"I believe that it's in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped." - Anthony Robbins
Our decisions have taken us to where we presently are in life and decisions will, to a large extent, determine our destiny. It is our decisions that have produced the level of success that we are now enjoying and or the lack thereof. In most cases, we are not victims of circumstance or pawns moved by the vagaries of life but the product and the effect of our decisions.
To a large extent, decisions are automatically processed in our bank of references. They are based on the results achieved in past similar experiences. Anyone who has ever touched a hot stove will know what this is about.
Decisions can also be influenced by a hidden agenda. People filled with guilt may have a secret wish for punishment and take decisions that will fulfill that wish. Some decisions can also be taken in order to respect and safeguard what we consider to be our identity. Behaving as who we perceive ourselves to be is one of the strongest behavioral directing factor in our life.
Many times, decisions are taken under erroneous assumptions or flawed logic. They can also be the results of social influences or motivated by states of minds and emotions.
The decisions making process is of capital importance when it comes to the outcome and quality of our life so it deserves exploration and examination. Something that is only done in very rare instances.
One of the best and most effective ways of making a decision is done with a pen and paper or with an electronic word processing application. The written word has a way of shedding clarity and eliminating shoddy and illogical thinking. Thoughts are volatile. The written word is not. Thoughts have a way of being rather figurative and metaphorical. The precise written word is cold hard fact.
It is also possible to have somewhat a dialogue with the written word even if those words are our own. That is, we can actually respond to what has already been written. A juxtaposing view (or views) can be compared to the original and give us a more effective solution.
The subject of a decision can always be shared with an expert on the subject to get a second opinion. Sometimes if the problem or dilemma that we are trying to solve is viewed by the dispassionate and cold calculating eyes of a second party, options that were not seen before may become evident.
To reach a clear decision, the essential of the problem must be clearly defined. The situation must be appraised rationally. The process of reaching a decision should be done in the writing form. And finally there is a proverb that says, "Night brings counsel."
If at all possible, a day should be taken before reaching a final decision. Doing it in less than a day brings the risk that some better options might go unnoticed. Taking more than a day invites procrastination. Decisions have consequences and should not be taken lightly but on the other hand, the absence of decision might bring on paralysis.
Whatever method is used to reach a decision, a few rules should always be heeded and followed. The first is that a decision should be based on facts as much as possible and not on wishful thinking. The second is that it must always be taken into consideration that fear is a very bad counselor. Though the influence of fear may be hard to dispel, every effort should be made to do so. Decisions taken under the influence of fear tend to create short-term solutions but create larger problems further down the line.
Decision-making is an art. An art that is perfected through practice. Achieving proficiency in good decision-making stems for the experience of making bad decisions. So, we should look at bad decisions that we have taken in the past as a learning experience and not as a personal flaw. It is always possible to learn from them and do better in the future.