3 easy steps to making the right decision

The great decisions of human life have as a rule far more to do with the instincts and other mysterious unconscious facts than the conscious will and well-meaning reasonableness. The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. Each of us carries his own life-form – an indeterminable form which cannot be superseded by another other.

Modern Man in Search of a Soul (Pg 69).


We make a hundred snap decisions a day; to get in the shower, to have cereal rather than toast, to sneak this one quick job before grabbing the keys to pick up the kids. We do every one without too much thought, without agony. Then, out of nowhere, we’re presented with choice (or choices) that seems to defy ‘rightness’. We shift from foot to foot; plagued by worry. Which way? Which is best? How should I proceed? Who should I tell? Who will be affected? We’re overwhelmed by our emotions.

Making a decision becomes an exercise in anxiety.

If you’re stuck, perhaps these 3 steps will help you make the best decision for you;

Take note of your internal dousing rod

Our emotions are an important barometer in making the best decision. The trick is to avoid jumping on emotion’s steamtrain and rushing in (guns blazing?).  Take a few moments to consider the potential consequences of the decision you’re making. How will it affect you in the short, medium and long term? How is it likely to impact upon the ones you love? (For more info, check out this post on Emotional flexibility.) Compassion for self and others comes into play here. Make a list. I’ve heard it said: the usefulness in flipping a coin to make the decision isn’t that you need be directed by the outcome, but in the moments that the coin in spinning in the air, your heart chooses.

The point is, your emotions should be more like a dousing rod than a steamtrain – an direction tool linked to your intuition. Like dousing rods, emotions are a diving tool, worth listening to, but not an infallible. Use with caution. Let your emotions be one measuring tool in a trinity of three, rather than the only one.

Embrace your strengths

By embracing your strengths, you work from a position of confidence. The anxiety you feel is likely stem from a lack of confidence in a positive outcome. Are you an organisational queen? Create a spreadsheet. Do you have a talent for legal mumbo? Review the documentation. Do you think best when you’re climbing a rockface? Get to a place where you find clarity.

Your strengths represent those areas of your life/ skills which you have muscled up. You feel comfortable there. Things come easily. You’re more likely to come to a decision based from a position of ‘informed consent’.

Measure the possible outcomes against your life’s passion

Your life’s passion provides you with meaning and purpose. No one else can explore your passion the same way you can. It’s your gift to everyone around you. It’s the thing which helps you greet the day and forge ahead.

Ask yourself a couple of questions:

If I choose X, how does it fit in with my life’s passion? How does X sit alongside my values system? Can I cherish the benefits of choosing X?

A few final things to remember. It’s okay to change your mind. Decisions provide you with the opportunity to make adjustments. You can only make a decision based on the information available to you at the time. The important thing is to stay open to new possibilities.

How do you go about choosing between one path and another?


Related post: Emotional flexibility parts 1 and 2

Previous post: Bucket list … check!

First published: 14 Octboer 2014




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