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How to Make More Successful Decisions

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

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We make decisions all the time – good, bad, or otherwise. The question is, how do we ensure that most of the decisions we make are successful? Here are a few ideas:

Be present in the moment.

The more we can train ourselves to be present, the more we will be able to make decisions that are based the information we have at hand, rather than past experiences that cloud our view. Being present allows us to focus on what is important for the decision we have to make and block out the noise that often gets in the way.

Make conscious choices.

We are called on to make decisions constantly and the truth is, most of the choices we make are unconscious, based on emotional imprints of past experiences. We react rather than respond. When we make choices without thinking, we give greater weight to the fears created out of past experiences, rather than the current facts.

Know your values.

If you are unsure about a direction to take, it is worth measuring your decision against your core values. For example, if you are considering taking a job with a long commute and weigh that against your core value of balancing work and family time, you may decide the long commute isn’t worth what otherwise seemed like a great opportunity.

Avoid fear.

It is easy to get caught in the trap of making fear-based decisions. They usually begin with, “I have to…” and end with some negative consequence. Fear-based decisions are disempowering and drain you of energy. Instead, try to make decisions from a positive perspective of purpose. Instead of deciding to attend a meeting because you have to provide your input or else bad decisions will be made, choose to go to the meeting because you know you will provide valuable input that will benefit everyone.

Apply logic.

Try to remove emotion from your decision and think about the facts; list the pros and cons. Think about different scenarios, determine what the best outcome might look like and also the worst that might happen. In the end, ask yourself if your decision makes sense based on what you know.

Trust yourself.

We often hear people say, “trust your gut.” Another way to put it is that you know more than you think you do. When we overthink our decisions, it’s usually because we lack confidence in ourselves and our ability to make the right choices. If you get “a feeling”, it probably means have the answer you need.

There is no way to ensure the decisions you make will lead to the outcome you are hoping for. The best you can do is use the techniques that are available to make the best decisions with the information you are given. Look at it your problem from the many different angles suggested above and you will likely find your best answer.

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