We are where we are today, because of decisions that we made. Life is a journey, it’s a long road with many junctions, it’s a giant maze. The junction you and I chose to follow determine our destination, and determine our experience. Take it from me, decision making the most important activity we’ll ever engage in. Everything else stems from our decisions. He who leads, excels or succeeds does so based on decisions. The only measurable output of your thinking is your decision. Once again however, our curriculum does not arm us at any level with how to make decisions.
“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” – Peter Drucker (Management Guru)
This reminds me of the story of an economic adviser to a great king. This king always relied on his adviser to help him with his economically oriented decisions, but typical of all economists, the adviser will offer him a detailed analysis of why to do things in a certain way on one hand, and reasons why he can do it the other way on the other hand. The king would need to make a decision, and at the end of the day will hear two possibilities, one version on one hand, and the other on the other hand. This got the king really frustrated, and anxious to end his persistent confusion. The king thought long and hard, and finally came up with a decision that is indeed the mother of all decisions. The decision that will help him simplify his decision making process. After he did that, his life became simple, and he became successful.
What did he do? Simple, he asked that the economists left hand be amputated! That way, the economist only presents one hand, and there is no other hand. 🙂
We need to employ a system that helps us make great decisions. Our decision making paradigm has the greatest impact on our lives. The first thing you need to do, is amputate one of your hands… figuratively that is.
1. Decide now for all the decisions you need to make.
It actually sounds funny, but if you wait till the pressure of the moment to decide what your stand will be, you will go in the direction of the lowest denominator. You will always go for what is easier, and more short term. Have a long term approach to decisions. When you decide your values, you limit your options and technically amputate some possibilities. Don’t wait till the exam day to decide if you’ll cheat or not, don’t wait till the opportunity to lie comes before you decide. Decide long before you decide. The further your decision is from the event, the stronger your resolve. If you need to pause to think about anything, if you need to pray before you know what your decision is, then pause thoroughly and rather form convictions rather than take impulsive decisions.
“Chance favors the prepared mind” – Louis Pasteur
2. Maintain a Clear Midterm to Longterm Vision.
When a man sets out of his house, the bus he boards, the direction he faces and the side of the road he stays is not decided on his whims, it’s decided because he first purposed a destination in his heart. Our immediates are ruled and governed by our ultimates. When you have a clear destination in mind, you can take your decisions by simply consulting your destination. Will what I am doing now help me achieve my objective? Decision making becomes easy when you have a clear picture of where you are going. Small wonder visionless, and purposeless people vacillate between making up their minds. Grab a journal and document your vision, get a glimpse of 20yrs from now, and form a 1-2yr plan. When you head out with your car at night, the light doesn’t see as far as the end of the road, but it sees far enough to get you to the next level that helps you see further. You are in trouble without a vision. Form one!
“Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything” -Peter Marshall
3. Get Guidance
The greatest guide available to man, is God! We are limited by time, God is not! We do not know the future, he does. There is no greater or better guidance than for a man to submit himself to the word of God and to the Holy Spirit. When you have God guiding you, all you need to do is be in communion, move and he’ll guide. You also need to get guidance from people who have had experience before you. In the multitude of counselors there is safety. If you get to that unforseen crossroad in life where it’s difficult to consult your convictions or your vision, ask. Don’t rely strictly on your knowledge and efforts. It’s not weakness to ask, it’s wisdom!
“The secret of success is to ask” – Unknown