Life has its challenges. It’s hard to think of a challenging part of your life that didn’t become challenging due to some poor decision-making. Fact is, wiser decisions lead to a more successful and lower-stress life. When you make better and effective decisions, your life is more enjoyable and satisfying.
Here's the thing, you can master the art of decision-making and enhance the quality of your life by following some processes:
Decide what it is you’re trying to accomplish. What is the end result that you’re hoping for? Be as specific as possible. To maximize your income? Okay what does that look like? Strengthen your relationship? Well, what does a strong relationship look like? Minimize the cost? To what amount? Advance your career? To what position? Be clear on the desired outcome of your decision.
Make a list of your resources. Imagine you wanted to renovate your kitchen. After knowing what design you want, you’d then determine what you are keeping and then make a plan to purchase and hire the people needed to complete the job. What resources do you possess that are applicable to following through on your possible options?
Brainstorm all possible choices. Avoid judging your options too quickly. Make a long list. You can evaluate them later.
Consider the odds of success. Visualize what success will look like? Discard any solution with a poor chance of success.
Consider the time and money involved. Is it worth your time, energy and money to drive all the way across town for a small discount, when you could have purchased online or in your neighborhood for a few dollars more. If the gas cost and time spent it cost more than your hourly pay, you may want to re-think that discount.
What are the risks? What can go wrong and what are the ramifications? Sometimes the risks are well worth it, but you get to decide. Is the upside worth the risk? Some options are riskier than others, but the greater potential rewards are often worth the extra risk. How much do you stand to gain? What if you succeed?
What are the long-term implications? Who, besides yourself, will be affected by your decision? What does your decision mean a few years from now? What will you gain and are there any long term sacrifices that affect your decision?
Can you trust yourself to follow through? A good decision that you can’t complete is no better than a poor decision or worse than that...no decision at all. Sometimes the solution with the best likely outcome seems too challenging to implement. The question is, "Do you have the skills and the stamina to follow through?"
Keep your values in mind. What's important to you? Many options are unacceptable due to your values and that is okay.. Keep your values in mind and you’ll be less likely to regret your decision in the long run. What’s important to yo does smatter.
Avoid taking too much time to find a solution. There are have been several studies on the differences between “satisfiers” and “maximizers”. A satisfier looks for the quickest, easiest solution that meets their criteria. That doesn’t mean they settle. It means that they accept the first solution that satisfies their needs and run with it. A maximizer continues searching until the best possible solution is found. Studies consistently show that satisfiers are more successful and happier than maximizers. With that being said, you should avoid spending more time than necessary searching for a solution.
Most challenges in life could have been avoided if wiser decisions had been made. Most people take too much time to make decisions or they make decisions poorly. And, even worse, the surest way to never make any progress is to never make any decisions.
The most successful people not only make wise decisions, but also decide quickly and follow through. The path to a more satisfying life will come from better decisions being made by you.