We are often faced with making hard choices about various aspects of our lives. It could be something mundane like what should you eat for dinner to something as important as choosing a career. It’s true when they say that it is not the circumstances that shape your destiny, it’s your decisions that shape your destiny. Decision making is a vital skill that needs to be developed if we are to succeed in our businesses, as leaders and as entrepreneurs.
“It is our choices Harry that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” – J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets
By identifying the barriers to decision making we can master the art of making hard choices. Here are some tools and insights that can help you become a better decision maker.
- Give yourself an ultimatum
“It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions” – Jim Rohn
What is a tough decision? It’s when you need to choose between Option A and B, with both having different values and impact on your life. If option A is what your heart desires, Option B might be what your mind wants. How do you really know for sure which of these will result in you being happier and more successful. Can you say for sure that either one of them guarantees your dreams coming true?
The answer is a definitive NO. We can’t know for sure how things will turn out. We can only speculate. This uncertainty and fear of the unknown that accompanies decision making is the main reason so many of us put off making a choice. So give yourself a time limit for taking a decision and then just do it, the only way to know if it works or not is to try it.
This does not mean that you have to be impulsive. Sometimes things do become clearer as more time passes and you gather more information. However, having a deadline or a set date for making a choice is necessary if we don’t want to get stuck in this vicious cycle. So start by listing down all the things you have been putting off and set yourself a deadline.
- O & A Choices
“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals” – Stephen Covey
The problem of choosing between Oranges and Apples has been an old one. One of the hardest things to do is choosing between two things that have absolutely nothing in common. Let’s say you are passionate about animals, but also love Maths. Should you become a Canine trainer or do you want to be a Chartered accountant. Each choice will lead your life in an entirely different direction.When you compare the two, they have nothing in common with each other(Except that they both begin with C!!) So is it really a fair comparison or are you comparing oranges and apples?When faced with such O & A choices, here’s what you should do:
- List down the pros and cons of each option to get perceptive and see which side is heavier
- Remember – No decision is final, you are free to change your mind
- Believe that your inner compass will ultimately guide you to your true purpose no matter what path you choose.
So if you want to study to be a CA, go for it. What’s stopping you from doing a canine trainer course on the side and switching careers when you are 35? Nothing right? So why not explore more and be open to all the wonderful possibilities.
- The truth behind Procrastination
“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision” – Tony Robbins
People often think that procrastinators are lazy people. That’s actually not true. They are just people who have lost the motivation to act. We may be very good at completing certain tasks on time, and be utterly incapable of addressing others. Best example is putting off going to a dentist. You know it’s time for the annual dental work, but you would rather not. Great. Now be prepared for the consequences aka cavities. The problem statement is “Your mind wants to avoid pain at any cost”. So how can you overcome procrastination?
It’s important to understand that when you decide not to take action, that itself is a decision. Your life is already being impacted when you decide not to act on something. A lot of times we focus so much on the outcome and the fear of failure, our mind decides that it’s easier to put this thing off rather than trying.
Start by identifying the root cause why you are putting something off. It’s not always a fear of failure. Sometimes there is also a fear of success like If I really get this promotion, will I have to be more responsible and have less time for family and myself. It could be a lack of self-belief that you don’t really deserve this wonderful opportunity. Once you become aware of the reason you are procrastinating, you can become more conscious of your actions and lack thereof.
To Conclude the next time you are faced with a decision that you are having difficulty with you should remember to do a SWOT analysis, Set a deadline, Identify the reason for delay and trust that your inner guide knows best.
If you feel like sharing your own experiences and struggles with me or and need a life coach, then write to me. Feel free to comment and share this with someone who needs it.
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