We make thousands of decisions every day of our lives. Most of these decisions don’t even enter our consciousness, but the relatively few that do can cause consternation, angst, and stress. This is the first of two (maybe three!) blogs which explores the art of effective decision-making.
Decision-making is a problem-solving process through which we identify alternative solutions and choose which one we think will serve us best. It sounds simple, but human beings love to complicate things and we have all stressed over what seems like an ultra-difficult decision
Ultimately, decisions are made either by reasoning, or through intuition. Often it is a combination of both these approaches that gets the job done. That said, I want to delve deeper here and consider how we might enhance our decision-making by gaining clarity, accessing wisdom and drawing on our innate resilience.
Gaining clarity is an important first step. Stepping back from the complexity we are facing; quietening our thinking; and easing the pressure on ourselves creates the space where insight happens and the situation we are facing can be seen more objectively. In this space we can consider all sides of the equation so that our decision is ultimately based on a clear understanding of reality, rather than on influences from external circumstances or our momentary, and sometimes arbitrary, thoughts.
Accessing our inner wisdom is crucial, with the pre-cursor that we acknowledge we do in fact have an inner wisdom that is beyond the limitations of our personal thinking. Actually we don’t need to acknowledge it because our wisdom will (and always does) come into play anyway (it’s part of the human design). Wisdom is sometimes referred to as our intuition or our ‘gut feeling’ – it is not learned, nor is it something we gain more of as we get older. It’s an universal energy, so we are born with infinite wisdom, and we can rest assured it will always be there for us. Allowing our wisdom to guide us means we can access deeper insights and make choices that are based on our values, preferences and beliefs. Without realising it we are instinctively aligning our decision with our authentic selves.
Drawing on our innate resilience is the third cog in the wheel. Life is ever-changing and decision-making requires us to adapt to the world around us day by day, minute by minute. Knowing we can’t be broken, and that we can’t fail in the longer term means we have nothing to fear. Knowing we can always pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, and have another go allows us to stay open-minded. Resilience allows us to be flexible; to consider alternative perspectives and to adjust our decisions as necessary.
Decision-making based on gaining clarity, accessing our inner wisdom, and drawing on our innate resilience paves the way for a choice to be made, which then may or may not prompt action. After all, whether or not we take action is another decision for us to consider!
Part 2 (coming soon) will explore the decision-making process in the context of career change and, in particular, the question: ‘Should I stay, or should I go?’
Photo Credit: Kenny Eliason on Unsplash