How to make a decision: the conclusions

goodchoicebadchoiceHaving read 7 books either directly or indirectly related to making decisions some common themes have emerged, mainly surrounding compromise and acceptance – here’s what I’ve learnt:

-> Perfect doesn’t exist (but pretty great does) – yes, we all know this, but sometimes I don’t act like I believe it!

-> Accept and acknowledge emotions, but don’t let them control your choices – watch out for psychological traps (and learn to spot the difference between gut reaction and emotional reaction)

-> Don’t over-complicate – do gather information, compare alternatives and outline and rank your objectives, but then stop, step back and make a choice

—> Compromise and be content – it’s all about balance

—> Don’t worry about the future, and expect to make mistakes

—> Do take risks and do stick with it

Nothing new here really is there? In fact it’s pretty much all common sense, yet so easy to forget in the midst of making a big decision. When I next have a big choice to make I’ll be asking myself:

1. Is this option good enough and am I just imagining some non-existent perfect solution somewhere in the future, or does this simply not meet my most important objectives?

2. Have I got all of the information I need to make this choice, and have I considered all realistic and current alternatives?

3. Am I in the right frame of mind to make this choice, and if not, what are my emotions telling me?

Only time will tell if my decision making abilities have improved, but one thing I must remember is this:

Changing our decision sets up a bad habit. It reinforces decision making as an expression of bewilderment and ignorance, instead of wisdom and freedom – Sakyong Mipham

On more than one occasion I have rapidly, and wrongly, panic-changed a previous choice. It’s important to trust that you made the decision based on knowledge, experience and personal judgement, and not simply out of confusion.

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