Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

January 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm 3 comments

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Everyday we make dozens of decisions. These decisions range from the very simple and mildly important such as, “What will I have for breakfast?” to a life changing decision like, “Should I buy a house?” Everything we do in life requires decision-making. “Should I turn left at the next corner,” may come so automatically that you don’t even realize you are making a decision. In fact, the ability to make decisions separates us from other animals that rely on instinct to respond. This thinking ability is the single most important ability we possess; yet we take it for granted. Often times we make decisions on the fly, off the cuff, or worse with no thought at all.

Here are four points that will help you make better decisions. By following these you are actively deciding to make your decision-making ability more important in your life. With this decision you are also taking the responsibility to make better decisions.

Pros vs. Cons I’ve been taught over my life to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Several books have been written on this exercise and even encourage the writing down of pros and cons and then make your decision based solely on whether or not there are enough pros to offset the cons. I agree that the pros and cons should be addressed. A wise decision takes in all the factors, but consider this, had Thomas Edison weighed the pros and cons of inventing the light bulb we may still be lighting our homes with kerosene lamps. Decision-making is not about keeping a scorecard and making that decision based on a positive “Pro” score. This is about being aware of what you’re up against, what your assets are and how you can overcome obstacles. This is about being informed, not about a balance sheet.

Ask A Lot of Questions I ask a lot of questions before I start a project. I want to know everything I can know about what I’m about to do. With knowledge comes the power to make good decisions. It’s taking the pro and con thing to another level. It’s about constantly asking questions and analyzing the information you receive. Be forewarned, you can get totally paralyzed by the process of gathering information. There is a limit to obtaining information. You can overload yourself with facts and figures and never get down to making the decision. Limit yourself to gathering enough information to make the decision, and then make it.

Don’t Forget Your Gut We humans have instinct just like animals. Ever make a decision and have your stomach knot up? That’s your instinct telling you something. Never ignore it. Gut instinct it there for a reason. It means you may have missed something. If you about to make a decision that makes you queasy stop and go back to the first two points. You might be lacking a bit of information that would be useful in the decision making process.

Make the Decision and Stick By It Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons, gathered enough information, and without the aid of antacids, your stomach is calm, make the decision. Be confident in it, don’t second-guess yourself, and don’t back track unless you receive some new information that is vital. Being indecisive is not a trait of success.

Successful people are a success because they have mastered the decision-making process. I’m sure that there are many more points that could be made about good decision-making. I hope these four simple points are a start for you and that by following them you will make better decisions in the future.

Have you decided its time to market your business, develop your brand, do some advertising? Let’s get together and make some good decisions so your business will be successful.

Michael Irvin
Creative Project Manager
913.677.7060 cell: 913.530.7030
mirvin1129@yahoo.com

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael Irvin Big Idea Guy  |  January 28, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks for clicking the “Like” button.

    Michael

    Reply
  • 2. lizard6849Liz Craig  |  January 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Hi, Michael,

    Ben Franklin used to take a piece of paper and write all the “pro” factors on one side and all the “con” factors on the other. Then he would give each factor a numerical value according to importance. If the “pro” side added up to more than the “con” side, that decided the issue. Seems like a good exercise, because it makes you remember all of the factors and consider them very carefully. But of course, you don’t have to take the mathematically derived answer; you can always change your mind. Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    • 3. Michael Irvin Big Idea Guy  |  January 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      That’s were I got that. Thanks for reminding me. Franklin reduced it down to a mathematical equation and it certainly worked for him. I’m suggesting another use for the pro and con list. More of an assessment of risks and attributes or a short version of SWOP. Thanks for the input, it’s always insightful.

      Michael

      Reply

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