Decision Making – 6 Actionable Tips to take Life Changing Decisions.
What is the best decision you made in your life?
You may have more answers, and some may have no answer. But the actual question must be,
What is the worst decision you made in your life?
Every one of us had made some poor decisions in our life. Those decisions will sculpt us as an excellent decision-maker. When I was in a dilemma in choosing a path after my undergraduate degree, I took a year to take a firm decision. While researching, I found out 6 important insights, which helps every individual to enhance decision making ability.
Decision making always makes us to lose an opportunity. By choosing one opportunity we will eventually lose another opportunity, which in business terms, known as opportunity cost.
Let us explore deeper to determine a way to choose one best opportunity among the two.
1. Learn to differentiate Want and Need.
“I definitely need a new mobile phone.”
Most of us thought about buying a new mobile phone. But the question is,
What happened to our old mobile phone?
Here, we are in a situation to differentiate want and need.
When we lost our old mobile, either it was broken or stolen, which completely leaves us without a mobile phone. Here, in this situation, we are in NEED.
When we have a mobile phone, but that is outdated or we are interested in the latest advancements which made us think about buying a new mobile phone. In this situation, our requirement is a WANT.
Now the question is,
“However, we will buy a new mobile phone. What is the role of opportunity cost in this scenario?”
When we buy a new mobile phone, we are spending some amount of money. With that money, we can buy any other product or service. We are losing the opportunity to buy those products or services by opting to buy the mobile phone.
So, we have to decide based on our need instead of want. Decision making will be successful only when the decision is need-based instead of want-based.
2. Toss your Ego.
The most important point in decision making is “Allowing advises”.
Now the question is,
Do I need to decide based on other’s advice?
Absolutely NO. When we are deciding, our mind thinks unidirectional, based on our need and ability. It cannot explore the other perspectives. Taking other’s advice will allow us to re-look other perspectives before a decision.
For Example: When we are planning to buy a mobile phone (Using a similar example for reader’s convenience), First, we fix a budget and search various mobile phones within the budget. Then, the next step will be customer reviews.
We always scan through various customer reviews before buying a product. Here, Indirectly, we are taking the advice of someone. It helps us to take a Firm buying decision.
But we show our resistance when someone advises us directly while we are deciding. This behaviour restricts our scope of thinking from fresh perspectives.
So, we have to toss our ego and break the resistance to make excellent decisions.
But we must not decide based on the advice. We have to leverage the advice in our decision-making process. Do not ask “what to decide?”. Instead, ask “What is their opinion?”. Specifically, ask the persons whom your decision will directly affect.
3. Take a walk to the Future.
All the decisions we make play an important role in designing our future.
As we have seen about the opportunity cost in the first step, the opportunity we are opting out can make up another reality if taken.
If we buy a mobile phone for INR 20,000, it creates a reality that, let’s say after 5 years, we may have the same mobile phone or may the mobile phone gets older which drives us to make another decision of buying another mobile phone.
Instead, if we buy some share in a company for the same amount which, after 5 years, may have multiplied to even INR 1 lakh which increases our ability to buy a new mobile phone.
Here, our concentration is not on saving money. The point is when we decide we are losing out another reality. If we visualize the future, we can understand the impact of the decision.
Visualizing future before deciding, helps us virtually live in both the realities (If we have two options to decide), which allows us to decide the best among the two.
4. Calm Yourself before deciding something.
Another simple step which deals with the mental strength of an individual.
As per the famous saying,
“Do not decide when you are angry”
We have to relax our mind, which helps the analytical brain to process the decision. Some decisions made in the anger will alter the reality and changes the life of a person.
As per the research, one’s decision making skill will be less than 10% while they are in an emotionally unstable condition. The calmer mind leads to clearer decisions.
Even when we are in an urge to decide, do not think of the decision. Think of some pleasant images or sounds which calms our mind in a few seconds.
5. To make it happen, announce it loud.
“I always think of going to the gym, but I Can’t”
We can hear the statement more often from our friends or people around us. Sometimes we ourself uttered these words.
Did you examine yourself about this attitude?
Sometimes we decide, but do not convert it into action. To make our decisions actionable, just announce it loud. This forces us to, even we are lazy about that.
For example: If we are planning to join an online course, and if it is free, we will join the course without the second thought. But will we complete the course?
It seems to be a tougher question than UPSC questions.
In this situation, if we tell our friends about our plan, we will surely complete the course despite the odds.
The human mind always has self-esteem. It works when we announce our decision. It automatically pushes us towards keeping our words.
6. Start with a drop (Practice).
As per the famous proverb,
“Tiny drops make an ocean”
To be an excellent decision-maker, we have to take decisions regularly. We cannot decide our career path regularly. But we can decide our travel route from one place to another regularly.
Just start with small decisions every day. As per the Spanish proverb.
Experience is not always the kindest of teachers, but it is surely the best.
We may make 100 poor decisions. But then we are equipped with a list of “100 not-to-do“.
The above mentioned are the simplest steps, which when practised will enhance our decision making skill.
Now, we learnt about decision making together. So, we know how to take outstanding decisions in our life. With the skill, let us win the odds together.
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