Who doesn’t want to be successful, wealthy, popular, and fulfilled in our careers, in life, in our relationships? And how many times do we get frustrated because we fall short? Sometimes to be fair, decisions are made as a reaction because some things happen that are beyond our control. But at other times we make decisions that are haphazard, that are a result of instinct or emotion, and we really do not think them through. What if there is a way to make better decisions in life and business that would benefit everyone all around? What if you knew ways to make better decisions in all fields and aspects of your life?
Sometimes, the outcome of a decision is good enough, but at other times the outcome can lead to disaster and we feel frustrated, unhappy, we could suffer financial loss and worse is when we feel totally broken because these decision follow with break ups in relationships, in businesses deals and in our day-to-day communication with the best people in our lives.
Every part of our life is a relationship. We have relationships with our significant other, with our children, with our siblings, family and friends. But we also have very impactful relationships with the people that we work with, that we employ or manage.
Are we competent to make good decisions consistently? Do we really evaluate the cost of inaction when we fail to make any decision? Do we blame circumstances, bad luck or find a whole lot of other reasons when things do not go well in business and in life? Could we be making better decisions?
What if we could improve our performance in business and have a better life by learning how to make better decisions? In this article we will look at the 10 ways to make better decisions in business and life.
Related: How to Overcome Fear of Leaving Your 9 – 5
10 Ways to Make Decisions in Business and Life
1. Know Your Priorities and Your Core Values
Find out what motivates you in life and get honest with yourself by knowing what is it that you are looking for in life. Are you looking for a lifestyle that is glitzy and fun? Full of adventure? Would you like to have a nice house with a pool or a yacht and sport diamonds? Are you a social whirlwind and love the power and the attention?
Or is it more important for you to have a home with a comfortable and cozy living area, where your children grow up to the scents of baking and flowers? And you look forward to grow old with your significant other?
Both are great motivators, but both will require us to make very different decisions in the way that we choose to live our life. You could have some overlap. You may try to juggle with both. But in the end, you have to serve one God only. Choose what suits your core values and make decisions that will be true to them.
Remember that the grass is always greener on the other side of the pasture.
Either scenario is good – none of them can be faulted – there is no right or wrong – but you have to decide what your priorities are, what motivates you most in life – and decide accordingly without looking back.
One of the biggest problems that we face in life is that we always try to leave the backdoor open. When we do, the other life the other interests are always going to beckon. Remember that the grass is always greener on the other side of the pasture.
Make an irrevocable decision which side of the pasture you would like to inhabit.
Make the right choice for you!!
No 2: What is the Magnitude of the Decision? How Much will The Decision Impact Your Life?
Ask yourself a very important question before making a decision. Is this a big decision or is it a small decision? When you fully understand the value of the decision and how it is going to impact and shape your business and your life, you set about making it.
Spend the time and energy in executing your decision based on the magnitude of the decision.
Small decisions require small time and small energy. Big decisions will require more time, thought and energy. Big decisions are more difficult to reverse – so always evaluate – how much will this decision have an impact? How big is this decision? Once you determine its magnitude you can weigh out the outcome accordingly.
Can you go back on this decision? If you see that this is not working out after days, weeks or months, can you come out of this decision? If the answer is no, give it more energy and more time. And that would be a big decision. Always know what kind of decision this is going to be and act on it accordingly.
No 3: Don’t Lose Sleep Over Insignificant Decisions
This follows naturally through from getting a real perspective of the magnitude of your decision.
Sometimes, we agonize, procrastinate and fret over stuff that is totally fluff and a decision made is not really going to impact your life or that of others. Meanwhile, if you spend too much time over this, you could very well lose the wood for the trees.
Sometimes, we actually we wear out our family and friends, incessantly talking about a decision that we need to make and keep asking them for advice or what they would do in the situation.
Sometimes, we just have to make decisions quickly. That way you will end up getting a lot more done because if you end up sweating over stuff that is not worth sweating, you are only going to
- Waste time
- Frustrate yourself
- Frustrate people around you
- You will not be regarded as the “go to” person when someone needs your advice.
The problem in these situations is that you use up a lot of your energy, which leaves you totally depleted and without resources – so that when the time comes to make much bigger decisions, you are already destroyed from all the energy.
