Making a decision is much more difficult than anything else that comes before the actual decision. We can mentally prepare for what’s ahead, but to actually make a needed decision is much different that the process of preparation. To make a decision you must take all data into careful consideration, and then make the decision that you see fit, no matter how hard that may be. The good news is that very rarely is a ‘final decision’ truly final. There’s always room for improvement and there’s usually a chance to make things right. This being said, people many times become paralyzed, not able to make a decision due to the fear of being wrong. Let me just say that perfection isn’t possible, no matter how much time is put into the process. There will always be something that could be done differently, but the most important part to know is that a decision must be made, right or wrong.
So, here are five steps to making the best possible decision with the information you have in your possession:
First, become okay with making mistakes.
If you’ve read my work before, then you know that I am all for making mistakes on the way to finding success. You need these mistakes to learn what works and what doesn’t. You can then make changes along the way to better your final outcome. This is called life. If you are just starting out along the decision process, it’s okay to not have it all figured out. Own that. You don’t need to know everything. Life will teach you lessons along the way — learn from them, become smarter from your journey, and keep pressing forward. Don’t let the wrong decisions cause you to give up, but rather, use what you learn from your decisions to become better in the future.
Also on this point, keep your distance from those who force you to be perfect with every decision. Those are the people who will hold you back and keep you from ever making a decision, because it’s ‘not good enough.’ Make the decision that your research and gut tells you to make and make changes if needed.
Second, pay attention to your willingness to fight for your ideas.
If I’m passionate about an idea and believe that it will work, then I see it as worth fighting for. If I’m not fighting for a certain outcome, then I know that it either doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, or I don’t care about the outcome. Either way, I don’t need to waste my time with it. This principle applies to anyone and everyone. If you don’t believe in something enough to fight for it, then it’s probably the wrong decision, and you need to rethink your position.
Third, look at the decisions that others made and decide if you want to experience similar consequences.
One of the best ways to know if you are making a good decision or not is to look at others who made the same decision in a past similar situation, and decide if that’s the outcome you want for yourself. The results may not turn out the exact same way, but they will most likely be close.
Fourth, don’t just look at what your decision will do right now, but think about the consequences that your decisions will have in the future.
Every decision has a ripple effect on your world, sending future consequences into motion. Every choice has a cost; impacting people, the available time that you have, or your own journey. This can be heavy to think about, but consequences are real.
And fifth, use emotional intelligence as an advantage.
This step is important because emotional intelligence, or EQ, takes emotions into consideration when making decisions, those of your own and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is explained as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills and empathy by Daniel Goleman, author of the book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. And these are all important attributes to possess as you make better decisions, because let’s face it, humans are emotional beings.