On the topic of decision making skills, Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Man is not the creature of circumstance; circumstances are the creatures of men.”
Decision making skills are critical to being successful as an entrepreneur and life in general. The truth is that different actions produce different results.
Therefore, different decisions will produce different results. It thus makes sense to boost your decision making skills because good decisions will create the life you want.
To take control of our lives means to make decisions. We shouldn’t let others decide a lot of the decisions that we could take ourselves because their decision will likely to be in their interest, not ours.
Anthony Robbins believes that making decisions is to control your destiny. While you might have some disadvantages compared to others, you also have some advantages that you can use to improve your life conditions. You can turn your decision making skills as to one of your strengths whatever limitations you might be experiencing right now.
The post will help you become a better decision maker.
Boosting your decision making skills requires ending making excuses
Excuses are the anti-thesis of decision making. You can’t improve your decision making skills if you keep making excuses and playing the victim of life. Your belief system will therefore play a key role for you to improve your decision making skills. If you believe that you cannot change your life, then you’re right! If you believe in the power of decisions to transform your life, then yes, you’re going to win in this life!
Personal decisions are the source of change in your life. If you decide and commit to a healthy lifestyle, then you’ll become a healthy person. If you decide to have good cash flow for your business, you’re going to do things that will boost your cash inflows and lessen your cash outflows even though it might be difficult or challenging to do so. That is the power of decision making.
You can change your circumstances!
Transform your life by making decisions. You can end the crappy circumstances you are in. Don’t like your current relationship? End it graciously. Life is too short to be unhappy. Have a horrible boss? Time to craft an exit plan and move to a better job with a more pleasant environment. Feeling tired most of the time? You can tweak some of your habits to boost your vitality. Such is the power of taking charge and making decisions. Determination has its own magic. Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Nothing can resist the human will that will stake even its existence on its stated purpose.”
The word “decision” comes from Latin “de” which means “from” and “caedere” which means “to cut”. To truly decide on something is to focus all your powers to achieving your target result and removing other possibilities aside from your desired result.
Anthony Robbins once said, “It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”
The Framework to boosting your decision making skills
The only way to improve your decision making skills is to practice making decisions. First, you decide what you want to change in your life. The second step is to craft an action plan to achieve that change. Third, you observe the process and the result. Ask yourself, “Is this working or not?” Fourth, if it is not working, adapt and change the action. Keep at it and modifying until you achieve the change that you want. If you’re truly committed to this process, you’ll keep figuring out the “how” to help you achieve the changes that you want to happen. The truth is that you probably know the solutions to your problems already. It’s just a matter of deciding to do it and committing to it so that true change will happen in your life and career.
For example, you might have been for the longest time wanting to quit cigarettes because of its bad effect on your health. However, you have been giving excuses and procrastinating. So let’s go through the framework to truly end smoking.
Framework for decision making example
Step 1: Decide really to stop smoking. Have a big why to why you want to stop the bad habit. Commit to ending this disgusting habit. List down all the benefits that will happen once you stop smoking, e.g. your lungs will be healthier and you can start playing sports again.
Step 2: Craft an action plan. Here, you can meet up with your doctor to help you create a plan to stop smoking. You should also seek support from your spouse and family to help you. For example, if you smoke a cigarette, you will pay $100 to the political party that you detest. Use punishments and rewards to help incentivize your decision. Your spouse can help redirect the spending you do on cigarettes to something more productive, e.g. investing in stocks of companies that you believe in or regularly consume.
Step 3: Observe. Record the process of your change. Note the circumstances you were successful in resisting to smoke and note the challenges you encounter daily. You can document it on paper or you can record a reflection video of yourself daily so that you can go back to the drawing board as necessary.
Step 4: Adapt. Find out which strategies are working for you and keep at it. Tweak or discard those actions that are not working or not showing results for you. So if a $100 fine doesn’t work for you, maybe $250 will. If investing in stocks is not your thing, maybe you can start a fund for your new business idea. The idea is to keep tweaking until your plan is perfect and working.
Making decisions on what to focus on
It’s important to have focus in life. By focusing, we are able to direct our energies and abilities towards those areas that we are focusing on. Hence, one of the most important decisions that we must actively choose are decisions of focus. What are the areas in your life and business that you should focus on?
For example, in running your business, you must carefully decide which products/services to make. If you don’t decide and choose carefully, you’ll be all over the place and you won’t stand for something. Consumers will not know what your business is really about and thus you won’t stick in your customers’ minds. They might even think that your business has no forte. Focusing on something will allow your business to get really good at it and becoming the first choice for consumers. It also makes sense to outsource your non-core activities so that you can focus all your energies on your key business processes and activities.
