather than wallowing in guilt and regret.
Key factors in decision making
Uncertainty will always be an obstacle in making decisions – we all have some fear of the unknown. Even decisive people feel this, but they are willing to move forward with their decisions without overthinking what could happen. If they make a mistake, they will learn from it and be able to forge a new path from the failure. Realize that there are possible negative outcomes as well as possible positive outcomes with every choice you make, and be prepared to accept and deal with either situation.
Once a decision is made, one must stay on course, and avoid making last-minute changes or having second thoughts. Learn to trust your instincts and build upon past experiences to guide your decision-making.
Try to look at mistakes as opportunities rather than failures. Without mistakes, how can we learn and grow? Once you accept that mistakes are a natural part of learning something new, you can begin to overcome the fear of failing. When we fall down, we need to have courage to stand back up.
“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you have to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”Fred (Mr.) Rogers
None of us is perfect. If you expect perfection, you will be disappointed. Guaranteed. The most we can do is our best. Make your decisions based on sound reasoning, and you will have fewer regrets. Move forward over the bumps, and you will still be moving forward.
If you lack the knowledge necessary for making a sound decision, seek the advice of an expert. Don’t expect your intuition to guide you through technical or exacting dilemmas.
Exercising your skills
So, how does one become more decisive? Like most things, practice makes perfect. Exercise your decision making skills by giving proper consideration to each choice you come across during the day.
A strongly decisive person knows to allocate time for forming a decision. Establish a deadline for making your decision, and let others know. That way you will feel obligated to stick with it.
Decisiveness is often hindered by hesitation, and the fear of unwanted outcomes. No one can be certain about what will come of their choices. We must take our best shot and move forward. Knowing that whatever decision you make will shape the future in some capacity, open your mind to the possibilities, and mentally prepare for different outcomes.
In making a big decision, ask trusted friends or family members to help guide you. Gathering information from acquaintances who may have gone through a similar situation will help you gauge the possibilities and forge ahead.
Some find it beneficial to visualize the outcomes of their choices. Imagine both the pros and the cons of each scenario to help you understand the situation more thoroughly.
Start small. When faced with a big decision, break it down into smaller components and make one choice at a time to tackle the final decision.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Establish a specific goal for your decision making process to help guide your actions. By staying on course and embracing the decisions you’ve made, you will feel more satisfied and rewarded with the outcome.
Learning to be more decisive is a process. Deciding to embark on this journey is the first step to success. If you consider the possibilities and factors related to your decision and make your best effort; stick with your decision once you’ve made it; and let the mistakes and failures in life help you make better choices in the future; then you can consider yourself a champion decision maker!
Ila Bonczek contributed to this report.