How to Make Great Decisions with No Regret

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You need to escape a maze that has 3 exit doors. Behind each, there’s a hazard but you need to go through one only to escape. The first has cutting lasers everywhere. The second has 3 deadly assassins, and the final has a hungry lion that hasn’t eaten in 3 months. Which door will you choose?

Logic will lead you to the final door. Because if the lion didn’t eat in 3 months, it must be dead by now and you will survive. However, sometimes rational thinking isn’t all you need. There are matters that we need to consider when taking a decision.

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What Matters?
Have you ever thought how you choose your car or shoes? Research tells us that we make 90% of our purchasing subconsciously, because it relates to a memory or gives us a certain pleasant feeling. This is supported in psychology as our emotions remain the number 1 factor in making decisions. So, people look for what makes them happy (positive) and avoid what upsets them (negative).

Let’s say that you like to work out in the morning with friends, and you know that exercising is good for your health. So, this seems to be a good decision. You are having fun, socializing and taking care of your well-being. Now, it’s weekend, and your kids asked you to go to the beach early in the morning. So, will you miss the exercise routine?

The decision here isn’t just mathematical. You need to weigh your options. So, maybe you will convince your kids to go later in the afternoon or convince your friends to exercise that day on the beach, and everyone will be happy. The thing is to know when and how to make decisions.

pexels-photo-105254How To Make a Decision: Think Big Picture
Some people may remain indecisive or hesitant to take a decision until someone comes in to guide them or tell them what to do. They might think it’s complicated or that it involves many players, and they don’t want to upset anyone. So, what skill is needed here?

When making a decision, it’s wise to think both short-term and long-term. Let’s say that you are craving for a burger and it’s late at night. On the short term, think how it will make you feel after 2 hours. Will it make you feel guilty? On the long term, will it lead you to developing unhealthy habits? This is because you will be answering your appetite whenever it’s calling, and you will end up suffering from obesity.

Long-term thinking also opens up your eyes to “Think Big Picture”. So, you start to think of other factors like your family, career and finances, for example. Look back at the appetite cravings example. On the long term, will obesity stop you from having fun with your family because your fitness level will become low? Will it lead to diseases and so you will be spending your time and money on cures? In this way it involves both your health and finances.

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Prompt Decision Making
Analytical thinking could help in many cases, but also flexibility and simplicity is what we need in prompt decision making.

For example, if you saw someone drowning and you don’t know how to swim, you would simply ask for help from others in the street. Or you would call the police for emergency assistance.

This could be the same way a goalie acts when they see the ball about to enter the net. They simply keep their gaze fixed on the ball and reach out until they stop it. This technique is called “As if”.

People who act within this frame don’t usually realize how they reach this point. They simply tell you “I just do it”. And it is very much the saying “fake it until you make it”. What happens is that you act with the end-result picture in your head. In other words, you act like you see yourself in the future doing something and you simply achieve it with determination.

Finally, remember! Not taking a decision is a decision. It’s not that easy sometimes to reach one, but you need to act for yourself. Also, remember to take effective decisions not just comfortable options.

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