My Go-To for Making Big Decisions
The tool that has helped the most at crossroads in life
This week I have shared with you some of the knowledge I’ve gained on the topic of decision making.
It is an important theme, and one that I have said before, is one of the most important skills we as human beings can learn. Especially this day-in-age. I think it’s something that needs to be emphasized in schools in a very different way than it is now.
I didn’t come easily to the knowledge of effective decision making. I used the affirmation of others to guide my decisions for so long, and even when I felt I knew what decision I wanted to make, I couldn’t make it without asking several people and hoping for them to confirm my choice. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t make the decision I had thought was best. I went with what the majority of people told me. Or what the last person I talked to told me. And, I was left in the internal turmoil that ensues when one knows what one wants to do, but doesn’t do it. Or, that comes when we make decisions for others instead of ourselves.
I am still learning. But, I am more confident in my abilities now than I was previous to my work in therapy. I know now that decision making is a skill we learn, and not a natural, innate ability.
Learning the skill has improved my quality of life soooo much.
The reality is, when we learn this skill, we empower ourselves to live lives in which we feel fully alive.
Why? Because we are aware of the why behind our decisions. We are actually the author of our decisions, and we can make ones that support us living the way we really want to live.
I enjoy myself, my life and my circumstances so much more than I did before building this skill. I can feel calm as I move forward in life, knowing I processed the information necessary to make the best decision I could in the moment, and where I am standing now is a result of my own previous decisions about where I wanted to be in life.
The tool I am going to share with you today has been one of the most impactful ones during important moments of my life.
That tool is a weighted pros-and-cons list.
I used this recently when choosing a new phone to purchase here in Spain after not having bought a new one in more than five years! I also made one when processing the decision to move to Spain last fall.
So, what is a weighted pro-and-con list and how does it work?
Well, first, as you might infer, one lists the pros and cons of choosing one route. And, the pros and cons of choosing another.
The weighted part comes into play when we think about the quantity of items on each side of the list. Some might say, well if one has more pros than cons, then that’s the decision you should make.
Well first of all there is no should. I hate the word should. You make the decision you feel lines up best with you, your desires and goals, your gut. Not the one you think you should.
But, I digress. (I’m very passionate about this hating the word should thing).
The point is, the quantity of pros vs cons isn’t ‘the decision maker.’
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