3 Keys to Making Decisions

Crossroads and DecisionsIn my post Learning to Live Life On Your Own Terms, I talked about how life is full of choices and decisions that each of us is responsible for making. Those decisions form the lifestyle that we are living now or will live in the future. Oftentimes we, especially women, make our decisions based on the emotion of the moment. Then, what happens? We end up regretting the decision and backtracking only to do it all over again during the next emotional roller-coaster ride.

Wouldn’t it be nice to make a THOUGHTFUL decision and be comfortable that you’ve at least completed a wise process in arriving to that decision? I believe if we take the time to make thoughtful decisions we’ll move closer to the life we desire with less turmoil along the way. This doesn’t mean we’ll get all of the decisions right, but I just believe you’ll make more right than wrong ones.

Wrong decisions are always at hindsight. Had you known that you were making a wrong decision, would you have gone along with it? Of course not, why would you choose a path when you know it would get you lost? Why make a certain decision if you knew from the very beginning that it is not the right one. It’s only after you have made a decision and reflected on it that you realize it was a mistake. If the consequences or outcomes are good for you, then you have decided correctly. Otherwise, your decision was wrong.

Nevertheless, we have to take the risk and decide. Since life offers no guarantee and you would never know that your decision would be wrong until you have made it, then you might as well take the risk and decide. It is definitely better than keeping yourself, or someone else ;-), in limbo. Although it is true that one wrong turn could get you lost, it could also be that such a turn could be an opportunity for life success and open more positive roads. It is all a matter of perspective. You have the choice between being a lost traveler or an accidental tourist of life. Just make sure you do not make decisions haphazardly or simply based off of emotion. Emotional decisions are almost always the wrong decision. If you are a believer or spiritual person, your automatic first response should be through prayer. Prayer has so many benefits.  As a Christian, prayer connects me with the One who already knows what’s going to happen. It helps me surrender my pride, will and agenda to His and allows Him to press His thoughts into mine. But, unfortunately many times we stop there and do not apply wisdom to the situation. Faith without a corresponding action accomplishes little. Here are some pointers that could help you choose the best option in the face of life’s crossroads:

Get as much information as you can about your situation.
You can’t find the confidence to decide when you know so little about what you are faced with. Just like any news reporter, ask the 5 W’s: what, who, when, where, and why. What is the situation? Who are the people involved? When did this happen? Where is this leading? Why are you in this situation? These are just some of the possible questions to ask to know more about your situation. This is important because many times the reason for indecision is the lack of information about a situation.

Identify and create options.
What options do the situation give you? Sometimes you have only a few options, but sometimes you have many. What do you do when you think that the situation offers no options? Trust God! And this is the time that you create your own. Make your creative mind work. From the most simplistic to the most complicated, entertain all ideas. Do not shoot anything down when an idea comes to your head. Sometimes the most outrageous idea could prove to be the resolution God has provided for you. You can ask a “qualified” friend to help you identify options and even make more options if you encounter some difficulty, but make sure that you make the decision yourself in the end.

Weigh the pros and cons of every option.
Think about each option by looking at the advantages and disadvantages for each one. This way you get more insight about the consequences for the option. Now that you have considered your options, it is now time to trust yourself. You have to trust yourself and make that decision. Remember that there are no guarantees and wrong decisions are always at hindsight.  So choose… decide… believe that you are choosing the best option at this point in time.

Now that you have made a decision, be ready to face its consequences: good and bad. It may take you to a place of promise or to a land of problems. But the important thing is that you have chosen to live your life instead of remaining a bystander or a passive audience to your own life. Whether it is the right decision or not, only time can tell. But do not regret it whatever the outcome. Instead, learn from it and remember that you always have the chance to make better decisions in the future.

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