Feeling fairly comfortable about one’s decision is an indicator of your faith in the decision
Decision-making is literally defined as “the act or process of deciding something” or “the process of making (important) choices”. The ability to decide and choose wisely and rightly is often a matter of how the problem was posed. Though we try to be as logical as possible in taking a decision, it sometimes happens that we end up making an illogical choice. So, it is imperative to understand and differentiate between a good and a bad decision.
The sad truth is that people, even at the highest level, simply do not like to make good choices, as every decision involves a certain amount of risk. It is pertinent to keep in mind that a decision-making process means repeatedly proving your ability. So, have a clear understanding of your individual decision-making style. Keep in mind, when it comes to decisions, the best one can do is hope to make more good decisions than bad ones. And it is equally true that nobody is good at taking all types of decisions. It is rightly said that “Life presents many choices, the choices we make determine our future” (Catherine Pulsifer).
The manner in which an individual takes or arrives at a decision depends to an extent on his or her inherent nature. The eagerness of a person with an impatient nature would often lead him to jump into a quick decision. Similarly, a person with a high degree of emotions tends to decide quickly on whatever feels good. People who care for others and do not want to hurt or disturb them would take a long time to decide. Moreover, there are people who would like to have all kinds of information before they come to a conclusion.
After assessing your decision-making style, find someone with an opposite style with whom you can establish a system of checks and balances. Also, do not forget to analyze the impact of your decision beforehand, something which people fail to do. One needs to assess the impact not only on the bases of money and resources but also on what happens if that particular decision is not taken. In doing so, it would be important to maintain your objectivity. “We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves” (Thomas Merton).
While gathering and evaluating information, people fail to realize how biased they are. To make better decisions, it needs to be understood fully how biases may be tampering with logic. If you are under a high level of stress, it may cause you to search randomly, rather than systematically, to support your choices. During stress, you are more likely to have a bias toward the first idea you hear about, without carefully exploring others. In the process, you may overlook or minimize the possible problems, and you may end up making a decision you will regret.
Similarly, a heavy emotional leaning, though not a sign of poor judgment, is a signal that you should at least be cautious. In your emotional excitement, you may be simply overlooking the finer points of the other alternative available. Of course, you must listen to your emotions. But be aware as they may also lead you astray or away from a logical choice.
Fear, anger, envy and elation are other aspects that can cause you to lose your better judgment and lead to counterproductive decisions. The self-deception of wishful thinking can also cause erroneous judgments. It is because you want something to be true and hence you distort the evidence in its favor. Likewise, decisions based on automatic assumptions tend to be poor ones. Therefore, it becomes imperative, in such circumstances, to look carefully into the reasoning behind your choices.
Another equally important suggestion for decision-makers is one should not opt for a decision that will solve an immediate problem at the expense of a bigger one. That is, while making a decision, one should not tend to think only of decisions that serve a single goal and, in the process, forget about other goals and the fact that you may be subverting them. Try to analyse and frequently predict how long will it take for certain work to be completed. It will enable you to factor more realistic time predictions into the decision-making process in the future. In your enthusiasm of presenting yourself as a swift person, never shave days, weeks, or months off an accurate prediction.
Lastly, sometimes, it would be better to run the pros and cons past several trustworthy people who are familiar with your concerns and personality, before you even think of making a decision.
It has been observed that some people rely heavily on intuition while taking a decision and even ignore reasoned advice. Such intuitive judgments are often better sources of decisions than logical analysis, but such a decision can also be much less reliable. It has to be kept in mind that your intuition would not always hit the nail on its head, but logical analysis can always do it. So, it would be more suitable and feasible to combine the two. Establishing guidelines for your intuitions would help in this regard
Next, examine if there is any hidden factor behind your motivation or intuition that you would not like to admit. Misinformation, misperceptions, and biases on the part of the decision-maker are among the causes of bad decisions. So, fight the urge to ignore the facts. If you find yourself not even wanting to be bothered by all the facts before arriving at a decision, probably you are jumping into regrettable decisions at the expense of reasoning. It would be always advisable to spend some time asking for facts and examining them before deciding. Find out who are the people who will suffer consequences in case the decision turns out to be bad. If it is others, then it is better to rethink your intuition-based decision.
Lack of confidence is another important reason that causes people to make bad decisions. It is natural that an ambivalent or cognitive conflict arises when we start to decide about something. Hence, it would be advisable to check the effectiveness of your decisions. One of the ways to do so is by pretending that you are giving advice to someone else who is making the decision.
Since every decision involves a risk, it is necessary to minimise it by trying to make sure the information on which you are basing it on is good information. Make sure whatever specific information you have makes sense. Do not take anything for granted or think it to be accurate without checking it out yourself. While explaining your decision to a patient listener, if you experience a lot of discomforts, probably you are less sure of your decision. Therefore, it would not be incorrect to say that decision-making is not easy, but feeling fairly comfortable about one’s decision is an indicator of your faith in the decision.
Bottomline: Everyone makes mistakes. In fact, to err is human. So, do not be afraid to make mistakes. They teach you much more than success does. What is important, however, is to learn from the mistakes of the past and not to mindlessly repeat them.
Rehana Imtiyaz Wani is a BA 6th semester student at Govt Degree College Sogam (Lolab), Kupwara. Feedback at [email protected]