How to Make <br> a Good Decision
How to Make <br> a Good Decision
Photo Credit: Ambixion

Decision making is a skill and it can be taught. Life constantly forces us to make decisions. Here is a small exercise that could help us to know our own minds more clearly. How to Make a Decision by The School of Life.

“A good life is the fruit of a succession of good decisions, especially around love and work. However, we seldom accord the business of decision-making the kind of careful attention it requires. When faced with a large decision, we lack rituals and procedures. We typically procrastinate, lean on the nearest person or rush headlong into an unexamined solution. Fortunately, decision-making is a skill and – like any other – it can be taught. The chief enemy of good decisions is a lack of sufficient perspectives on a problem. We should systematically think through any issue from five distinct angles: through the eyes of – variously – our Enemy, our Gut, Death, Caution and Courage.”

Thinking about ourselves through the eye of our ENEMY will help us get clarity on our weakest aspects. “Our minds may well go blank if asked to imagine what a sweet and well-meaning person might advise us to do next. We’re so much better at getting into the heads of our bitterest foes. They appreciate our weaknesses and temptations like no other.”

How many times we can make a decision just by listening to what our GUTS are telling us. “We should be brave enough to invite our Gut to the decision-making table, not necessarily in order to follow it but in order to know what it wants, and then submit its stubborn and impatient certainties to gentle rational cross-examination.”

And what about the only sure thing in life: DEATH. How do we utilize it in the decision-making process? “Death may lend us a perverse new sort of confidence to tackle challenges. By frightening us about one enormous thing, it may make us less scared of the many smaller obstacles in our way. Our lives won’t be what they could be unless we submit pretty much every choice we face to the arbiter of eternity and oblivion.”

There’s this realistic voice in each of us to warn us about the possibility of failure: CAUTION. “Caution clears its throat to tell us, that most new businesses fail, most schemes end in disaster and most relationships merely rehash the themes of the current unsatisfactory one. Furthermore, there is a huge amount to be lost and there are many people around us who may get very hurt by our ambitions.”

On the opposite side of caution sits one other force that’s pushing us to step out of our known boundaries and do more, be more: COURAGE. “There would have been no other way to learn how to spell, drive a car or take up a position in the working world. But there can now be a subtle risk from an opposite direction; the risk of being overly faithful for too long to conventions that were dreamt up without our particular interests and hopes in mind. At points, we need vigorously to relearn the art of Courage, to remember that the happiest lives have invariably had inflection points where people did the slightly unexpected and weird thing, took a gamble and won. Sometimes, Caution is just weakness and cowardice wrapped up in the cloak of self-deception. Courage and Caution need to fight this one out, without any presumption of victory on either side.”

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