“I just don’t know what to do. What if I choose the wrong thing? I just wish God would help me make a decision, or just tell me what to do!” We have all been there. Each one of us has faced decision-making where there is a choice or sometimes, even multiple choices available to confuse us. ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ ‘Should I accept this job or should I stay put?’ ‘Is this a good time to invest money?’ ‘Where should I invest?’ ‘Is this a good career or line of work?’
Perhaps you are here because you are facing a decision about a family member. Or perhaps, you have to take a bold step of faith. The list is endless but the fact remains: we are all expected to make decisions sometimes, decisions that affect our peace, shake us, and even upset us to the point that we are spending sleepless nights. So are there any easy ways to make decisions that can ease the process? Is there a golden rule or mantra that can take away the stress, the dilemma, and the confusion that comes while making a life-altering decision?
Experts recommend the following steps:
1. Identify the problem
The very fact that we are asked to choose or make a decision often means that there is a problem. Identifying the problem can help you weigh your options better. There may be a problem in both or all the choices that you have. Making a list of the problems in each choice can sometimes help you decide faster. Remember: it may not even be a problem; it just might be a symptom of a problem. You must understand that problem identification can be subjective. You may even compare your situation with someone else’s similar situation or a standard. Sometimes, this can actually help you decide.
For example, the decision to travel to another country for work can be a difficult one to make. But if there are others who have taken this decision and are thriving in that country, then there is no reason why you wouldn’t accept that job, especially if it is a country that will give you a better quality of life. Making a decision, in this case, should be easier once you have compared the situation with a standard. In this example, you may want to leave emotions out of the decision. The heart and head will differ here so you must carefully weigh your feelings properly before taking the decision. It is a good idea to know yourself too. Are you a practical person? Or do emotions matter to you? Once you know who you are, you can decide faster and make healthier choices.
2. Examine the criteria relevant to sorting that problem
Taking the example of a job change, you can certainly take decision much faster once you weigh all the criteria of certain decisions:
- Job environment
- Job security
- Quality of life
You can now allocate ‘weights’ or pluses and minuses to these areas; for example, salary maybe +5, the location may be -4 and so on. These weights indicate the importance of each criterion to you. When you make lists for each of these criteria and the choices available to you, it can help you make a decision much faster. Here is an example of how it works:
SHOULD I QUIT MY JOB AND TAKE ANOTHER ONE?
|Salary +5||Location/more commute -4|
|Opportunities +3||More workload -3|
|Incentives +4||Less family time -3|
|Job security +3||Weekend work -3|
Total Pluses +15
Total Minuses -13
Totaling the pluses and minuses gives you +2 which means it is a pretty good decision.
3. Surrender to a higher power
Whether or not you believe in God, sometimes, simply taking a decision and surrendering to the Divine powers can bring about positive outcomes. Michael Singer, in his book, The Surrender Experiment, talks about doing just that. He believes that sometimes, life just tells you what to do and all you need to do is surrender. And when you do that, decision-making becomes a lot easier. Likewise, author Karen Jensen Salisbury, in her book on How to Make the Right Decision Every Time, believes that God or a Higher Power has a plan and when we see that plan before each of our decision-making, then life becomes a lot easier.
4. Stay mindful
When faced with decision-making, one can get stressed and anxious and that can sometimes lead to saying the wrong things or taking impulsive actions. Instead, by relaxing, surrendering, and letting go, our inner wisdom can guide us. So take a deep breath and relax in the knowledge that all will be well. Stay mindful in the present moment and know that this moment is complete. Then our intuition can guide us.
5. Know that no decision is also a decision
Sometimes, not making a decision quickly is also a decision. Because time often tells you the answers and helps you decide. Ask yourself: Do I need to make a decision now? And then ask yourself, ‘what will happen if I do not make a decision’? More often than not, nothing terrible will happen if you do not decide immediately. Default is also the best decision. It does not mean you do NOTHING, but it gives you some time and even helps you find that things get resolved soon. However, some decisions are time-based. In such cases, you must set a deadline. This way, you can avoid procrastination in decision making. In the meantime, meditate, weigh your pros and cons, talk to people, read some motivational books, pray, and focus on learning. This can give you much-needed clarity.
Meditation calms the mind and enables you to see things from a different perspective. Spend some time meditating twice a day and ask for clarity and purpose prior to meditating. Many issues can be solved with regular meditation.
7. Talk to people
Speak to a mentor; someone you trust. Explain your situation. No one can decide for you, but they can always give you valuable insights. Speaking to someone who has been in your position before can greatly help as you can learn from their experiences. You might also get to see another viewpoint.
8. Understand that this is an ever-changing world
We all have to face decision-making from time to time in this ever-changing world. The key is to adapt quickly. Sometimes, you may not have adequate time and might have to decide right away. In such cases, just trust your intuition. However, that does not mean that you should not do your ground-work; you must at least separate the myths from the facts. Do not be impulsive; seek advice or counsel if needed. Be rational but trust the Higher Powers.
9. Think about the long-term effects of the decision
Some decisions can impact you for life. If the long-term effects of the decision are positive, then you may want to focus on those effects. The short-term effects might be stressful but when you keep your eyes on the prize, take one step at a time, and live from one moment to the next, then you are definitely going to reap the benefits.
10. Stay positive
The law of attraction states that like attracts like. When you keep your thoughts positive, you will be in a better position to attract the best that life has in store for you. So no matter what decision you make, you must stick to it and must keep faith that you have will get all the guidance you need, right from the inside. Knowing this will give you the strength you need to get up and get going. Good luck!