No 4: Distance Yourself from a Problem by Putting It in the Perspective of Time
This is one of my favorites. Many times, we look at a problem and feel that the earth is going to crumble from under our feet – but when we look at the same problem a year later – it really becomes pale in perspective. You may even smile at all the fuss you made about it.
When you look at a problem that feels like it is taking your breath away, always ask yourself two questions:
• How will this problem play out realistically in a day, in a week, in a month or in a year? And start shifting your perspective on it.
• Can I look at this problem from a different angle? Always think in terms of the food wrapper that says – it is 90% fat free – if you look at the wrapper from another perspective – it really means that you are looking at a product that has 10% fat.
There is always another angle from which perspective you can see a problem or an opportunity. Make note that you should look at them both in the perspective of time as well as the other angle.
No 5: Never Underestimate Risk
You cannot eliminate risk. Walking into a supermarket today is exposing you to risk due to the pandemic – but you already know that if you take the right precautions you are mitigating risk.
Entering into any decision without assessing risk is like entering into the lion’s den without having fed the lion, and without your whip. You are courting a lot of trouble.
And there is another aspect to this. Sometimes we get too comfortable with risk, and we tempt risk, thinking that no, we will not get caught out. How many times have we driven after an extra glass of wine?
How many times have we cheated on our significant other even if it’s just a flirty phone call?
Eating and drinking unhealthily?
How many times have we shoved our work on others thinking that they will not notice? We always think that we will not get caught out!
Until one day we get caught out. One day our life catches up with us. And we would not have seen it coming, simply because we underestimated the risk and got too comfortable with taking it repetitively.
One day we will have the accident. One day we will be found to have been dodging the traffic lights or the taxes – and when it happens, we realize that we had gotten too comfortable with RISK.
Risk in business is necessary, it is a given, but must always be a well calculated risk – and this plays out the same for everything else in our life. Weigh up your options properly – risk only what you can afford to lose.
Recognize Risk and Take Calculated Risk.
No 6: Trust Your Intuition and Go by Your Gut
One of best ways to make better decisions in business and life is trusting your intuition. Instincts are not part of our nature because of any coincidence or because they are random. They are there because over time, experience, and our genetic inheritance we have come to be in tune with the danger that can potentially surround our life – small or large. We always as human beings survived by gut instinct.
How many times you looked at data? You heard all the right answers but something in your gut told you that there is something that doesn’t quite play out.
I can never put a finger on this, but whenever I did not trust my inner instinct, I was always very sorry. Sometimes, we have to make decisions on the fly and without much information.
For times like this, put your gut instinct to work. Even if you have crunched all your data. If your gut instinct tells you to look for more – then look for more. This may not have any scientific reasoning behind it, but I always try to heed my gut instinct.
Therefore, if your instinct tells you to run – don’t ignore it. It is your survival instinct that is coming into place. Make sure that you listen and evaluate. If you feel uncomfortable getting into that cab, just don’t.
If a deal seems odd or off, take time to listen to your gut instinct and check it more properly. And if you get that phone call from a friend who appears to need more help than the urgency of their voice demands, bump that meeting.
Trust your instincts.
No 7. Use Facts not Fiction – Do not Get Carried away with what other people say
When we hear of a plane crashing, we tend to get a phobia of flying. The truth is that passenger deaths on an airplane are so few that the odds of dying with a plane crash cannot be even calculated as a percentage. As opposed to dying from a car accident which is one in 106. Or dying from heart disease which is one in 6.
So flying is can seem to be a bad decision when a plane has just crashed – but if you look at data – you will know that this is not a bad decision at all.
Likewise, you could be watching a video of someone who is fast talking, slick and professional and who could convince you to invest a couple of thousands so that you double your income without any risk. Your adrenaline could be running high, because you have been drawn in with a smooth operator. But if you want to make better decisions for your business and life, then run a data check.
One piece of information gives you fear, and the other gives you incredible hope and both are not correct. Therefore, look at data. Today we are living in a world where we can tap information by hitting on a button. Use technology to help you make informed decisions.
Check people and information out. Run checks of names and add “Scam” and see what rolls out. You will be surprised at how much information you will be able to collect – both positive and negative. Use Data to form your judgement – and do not rely entirely on your emotions. This is very different to relying on your intuition. Do your research properly.
The bigger the decision the more important it is to do your research. Data will help you become a lot more objective when making important decisions with your finances, your business and your life.
