I got to talking about decisiveness the other day. I watched someone who generally does make good decisions being tortured by indecisiveness. Weighing up pros and cons, reaching a conclusion and then acting on it can, for some people, be an intensely painful experience. And it can defy logic – we’re all familiar with trying to help someone make their mind up only for them to choose what you think is completely the wrong thing despite the evidence.
So what goes into making a decision and how might one be guided to making the right one? Here’s how it works:
1. Choice has two paths: do something or do nothing. Each of these is an active decision with varying degrees of impulsiveness with an outcome which will be either positive or negative.
2. Impulse is our on-board decision-making engine and its accuracy is determined by the amount of experience it has to draw upon. Rely on it and you’ll get more positive outcomes than not.
3. Both impulsive and considered decisions are governed by varying amounts of desire and experience.
4. Desire and experience can easily get out of balance turning a good decision bad: too much desire & not enough experience = greed, ramifications, selfishness. Too much experience & not enough desire = caution, deliberation, risk, regret.
This can be expressed in a formula for decision-making that looks like this:
q = ((c-e)xj) x (BS+BO) / o
where q = quality of the decision, c = cost, e = effort, j = joy, BS = benefit to self, BO = benefit to others and o = outcome.
Use this easy formula each time you feel a bout of indecisiveness coming on and you’ll be right every time! To get you started, put it to the test on the important decisions that confront you as you travel through your daily routine:
- Getting dressed: Y-fronts or boxers?
- Sausage rolls: Wenzels or Greggs?
- Exercise: Go for a run or watch telly and drink beer?
- Music: Beyonce or Jessie J?
- Technology: Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy?
- Politics: Nigel Farrage or David Cameron?
I look forward to hearing from those of you who have turned their lives around (and those of others) with this simple idea.