Try to Answer This Question Before You Make a Decision
Having to make a decision under time pressure can be very intense. What helped me focus on the important aspects of the decision was asking what problem I wanted to solve.
Making a decision — you may already dread the thought of it.
The pressure of deciding by a specific date or time and the fear of not knowing how your decision will turn out can sometimes be intense. Not having all the facts does not help calm the nerves either.
I am no different than you. I don't like making decisions under pressure, especially if I do not know my options or am not an expert in the field. But sometimes, I have no other choice, and forever procrastinating does not seem to be a sound strategy. At least not for me.
What Problem Do I Want to Solve?
What helped me become a better decision-maker is to answer the following question: What problem do I want to solve?
Sounds basic, doesn't it - perhaps trivial?
Maybe. But once I started to define the problem I was trying to solve with my decision, the question was no longer trivial. Describing a problem in detail is much harder than it first appears. Try it. You may be surprised.
What this little exercise gave me was clarity — clarity about what I didn't like about the current situation and what I wanted to improve.
Even without knowing all the facts or being an expert in the field, once I could pinpoint the problem and define my goal, I could compare my options to how well they solved my problem and how close they got me to my goal. The options that could bring me closest to my goal were a great starting point for my decision.
After practicing this method for years, have all my decisions turned out as I intended? Not all of them. But the significant decisions worked out to be right.
Even if I doubt my decision later, I try to remember what the problem was I wanted to solve and what I wanted to improve. Then I run through my options in my mind again. In most cases, I draw the same conclusions and would have made the same decision in these situations, effectively dispelling any remaining doubts.
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