No 8: Always weigh up your options properly
What can you gain and also importantly what could you lose from making that decision? When you are thinking should I or shouldn’t I? Always weigh out the best case and the worst case scenario that could play out.
This is hardly rocket science but here is a tip that could really help you – instead of weighing out the worst with the best – scenario – weight out the medium with a medium outcome. Be a little pessimistic in viewing your best scenario and calculations and be a little optimistic in weighing out the worst case scenario.
Human nature, depending on your character type, tends to do the opposite. If you are a pessimistic person you will also see the dark side, and if you are an optimist, guess how you will see the glass?
So, think of the proverbial glass. How do you see it? Half full or half empty? Think that the glass could always been in the middle? Weigh out your options with some objectivity rather than with subjectivity.
Therefore, don’t get over excited or kill a great possibility at its inception. Use the median outcome. You will make the best average decision.
No. 9 – Do It Scared – Distinguish the Emotion of Fear from Intuition
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One of the most significant ways to make better decisions in life is doing it despite fear.
Fear is a highly charged and emotional feeling. We all worry about our present and future, and decisions made in the past have a huge impact on the way we conduct our business and life. Fear, however, is often an emotion that makes us anxious, and puts us in a dark place, where it is hard to make an objective decision.
Intuition as opposed to fear is not charged with emotion. Intuition is based on knowledge, even if we are not sure how we have this knowledge.
Fear and nerves can really hold us back. Our limiting beliefs feast on our fears. How many times did you fail to pitch at someone, when you knew that they were hoping you might? Fear of rejection or thinking that you might be wasting their time or that you will be ridiculed can really be limiting.
How often did you fail to make that phone call, which would mean that the outcome of your results would be different if you had made it? Some people are naturally pushy, and therefore they have a natural antidote to fear and rejection – but in most cases, we all have a degree of fear – that we will be judged, we will be ridiculed, that we will be discussed, or we may be downright turned down.
But what if we think… different? What if that call, that reach out actually was worth it for both ends, what if it actually made an impact?
Sometimes, it is fine to DO IT SCARED. Because getting outside your comfort zone may well mean that you do not pass up on opportunities.
Nevertheless, fear can be real. Therefore, to overcome your fears and your limiting beliefs and stop them becoming a stumbling block in making the best decisions for your business and life, always make a list of the things that scare you. Read the list over and see whether this is realistic, whether your fears are healthy and discuss them with someone who is objective.
NO 10: Don’t Get Over Excited Either
Like fear – Excitement too can take you down the wrong path for different reasons but can be equally damaging. In order to make balanced decisions you need to evaluate properly which side of the polarity you are usually at.
I know for a fact that I stand high on the optimistic side of bar – and that I have to control my excitement and enthusiasm before I dive head long into a business deal. Or inviting people for a big spread at home for that matter.
Both give me a high, but more often than not, before the end of a session I end up questioning my own judgement and excitement. I know that in my head, most things are not a big deal. Stuff that for many other people are a massive deal can look simple and easy for someone who is enthusiastic and optimistic. But every decision eats up some of your energy. Therefore, verging on the middle of the axis, between being a pessimist and living in fear, and being an optimist and biting off more than you can chew – there is possibly always the better option for making sensible decisions.
When you feel over-confident, or over optimistic or over excited about something, it is like being drunk and seeing things from perspective of a tinted lilac.
Like fear, when you know that it is there, you can deal with it and you take it down a couple of notches. Sometimes, even when it comes to posting a passing thought on social media, should have us looking at what we are going to post twice. Unless it is an intentional statement, which you want to have feedback on, weigh up the reactions you may get before you instinctively post.
Know when to cut your losses – and embrace the fact that you have made a bad decision.
No one is unique and we have all made bad decisions. Carrying through our bad decisions can have an impact on our mind, our health and that of our loved ones to. Whether it is a toxic relationship, toxic deals, or workmates that you finally need to draw the line on…. You have to remember…. We all carry the weight of our decisions…. But we also have the option to shed the weight – if it gets too heavy.
Learning how to think and becoming confident with our decision making is essential to a better outcome from our decisions.
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About the Author: Marie Ella is a finance major and entrepreneur who has built several 7 figure businesses. A Business Coach who specializes in helping women get a strategy from chaos and build their own financial freedom.