In your personal life, it’s important to decide what to focus on in the short and long-term. For example, you should prioritize three things daily to work on. The rest of your tasks should only be done after you finished your three most important tasks for the day. If the other tasks involve some urgency but are clearly less important than your three main tasks, you should be delegating those tasks to others, e.g. a virtual assistant.
Deciding on what to focus on builds your decision making skills. The decision that you made will give you feedback so as to let you decide what to do next. Are you going to tweak something or is it working already? Decision making skills are skills just like any other skills like computer coding or playing a sport. It requires practice and the beauty with decision making skills is you have opportunities to practice it daily.
At the end of the day, your life is simply the sum of all the decisions you took during your stay here on Earth.
How our brain makes decisions
The brain has an internal system for making decisions. It has been subconsciously created throughout our life and been installed in our subconscious by people and our environment, for example: our parents, peers, media, advertisement and our culture. This internal system for making decisions is driven by our core beliefs, our life values, our references, our personal questions and our emotional states. If you can change or influence one of these factors, you can produce radical change in your life.
For example, if one of your core beliefs is that you’re not creative, then your actions are going to reflect that. But if you try to change that core belief by choosing to replace it with a more affirmative belief like the growth mindset, then your life is going to change because you are going to decide that you are a creative person and you’re a lifelong learner. Your thoughts and beliefs drive your actions and so making sure you choose the right core beliefs is important. Ask yourself, “Is my core belief useful for my life? What other beliefs can be more beneficial for me?”
It’s also important to take note of our emotional states. If we’re perpetually in a negative state, our decisions will be haphazard and done in anger or negativity. Making decisions when we are angry or feeling jealous or frustrated will never yield a good decision. As such, engaging in activities that bring you happiness is beneficial in boosting your decision making skills because you are able to optimize your emotional state by choosing happiness as much as possible.
Don’t be afraid to make decisions
It is better to make the wrong decision than get paralyzed into not making a decision. Every decision gives feedback as to whether we chose well or not and this boosts our future decision making skills because we learn from poor decisions. The other thing to remember is that we can tweak or improve on our decisions. Sometimes the gravity or the impact of our decision does not affect other people significantly. It only affects us so we can easily change our decision to the more optimal decision.
Thomas Edison once said, “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
The truth is that you have made bad decisions in the past and you will continue to make bad decisions but as your decision making skills improve, you will make lesser bad decisions because of your wealth of experience.
Tony Robbins once said, “Success truly is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is often the result of bad judgment.”
Making decisions is taking action
One of the most powerful secrets to success is taking action and making real decisions leads to taking actions because you’re committed to it.
By making decisions, you set in motion a new direction for your life. You get the ball rolling towards what you seek. If you want to know if you have truly decided on something, see if you have taken action. Unless you took action, then you haven’t made a real decision. It’s just an idea if you have not taken action.
Don’t overthink things
Research shows that successful people make decisions quickly because they know what they want and they are clear on their values. So start by clarifying what you want and what you value, and then make a decision quickly based on those. Just decide and focus on the plan of action that you have decided. Evaluate the results before deciding on the next course of action.
Make decisions, whether big or small, regularly
To boost your decision making skills, practice making them regularly. It’s like a muscle that needs regular practice. You become better at something by practicing. Decision making skills are just like any other skills you want to get better at. So take every possible opportunity to make a decision. Go through the day being decisive at your decision given the information that is already at hand for you.
How to learn from your decisions
Instead of cursing yourself after making a bad decision, ask these questions instead:
(1) What is good about this? (2) What can I learn from this?
It’s possible that your bad decision is actually a blessing in disguise.
Focus on the lessons from these decisions because they will help you in the future.
Stick to your decision but remain flexible
If you want to learn how to be decisive, you have to commit to your decision. Your strategies to achieve your goals may not be successful so that is the part that you should be flexible in. Just because your goal is not being achieved doesn’t mean your decision is wrong. It might simply mean your approach needs to be different. Keep experimenting until you get it done.
Enjoy the process of making decisions
Life is really all about making decisions. Life should be enjoyed therefore you should enjoy making decisions. Yes, you will make bad decisions but you will learn from them. Celebrate your good decisions and know that being a good decision maker will yield lots of benefits in your business and life. You’ll be better equipped to lead your organization by taking first control of your life with proper decision making.
Great decision making is hallmark of Good Leaders
One of the key benefits of boosting your decision making skills is that you will become a better leader. People will respect you and trust your judgment in your decisions. Career-wise, good decision making skills will allow you to go up the corporate ladder. If you’re an entrepreneur, having solid decision making skills will propel your startup to its next stage of growth. In your personal life, good decision making skills will help you become healthy, satisfied and general happiness will be yours.