My 9 Step Decision Making Process

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It’s a good idea to have a process that you follow when making decisions. It gives you some familiarity during an uncertain time and it provides a framework that when followed gives you the best chance of making a well informed and beneficial decision.

Having a process can save you the embarrassment of waking up one morning with a butterfly tramp stamp. I’m not saying this happened, just that it could.

This is how I make decisions.

1. Clarify the decision to be made – It sure is embarrassing when you take the time to carefully decide something and then you realize that what you decided wasn’t even the decision that had been put before you.

It’s like when they ask if you want fries with your meal and you answer that you’ll have a Coke. Awkward.

2. Identify possible decision options – Making a decision means you’re choosing between at least two options. It’s hard to make a decision if you’re not sure what your choices are.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone is listing off all of your options and your mind gets stuck on one of them and you don’t bother listening to the rest of the options?

You kind of paint yourself in a corner that way. Not the best way to make decisions, but usually how I do it.

3. Consider whether a deeper issue may be complicating things – We’ve all got baggage. Sometimes it interferes with your decision making.

Sometimes those nasty things your Grandma has been saying about you can cloud your opinion of her and effect your decision to put her in a home or not. It would be a nice home though.

4. Gather and process information – You need to have the facts. If you can’t find them, make them up.

Did you know that 84% of Canadians don’t like coleslaw?

5. Cultivate your intuition – Following your “gut” is a real thing. The part of your brain that is responsible for rational and analytical thoughts and language, the neocortex (not to be mistaken with the medulla oblongata) is separate from our limbic brain, which is responsible for all of our feelings such as trust and loyalty.

This disconnect is what makes it difficult for us to put our feelings into words (or what some may call “Being a Man”). So when your “gut” is telling you that something is good or bad, it’s actually your brain telling you, but you’re just unable to put it into words.

Plus it’s just fun to make a decision without having to rationally back it up.

6. Have a realistic view of the consequences – When you make a decision there’s always at least one option that you didn’t chose. With that comes consequences.

Am I going to look cool with bleach blonde hair? Probably, but are others going to see it that way?

7. Procrastinate/Sleep on it – You have to take some time to let your decision options marinate.

8. Make the decision – You have to decide at some point…or do you? If you need help I always find flipping a coin, using a Magic 8 Ball or consulting my GPS (she’s a good listener) useful.

9. Evaluate your decision – Every successful decision comes with some second guessing. That’s how you know it meant something to you.

Don’t think about it too long or you might find yourself regretting throwing that burrito out of your car window and hitting that biker.

How do you make decisions?



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