Decision making is probably the most important skill in our lives. Making good decisions will smooth your path to success, while making bad decisions will make reaching your goals more difficult, even impossible. Even the smallest decisions we make earlier in life could have powerful repercussions later in life. Let’s discover how to approach the decision-making process in this series of articles.
They say choice is good for the consumer. When you are shopping for something, having multiple marketers and manufacturers bidding for your money is a good thing. This puts the law of supply and demand in your favor. Product quality has to be high since there is so much competition, and prices tend to race towards the bottom. You can play one company against another and always get good value at a reasonable price.
The same is not necessarily true with having a ton of choices if you have a hard time making a decision.
Which brand should you go with? Is one healthier than another, and does that justify paying more money? Should you shop on price alone, since so many of the products are similar in nature? No doubt this has occurred in your life, making the choice of one product over another makes our decision making harder.
The same can be true in other aspects of your life as well.
Going back to some of our other articles, if you let decision making stop you from putting together a good list of morning rituals and evening success rituals or failing to put together a list of business rituals, then you will never be able to start on your path to success.
Whenever You Make a Decision of Any Kind, the Choice You Make Costs You Some Other Opportunity
Opportunity cost is a very real thing. Even when making very basic decisions, any choice you make means you can’t make other choices. This can lead to massive indecision. Take this real-world example that happens all the time.
You are offered a job promotion but you will have to move to another section of the country you are unfamiliar with. There is a healthy raise involved, so financially it is an easy decision to make. However, you will be working in a relatively new field that your company currently branched out into. You are not sure if this new field is going to be productive and long-lasting.
It could be that your company tries out some new product or procedure and it becomes unprofitable. Before you have even become accustomed to your new surroundings and your new job, your company announces an immediate halt of all things related to this new endeavor. You have to backpedal and try to find someone else in the company who will hire you back at your former position, and you may even end up taking a job where your career path is not as bright as it was before.
You can look at that situation in the exact opposite way. Some people like to stay where they are comfortable. You turned down the promotion, you feel comfortable and safe, but your career stalls. You end up going nowhere and if you would’ve taken the new position, it would’ve turned out to be a dream job with amazing benefits and long-term financial gain.
Every choice you make costs opportunities. Sometimes the choices you make are good, and the opportunities you missed out on would not have been something that was beneficial for you. Other times you make the worst possible choice, and miss out on a great opportunity. You can see how important decision making is in our lives.
This is the paradox of choice – the more choices you have the harder it is to arrive at a decision, and making one decision costs you the other.
What you have to remind yourself is that if you are constantly looking at both sides of the decision, the time you spend delaying making the choice could lead to analysis paralysis. You are analyzing your possible choices from so many angles that you are paralyzed with the fear that you will make the wrong decision.
Study your options. Perform your due diligence. Get opinions from others. Do your research, and then make a decision. Putting off making the choice does not necessarily improve the odds that you will make the right decision.
FOMO: How the “Fear of Missing Out” May be Ruining Your Decision Making Process
In 2004 author Patrick McGinnis published an opinion piece in “The Harbus“, a magazine distributed by the Harvard Business School. In it he debuted a term he invented, FOMO. He called this the “fear of missing out“. Consider it “the apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.”
If you choose to attend a party or gathering, are you missing out on other social events or get-togethers? This is the core thinking behind people who suffer from the fear of missing out on something else.
While McGinnis coined FOMO to largely describe decisions that lead to missing out on social interactions, new experiences, financially profitable ventures and other satisfying events, it can be applied to any decision-making process.
If you find it hard to choose A over B, or B over A, is some underlying fear of making a less than favorable decision what is holding you back from decision making? If so, you should know there are considerable reasons for making a decision quickly and confidently, even if your choice leads to the worst possible scenario. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important and rewarding reasons why you should not be scared to make decisions.
The Benefits of Making Decisions
Did you know that confident decision making can help you live longer? It’s true. People that have problems making decisions needlessly increase the amount of stress in their lives. Chronic stress is accompanied by high levels of cortisol and other hormones that do damage to your body when they are overproduced regularly. They cause inflammation, which is at the base of most chronic diseases and illnesses.
So, if you learn to make decisions confidently, you enjoy a healthier, longer life.
Maybe the biggest benefit of decision making is how much you learn along the way. Whether your choice turns out good or bad, you can learn from experience. If you always allow other people to make decisions, you stifle your personal growth.
Are you happy with where you are in life right now? If so, stop making decisions. Decisions lead to action; indecisiveness leads to inaction. When there is no activity, there is no moving forward. However, the rest of the world is constantly moving forward. To keep from getting stuck in the “right now” of your life physically, financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and in any other way, start making more decisions rather than putting them off.
All the planning in the world is nice, but life seems to enjoy throwing you curve balls from time to time, doesn’t it? The more decisions you make, whether they are tiny and insignificant, or large and important, the more capable you are of handling some unplanned problem or challenge when it presents itself.
Would you like to create your dream life, where you have everything you ever desired? The only way to do so is to start making decisions. Decision making is the easiest way to sculpt the existence you know you deserve. You can create the environment perfect for any set of results or goal achievement simply by learning to make decisions.