Making decisions is part of modern life, and each day we make hundreds of simple decisions, a handful of important decision, and occasionally, a massive decision. The problem is often in knowing the right or best thing to do, and so many of us do not know how to set about making the right decision.

Take Care with Your Decisions

You may be a student, and on whim decide for or against continuing your studies; little do you realise that a simple decision taken on a sunny afternoon on the playing fields of youth can decide whether you get a promotion and salary raise on the battlefields of adult life, some 15-years later.

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You may be ten years into your career, and find you are overlooked for a plum job in a new division; you get drunk that night and decide whether to remain in that occupation or seek a new challenge with another company. You may be an athlete or budding sports personality as a youth, and at your first setback, or when the training starts to bite hard, you wonder whether to quit.

The one thing you do not realize at that time, and so do not take it into consideration, is that the waves from your decision will continue to spread out and touch lives, for the rest of time. If Fidel Castro had realized his athletic ambition to play for the New York Yankees, the country of Cuba would have experienced a different development this past 50-years. If Adolf Hitler had continued his career as a house painter, today, the whole world would be a different place.

Wrong Decisions Become ‘If Only’

When you make a decision that you later regret, it can become an ‘if only’ that will stick in your mind forever. This is not a good thing, and it is not necessary, because the alternative outcome may not have been at all the wonderful experience you imagine.

You gave up ballet lessons or ice-skating and now, every time you watch it on television the ‘if only’ thoughts creep into your mind. Soon, these thoughts can become an obsession, because if you let them continue they can grow out of control. You can become bitter and morose as you worry about the life and career you never had, because of a decision made many years ago.

What you have to think about are the good things on the other side of the balance sheet, all the happiness you have enjoyed because of the decision you made. Your partner in life, your house, career, and your family; these are present today because of your earlier decisions.

So what if your horse does came second, you are only one number out in the lottery, and the person you choose to live with is not the ‘dream-boat’ you first imagined. Get real, and get with it, because nothing and nobody is ideal. Furthermore, if you watch TV or read the magazines and Internet stories, the vast majority of big-money winners find their lives are ruined. Moreover, the majority of people who divorce on a whim, or look for a younger or richer partner, mostly end up thinking ‘if only’, because they learn the ‘grass is not greener’ on the other side.

Is There a Bad Decision?

The answer is an emphatic "Yes!" There is only one bad decision, and that is indecision. Many people suffer the inability to reach a decision; they procrastinate, and often let the current situation drift along for years while they ponder.

You must become decisive, when it is necessary to make a decision: in both small and great matters, because generally indecision is a sign of the weak. When confronted with the dinner menu in restaurant, your partner will not be impressed if you cannot decide what you want to eat and drink.

Many people say that the only wrong decision is no decision; so when you weigh up in your mind the pros and cons of a situation, do not hesitate, but make your selection boldly and confidently. However, do not make a hasty decision that you may later regret.

A hasty decision is not necessarily a quick decision, but one made without assessing all the factors. Make sure that you know all that is necessary to know, and then make your decision based upon the facts and the effect they will have in the future.

How to Make a Decision

You must make decisions throughout every day; but with many of them, you can make an automatic response. When somebody asks you if you want a cup of tea or coffee, you do not have to ponder the question before making your decision.

When it comes to making a purchase of that invaluable piece of software, eBook, or new lipstick from Paris, you have to weigh up all the factors in your mind; sometimes you have to do this very quickly, or you can miss an opportunity. On the balance sheet, you place such things as the financial cost, the time it will consume, the quality of the product, the reputation of the supplier, the benefits it will provide, the life of the product, and its long-term effects.

You put the plus points on the right-hand side and the negative ones to the left, and try to score them. Allocation of the points can be made in various ways, and perhaps the best is to make them a percentage. The cost of an item can be a percentage of your weekly expendable income, and if it is something that is going to consume 50% of your free time that week, you put that on the left-hand side. Similarly, where some software is going to save you time, you can work out its percentage and add that to the right-hand column.

This is a time-consuming exercise that can only give you a mathematical answer, but the reason for doing it is that it makes think about each factor and its real worth in your life. Very often, you will realise that your desire for a particular product is just that – a desire for something new – and it will soon end up in the storage cupboard, which is already full.

Sometimes, however, there are benefits to you and your family that cannot be accurately measured; and a mountain holiday in a rented recreational vehicle that brings your family together can be invaluable, and has to be considered.

Do You Listen to Your Heart or Your Head?

The problem with looking at a decision logically is that it ignores what your heart is telling you, and you can easily make the wrong choice. You can spend a long time considering all the facts logically and reaching an adult, balanced decision; however, sometimes you arrange the facts to suit the decision your heart wished you to take.

All the facts point towards selling your old, roomy family home that requires a lot of repairs and maintenance for that spacious home in a new development; but your heart is telling you that you love the house, location, and neighbours, so you stay.

Your friends gradually move away, your roof leaks, the kids have too far to travel to school, and you get a letter from the council about the new highway that wants part of your backyard! Do not let your emotions sway you into making a decision.

On the other hand, do not make a decision if something deep inside is telling you that it is wrong, because that is when you must listen. Your employer offers you a great new job in another town that means you and the whole family have to relocate; great, you must go for it, if all the other factors are okay. However, if you have that niggle inside that is telling you not to do it, then it is probably time to listen.

When it is time to make your next decision, make sure you have all the facts, look at the obvious choice, and if your heart is not against you, go for it with power and confidence!

© Copyright 2007. Brian Hunt. All Rights Reserved. Brian Hunt

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