No one can live without making decisions. But it is better to say that no one can move forward without learning to communicate decisions. It involves responsibility.
Some try to skip the responsibility of taking decisions by allowing the toss of a coin or some similar gimmick to decide for them. Though it is an easy method when choices involved are neither critical nor unduly important, it should not be made a habit.
Instead, one has to learn to make decisions. That does not mean that one graduates in decision-making at any point in life. But as you mature you tend to make more wise decisions. Of course, mistakes are a definite possibility in decision-making. But not all mistakes are as life-threatening as choosing between cutting a red or blue wire in a ticking time bomb not knowing which one spells life and which one spells death.
Therefore the possibility of making a wrong decision should not freeze the decision-making process. Instead one should utilize any time available to weigh the pros and cons of a decision. Then one has to arrive at a wise decision. Also it would be wise to foresee the possibilities of redeeming the situation if the decision you take turns out to be not the best.
If at all things go wrong, instead of blaming it on others, the weather, or fate, it is best to take the responsibility. Only when you do so would you retain the respect of others and also have the courage to find a solution to the mess you created. Such a responsible attitude will bring forth hidden creativity in you. It will enable you to make amends and emerge better and stronger out of the chaos caused by wrong decisions. Who knows, the learning experience of today’s mistake might give you insight to make a major decision correctly tomorrow!
Another difficulty in decision-making comes when you try to please everybody. This is impossible. Trying to do so is like becoming a football whom everyone can kick. The direction it then takes depends on others and you can do nothing about it.
To prevent such a difficulty, you have to have a set of values in life. When decisions are based on such values, you will have courage to face the storm of criticism that will be levelled against you. Even though others may not like your decision, they will at least show respect to the values that guided your decision. In other words, having a set of values is like setting rules and laws for decision-making. If absent, it leads to arbitrary decisions which can spell disaster.
Yet another crisis in decision-making comes when others press hard and corner you to give a decision on a matter immediately. Then you feel pressurized. You feel like saying “Yes” when in your heart you are not excited nor emotionally involved. The best thing to do is not to rush your decision in such situations. Instead, ask for time with diplomacy and tact.
When you are in doubt say “No.” Remember that in such situations a “No” answer is almost always the “first” best answer. Even though a firm “No” may be resented by the other party; it relieves you of a lot of pressure.
Also remember that “No” is your best defence when peer pressure compells you to act against conscience. The first time you say “No” it might seem the most difficult thing to do. But once you say it, you find that there is greater courage, self-respect and dignity in saying “No” than be a weakling in saying “Yes” just because you feared to be left out of the gang!
But the important thing to note is that you should communicate “No” with respect to the other party, their feelings and sentiments. Be tactful about it. A gentle answer can soothe hurt feelings and keep relationships alive.
On the other hand, when you take “Yes” decisions, you should be fully convinced in your mind why your decision was positive. Otherwise, when you are tested during the working out of your decision, you will find yourself stumbling in the dark. It is during such rough periods that so many will come and try to tell you why your “Yes” decision was wrong. The mistake that you can easily make at this juncture is to stop your work to convince such people why your decision was right.
Do not waste your time thus, for your critics will never be convinced. Instead, go about your business quietly and prove them wrong with your success. The point is that rough weather will come even though the decision to sail was right. But keep your sails steady, brave the storm, be patient and set your sights on the harbor to be reached.
Moving forward, the question comes about the time element in decision-making. For example, a fire-fighter has to make split-second decisions. The fact is that not all decisions can be made at leisure. But that does not mean that all quick decisions are wrong. If the decision-maker has a track record of basing his decisions on values on a consistent basis, his quick decisions will also bear that stamp and imprint.
Even then, as a safety measure, it would be wise not to be hasty in decision-making. A reasonable delay can clarify many doubts and allow you consider other options and possible outcomes which might not have surfaced earlier. The one thing to avoid here is a never-ending “analysis-paralysis” which freezes the decision-making process; naturally leading to lost opportunities.
Another element of interest is the part of emotions in decision-making. Some say that they are emotional or intuitive in decision- making. They also validate their statement by quoting the success rate of their decisions. Though emotional decisions can have its place in the scheme of things; it can never be a substitute for intelligent thought.
And one last thought. Just think of the number of decisions, both big and small, you make every day. Your reading this article was also a result of your decision to do so. Similarly every day of your life is built on several decisions. So think of decision-making seriously from now on. For every decision counts and has consequences; both in time and eternity.