Isn’t it crazy that you can literally take your life off in any direction you want from right now? Do you want to be a famous author? You can do it. Do you want to be an athlete? You can do that. You want to secure a high-paying job and travel the world? The opportunities are there.
The fact is, we live in an age where anything is possible; but it all comes down to the decisions you’re making. So how do you make the right decisions? Anyone who’s ever set an alarm with the plan to wake up early and ended up hitting snooze and going back to sleep knows how hard making the right choice can be. Today we’re going to explore how you can start making the right ones – every single day of your life.
Accept the Choices Wholly and Completely
When it comes to either big or small choices, you need to make sure you’re looking at the actual choice you’re making. A big choice is usually broken down into lots of little choices. For example, getting a high-paying job might mean going back to college, but which college, what will you be studying and how much will it cost?
Whereas this started as a big decision, this has now been broken down into smaller, more impactful choices. Identify the choices you need to make and you can focus more clearly on making the right ones.
Look at Problems from a Different Perspective
When making decisions you’re going to encounter problems along the way. Unfortunately, life isn’t just a plain-sailing adventure. However, instead of seeing problems as negative obstacles, try to re-frame them in your mind and see them from a different perspective.
Sometimes bad problems now can actually be good things in the long-term. Being able to see the positive side in things can be a great way to help you make the right choices. For example, taking out thousands of dollars in loans for a college course can be beneficial and problematic. It depends on how you reflect on the ROI (return on investment).
Consider All Your Options
When making a wise choice the chances are you’re not just subject to one option, but rather plenty of options. Going back to the college example, you have lots of choices such as what colleges you could apply to, how much the courses are going to cost, how much you’re willing to pay and what subjects you’re actually going to be studying.
Someone who makes wise choices is someone who considers all their options and then makes the clearest decision with the most information available. If you go with the first option that presents itself, you’ll end up selling yourself short.
Overcoming the Sunk-Cost Bias
The sunk-cost bias is the mindset of not wanting to give something up because you’ve already invested so much time, energy and resources into it. It would make us feel like er wasted our time if we were to give up on it. However, continuing to invest time and energy into something you don’t want to do or isn’t beneficial for you is a bad decision.
For example, if you’re at college and you’ve invested two years of your life into it but you realize the course isn’t for you and it isn’t something you want to be doing, you might make the excuse that it’s not worth the hassle to drop out. This will leave you stuck where you are and the negative effects of staying would then become more prevalent in your life. If you know, deep down, something isn’t right, remember you don’t need to stick with it.
Consider the Outcomes of Your Choices
When you have your favorite and preferred options in mind, the trick here is to try and predict the outcome of the decisions you’re making as accurately as possible, therefore helping you to determine which path you should be taking.
With the college example – are you going to take up a weekend or evening class instead? What will this do to your social life or the other commitments you have in your life? How will this affect your stress levels and your finances? By considering these outcomes you can further break down your options, leaving you with the decisions that are best for you.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
When you’re making any kind of decision, you’re going to feel an emotion towards it. It’s important to acknowledge and label these emotions so you’re clear with what they are and how you feel about the decision. Emotions are, after all, a physical reflection of what you’re thinking.
Also be mindful of these emotions and how they can make you respond. If you’re really excited about making a decision, this could leave you overestimating the chances that everything is going to work out. Try to be as grounded and as realistic as possible.
Using Pros and Cons Lists to Make the Wisest Decision
With the entire decision-making process we’ve spoken about above, you should have a list (even if it’s a mental list) of pros and cons relating to each decision you’re making. If the pros far outweigh the cons, then you know what decision is going to be right for you.
Stick to your guns with the decision you’ve made and see it through to the end. You’ve made these decisions based on logical and comprehensive thinking, so there’s no reason you should be going back on it.