Trusting Your Gut - Decision Making For Forward Progress.

[drop_cap]So many of us have trouble making decisions.  Yet it is one of the most important things we can do.[/drop_cap] The ability to make decisions can be the difference between winning and losing.

We know this and we all want to have the power to be able to make split second decisions, yet we often face barriers or road blocks.

Or do we?

Are these 'barriers' real?  Or self imposed?

I am a huge believer that we all know mostly what is right and wrong.  It's the implementation that we struggle with.  Take for example your work schedule.

  • You know you need to get some work done...yet you choose to stay on social media for just a couple more minutes (which turns into at least 30)

It's not a matter of knowing....it's a matter of doing.

Consequently, the deeper question is, how can we analyse the information we have available to us quicker to achieve our desired outcome?

We need to use heuristics.

[drop_cap]Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decisions.[/drop_cap]

Or in English, it means going off your gut, using an educated guess, profiling or using common sense.  All of these are useful to achieve an immediate outcome.

And yes, not all decisions you make will be correct, which is why I used the word 'immediate', not correct.  But hesitation is the thief of opportunity.  And those who wait, lose.

I see so many people paralyzed by decisions.  Looking at a menu in a restaurant and not knowing what to order.  Worrying whether to quit their job and start a new career?  Deciding if they want a new car or not...

Yet what we need to realise is 99.9% of the time, the decision has been made.  Beyond that is when you're trying to convince yourself that it's right or get others to convince you it is.

[drop_cap]Take the below examples of signs you're delaying and need to trust your gut:[/drop_cap]

  1. You're Polling People
    1. We ask our significant other, our best friend, our sister, our parents, our work mates and everyone else that we encounter.  If you're at this stage.....stop polling, you have all in information you need, and these people are generally grossly under qualified to make any sort of judgement on your situation.  It's time to make the call.
  2. You Keep Delaying.  Telling yourself next week, next month, next year.
    1. A decision takes a split second.  You know the decision is already made.  It's going to happen whether you like it or not.  It's just a matter of time, and a matter of how you can make it happen (i.e: finances or other external factors).

[drop_cap]So now let's go through some things to help you make those decisions quicker.[/drop_cap]

To do this, we actually need to become faster at thinking analytically and use our brain for what it is designed for, whilst also being aware of our confirmation bias (more on this later).

The majority of society, operates in a realm where they don't need to use their brain.

They get up in the morning, often pressing snooze several times until the very last minute.  They then eat the same breakfast as always (generally high sugar cereal or toast), head to work on the train or in the car (remember, they haven't used their brain at all up until this point), they sit at their desk, perform their tasks, which are handed to them by their boss aka caretaker.  Next up, they take their 30 minutes for lunch (and not a second less), before finishing up, taking the train home and watching TV for 4-6 before crashing in bed.

tv

 

....and repeat.

Each week magically money shows up in their bank account regardless of their output it seems.  But happiness levels stay dangerously low.  Along with fulfillment and purpose.

But hey....at least it's safe...right?  (*bzzz* wrong  but that's a story for another day).

But you're not like that.  You have the ability to think for yourself and I want to teach you how.

The key to making decisions, objectively looking at the problem and performing a critical self appraisal.

[drop_cap]Let's take an example of changing careers into a totally new industry. [/drop_cap]

  1. Is the new job going to provide you more of what you want? (money/freedom/less commute/better title?)
  2. Are there genuinely others that need to be consulted? (significant other/children)  Will they support you?
  3. Do you have any experience in said field?
  4. Are you a quick learner and would their be mentor-ship/guidance provided?  Or is it expected you will know a lot of the information?
  5. Are you confident you can make the transition?
  6. Who else has done the same? Can you speak with them? Email them.  Find their phone number.  Ask them what you need to ask.  This method is so much more effective than asking family/friends...who often will just tell you what you want to hear.
  7. Does it feel right?

[drop_cap]Lastly, I need to make special mention to something called Confirmation Bias.[/drop_cap]  Basically this is our brains telling us what we want to hear based on previous information we know or experiences we have had, instead of reality.  It's that voice that voice saying: "Yes go for it, you need that new car" yet deep down, we know we can't afford it, or the voice saying: "Time for a change...I'm quitting my 9-5 to become a life coach", yet you have no experience in this field and have never coached before.

If you think you're having confirmation bias, it is a good idea to revisit the above questions and really think about it, followed by dissecting what it is you really want.

In the above examples a new car could mean you just want to get noticed by others, and the career change could just mean you need to take on new responsibilities in your current role or build something of your own....

The answers our out there. But like anything it takes work.  The work of using your brain.  Which I hope the above article has helped invoke within you.

Embrace the power of thought, and be grateful that we have this amazing ability.

This is what makes us human.

Do you agree? Or Disagree?

I am open for all discussions and invite you to participate in the below comments section.

Ciao, Hayden