A Way to Make Better Decisions.

Here is my first draft of my new decision making process, which I hope to start using soon. It is not meant to be for minor decisions like - which pants should I put on, but important decisions, the sort that get one into tangles.

1. Does the decision need to be made NOW, this very instant?

If yes, follow your gut instinct, or any existing protocol.

If not, set a horizon/deadline for the decision.

2. Check that the decision is actually what you think it is.

Look at the situation again, and from a different angle. Look at the possible choices again, from a different angle. Check the facts of the matter. This is important, because most of us make crappy choices because we didn't stop to ask ourselves if we were really answering the question at hand.

3. Does this decision impact on your current most important goal or purpose in life?

If you do not always move forwards towards this goal, you will invariably slip away from it. It is very easy to make casual decisions that run amok with what matters most to our lives, so one should always be mindful of what matters most.

4. Which of your key guiding principles in life are relevant to this decision?

If you do not keep your principles in mind, you will not be able to act with integrity; you will not be able to look back and say with pride - "I made the best decision, with the best intentions, that I could at the time".

5. Do the necessary research.

A simple google search can increase your knowledge from complete ignorance on any subject to at least amateur level. Finding out different ways of thinking about a problem can also vastly increase the comfort level you can have with any decision you make.

6. Analyse the decision pragmatically.

I like a combination of  Edward De Bono's 6 Thinking Hats, and Mind Mapping. It's far more thorough and fun than pros & cons.

7. Trust your instincts.

At the end of the day, no matter how rational we like to believe we are, the vast majority of our decisions are made on instinct and gut feeling. The emotional brain is vastly superior at gathering "soft" information and self knowledge than our rational thought processes. This is not to say that you should let your emotions MAKE the decisions. Just let them check your decision for you.
TheTardyDodo TheTardyDodo
31-35, M
1 Response Jul 16, 2007

if the word "it" were equivalent to valuable advice, pearls of wisdom, good intentions, and things of the like ... i'd tell ya, "you are full of 'it!'" great method above. my decision making pattern looks much the same, however, there are a few things in here i'd not been utilizing - never even considered - and i'm going to apply them to my process. i imagine the additions will come in especially handy during emotional crisis. as always, thank you, birdie!