Decisions, decisions

Vanilla or strawberry?

In Summary

•Resign or stay?

•Toyota or Nissan?

Vanilla or strawberry? Resign or stay? Toyota or Nissan? We make some choices quickly, relying on mental shortcuts our brains have developed over the years.

Other decisions take time and effort - we agonise, we procrastinate. Often those decisions are no better than the automatic choices we make.

When we make a decision, we are influenced by biases, reason, emotions, and memories.

The simple act of deciding supports the notion that we have free will. We weigh the benefits and risks, then we live with the consequences.

The ability to make good decisions is often impacted by incomplete information, urgent deadlines and limited physical or emotional resources.

Decision-making usually involves a mixture of intuition and rational thinking. In life, there is often no “right” decision. But most people will tell you that almost any decision is better than none at all.

And the good news is there that there are steps you can take to help you make better choices. Here are five of my favourites:

Remove yourself from the situation

Allow yourself to be an outside observer of the situation. When you do, you're more likely to think about all your other options and even be more open to considering compromises, which can be especially helpful when your decision impacts others. There’s a lot of emotion involved in the decision process, so removing yourself from the situation for even a short period of time can help you refocus and look at the facts.

Don't shy away from previous mistakes

Mistakes aren’t completely negative. We tend to learn more from them than we do from successes. Keep them within your frame of reference. As someone once said, ‘ Nations who forget their history are destined to repeat it.’

Examine the opposite of your decision

Before moving forward with what you feel is your final decision, make sure you've considered the complete opposite. When you challenge yourself in this way, you may find you highlight long-held beliefs that may have clouded your past decisions.

Stay true to your values

Remembering your values may make it easier to see the path ahead. Staying true to your values gives you confidence and helps you accept when things don't work out quite as you had hoped.

Ask for feedback

Before you make your final decision a little feedback might be valuable, especially if it comes from people who have been in similar situations. It's also right to ask for feedback from those who will be affected by your decision. They might give you a perspective you may not have thought of yet.

Chris Harrison leads The Brand Inside