Every day, we make countless decisions. Most of them are so simple that we are hardly aware of them. But decisions can also determine the success of a project, the end of a relationship, or our health. Making such important decisions can sometimes feel like an impossible, almost paralyzing task. Behind this is usually the fear of making the wrong decision. Then it is tempting to just avoid it. But not deciding is, in fact, still a decision. But unfortunately, in doing so, we give up the reins and must deal with the possible consequences of the « non-decision ».
Making decisions is difficult and depends on many factors, from personal history to the values learned in childhood. It is perfectly normal to have mixed feelings when deciding. Fear and anxiety are as much a part of it as regret. Hardly anyone goes through life without ever having made a wrong decision. The more complex a decision is, the more aspects need to be considered before making it. We can learn to make crucial decisions more easily and decisively.
Asking the right questions!
Before we decide, we need to fully understand the situation. Is the problem the real issue or just the result of a deeper cause? In most cases, there are several interrelated factors that need to be considered. For example, changes in one department may have an impact on other areas, so the change would be counterproductive. Possible questions to ask are:
– What are my options?
– How will this decision affect my psychological well-being?
– How will this decision affect the people around me?
– What resources do I need to make this a reality?
– What will happen if I fail?
– What if I succeed?
This process also includes the traditional pros and cons list. When we put our thoughts down on paper, they are less likely to swirl around in our heads. Psychologists recommend paying attention to how you feel when you write the list. This can provide more information than the list itself.
Asking for support
It can be invaluable to have a strong network to fall back on when you’re having trouble making an upcoming decision. It’s okay to ask others for advice and get their opinion. Instead of asking for a solution, it is better to ask how others see the situation. This way, you get a new perspective on things you hadn’t considered before. If there is a risk of getting answers that reflect one’s own need for safety and security, it is useful to get outside support. This can be colleagues from other fields, coaches, or psychologists.
Listening to your intuition
Sometimes we have known the answer for a long time. Then we should take time to breathe deeply and get in touch with our inner self. Playing sports, going for a walk in the park, cooking nicely or taking a long bath – time to think about what we want to do and how we feel about it. Do any of the choices feel inspiring and exciting? Then we’ve made a good choice. However, if one of the choices makes us feel lethargic and down, then it’s probably not the way to go. Allowing ourselves a moment of calm can help us get in touch with our own inner thoughts and feelings.
Learning from mistakes
One of the biggest challenges in making decisions is the awareness that we might take a wrong decision. Therefore, we should realize that all people make mistakes, and that failure is part of life. It is in failure that we learn the most about ourselves and others and that new perspectives on life can open. With this attitude, it is much easier for us to make decisions and trust that we will manage to deal with the consequences. Because: Mistakes create room for progress if we are willing to learn from them and develop further.
In our daily lives, we must make many decisions. Some are simple, like what to have for dinner, others are more serious, like whether to quit a job. Therefore, it is helpful to know strategies that strengthen one’s decision-making ability and help in difficult situations to take the right path, at the right time, to the desired goal. It is always worthwhile to include the whole system and its internal and external perspective to assess possible consequences. It also helps to know that at every point in the decision-making process we have done our best to find an optimal solution. And this is exactly what is called strategic action.