Discovering how to improve your decision-making process can help you improve the decisions you take in a daily basis, but getting over the fear of making bad decisions is also an important side of taking advantage of life situations.
Take a look at some bad decisions you have made in the past. You probably imagined nightmare scenarios before you made those decisions. In reality, while the outcome was not the best, the negative aspect of your decision was nowhere near the horrible “reality” you had invented in your mind.
Getting Over the Fear of Making Bad Decisions
One simple way to get over the fear inherently present in decision making is to remember that things almost never turn out as badly as you think they are going to.
Another way to stop fear from creating indecisiveness is to see beyond the negative. Look at the possible positive effects of the decision you make. Don’t focus on just the dangers of making a poor decision. This requires adopting a positive attitude. You should be strong enough in your belief of self that you know you’re going to fail from time to time. This can lead to a positive attitude because you understand you are not perfect, you will from time to time make a bad choice.
As your positive attitude towards decision-making builds, you will learn to step outside your comfort zone. As you slowly move further and further away from where you feel safe and protected, you will have to make more and more decisions. Look beyond the perceived dangers to the possible benefits once again, and your positive attitude towards decision-making grows evermore. This in turn promotes the idea of moving even further from your comfort zone as your comfort zone expands.
Getting over the fear of making bad decisions is all about swinging the bat.
In baseball, a batter must swing the bat to hit the ball. A home-run is the best possible scenario for a batter in baseball. However, if he’s afraid of striking out, popping out or in some other way making an out instead of getting a hit or a home-run, he can be frozen with indecision, and never swing the bat.
You have to swing the bat to hit a home-run, and this means moving past a fear of making the incorrect decision and focusing instead on the possible benefits for your choice to be a home-run.
10 Tips to Improve Decision Making
The following tips, tricks and techniques can help you improve your decision making skills. In some cases, you have plenty of time to study your options. Other times you must make a split-second decision with very little information to go on.
The following 10 choice-making boosters will lead to decisive decision-making, and quick and confident choices. They can also help you recognize when you can take time to choose, and when you must make a choice right away.
1 – Identify the Comfortable, Safe Choice… Then Do the Opposite
Has anyone ever told you that you needed to step outside of your comfort zone? You may have thought that person had no idea what they were talking about. However, scientists have quantified exceptional achievements and found that they usually exist when you are just outside of your area of comfort and safety.
Comfort kills passion and ambition.
Think back to when you have realized some incredible achievement in your life. There was probably a little bit of pain or discomfort that led up to that accomplishment. This doesn’t mean you have to intentionally inflict negative experiences on yourself to try and achieve some great goal. It simply means that you should be able to step outside of your comfort zone when making decisions, because often times, that is where the greatest rewards lie.
To place yourself outside your comfort zone just do the opposite to your first reaction, this should improve decision making triggers.
2 – Think About What You Really Want, What’s Important to You
Sometimes you decide not to make a decision, or to put off choosing, because you don’t like any of the choices you have to make. Procrastination here is really not going to change anything. You will still have the same choices, and putting it off could possibly lower the benefits of one or more of the choices you have.
You can have a good read about procrastination here: http://sas.calpoly.edu/asc/ssl/procrastination.html
What if this happens? Your boss congratulates you on your work, and then informs you that you can take your pick of one of three job promotions. You’ve been climbing the corporate ladder for a while, so you automatically and unconsciously believe you should take the promotion which has the greatest opportunity for earning potential and other benefits down the road.
Before you make a decision, ask yourself what you really want. You may learn that you would prefer to go to work for an entirely new company, rather than choose from these promotions. Perhaps one of the promotions really excites you because it takes you in an area you’ve always wanted to study or work in. Even if it looks like it may not offer you the most growth potential and earning possibility down the road, maybe that’s the job you should choose.
Get clear on what you really want, and when you do, making decisions is easy.
3 – Don’t Make a Decision Just Because You Feel You “Have To”
In the above example, you automatically felt like you should make a choice because you had choices. Maybe the best choice is not to choose any of the promotions. Perhaps you are fine right where you are, you are happy with your life, you could see yourself in the same position 10, 20 and 30 years down the road. If so, consider making no decision and passing on the promotion opportunities.
4 – Practice Making Small Decisions
Big decisions are tough for just about everyone. Thinking about quitting your job means losing your safe, comfortable and consistent income. Maybe starting your own business will turn out to be the best thing you ever did, but that is a huge decision that is difficult to make. To make big, important decisions easier, start making small decisions quickly and decisively.
If you spend an hour staring out through your window on a sunny day and wonder exactly how you’re going to enjoy the wonderful weather, you are still stuck inside. It shouldn’t take you a lot of time to decide what you’re going to eat for lunch.
If you are chronically indecisive concerning small decisions, it is obviously going to be incredibly difficult to make decisions and choices that will have a large impact on your life now and in the future.
Give yourself no more than 30 or 60 seconds to choose what movie you are going to watch on Netflix, if you will go to the gym rather than exercise at home, and to make any other small decisions that pop up throughout your day. You will train yourself to quickly appraise a situation and arrive at the best possible decision, whether that decision is big or small.
5 – Would You Rather Make a Decision, or Let Someone Do It for You?
When you make a choice, you are in control. Good or bad, you have chosen your destiny. You can’t complain that anyone else is responsible for your success or failure. And when you succeed, you feel great about having made the decision yourself. Doing something beats doing nothing almost every time.
Take action, rather than reacting to a decision that is made for you. Besides, when you choose to do nothing, you have actually made a decision. Wouldn’t you rather look at all of the information available to you and make an informed decision rather than passing on making the choice and leaving your destiny up to fate, or someone else?
6 – Get a Second Opinion
Sometimes you have influences that lead you to a particular decision which you are not even aware of. This means that asking a friend, family member or some other loved one what they think about your decision might prove beneficial. Tell them that you want their honest opinion, and not just something that makes you feel good about a decision you are trying to make.
7 – Time Travel into the Past
Looking at your past decisions can help you make current and future decisions. This only works if you are honest with yourself though. Think about all the variables involved in previous decisions, how much time you had to make them, whether or not you had a lot of information, any obstacles you may have overcome along the way and anything else regarding your ability to make choices in the past. See if there is anything you can apply to your current decision, and then take action, this will lead to improve decision making.
8 – Take Your Heart Out of the Decision
You should never make an important decision when you are emotionally sky-high or down in the dumps. People make far too many decisions, big and small, based on emotion. While deciding what color socks you are going to wear is probably not an emotion-based choice, there are plenty of decisions you make every day which are driven by how you feel. Look at your situation objectively, remove your emotions, and then choose.
9 – Don’t Ignore Your Instincts
Whether you believe in a connected world of spirituality which binds us all together or not, you probably have a pretty reliable instinct. You have noticed times in the past when something just “felt right”, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. You made a decision based on your gut instinct, and you were right. Don’t ignore your instincts. Wherever they come from or why they are there may be unknown, but “going with your gut” often times leads to the smartest decision.
10 – Develop a Short Memory
Stewing over bad decisions is never a good thing. If you constantly remind yourself of some huge failure you had at making a decision, you will hamper your ability to choose among even the smallest and most inconsequential choices. When you make a bad decision, think about why you chose it. Log the experience away for future reference and move on. Developing a short memory where failure is concerned will lead to more successful results for your decisions in the future.
Improving your decision-making process is just a matter of changing and adopting new habits. Don’t be afraid of making the wrong decision, just learn from it, dust it off and keep going.