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How to make good decisions

First we must have a firm and even floor where to begin to build the structure; we have to know what is a priority in our life.

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Where to go? What if I lose a lot? What if I'm diving headfirst off the cliff? We know that life is made up of making decisions, which are not generally a problem, but what about when you face the trade-offs that you know will have a profound impact for better or for worse?

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Both in business and for life in general, decision-making can sometimes be something very complex, and for that reason we should train ourselves for it, have a structure that facilitates the way and therefore we will try to approach one in this Article.

Before

First we must have a firm and even floor where to begin to build the structure; we have to know what is a priority in our life.

Exercise: Write down on a sheet the five most important things in your life from highest to lowest, and while you are building your decision tree you will have to take this as an axis, ask yourself how that decision will affect those five things. If that decision favors your priorities, you will be making the right decision and if not, you will be making the wrong decision.

During

Tip: Before starting, take a notebook and a pen to leave the structure captured, since having it on paper will let us unravel the possibilities and not create a mental maze that does not allow us to advance, you can try Miro's tool, which is excellent for this .

1. Detect sincerely and clearly what is the background situation on which we are going to decide, since generally when it is difficult for us to decide on something, that decision will have to be accompanied by many other micro decisions with many variables at stake simultaneously and easily We could lose ourselves, choose the underlying problem wrong, make micro decisions that contradict each other and make the situation more complex, therefore all our actions must be aligned to the resolution of the same situation, and for this we must be completely clear about what it is. that situation on which we have to decide.

2. Since you have completely defined the situation, you have to do different scenarios, you can brainstorm ideas with possible solutions, get creative, do not limit yourself, sometimes from ideas that might sound crazy at the beginning, a new viable possibility that you did not have could be structured contemplated.

Now think about the possible consequences of each possible solution.

Tip: Not making a decision is worse than making a bad decision.

3. Review the specific data. This part will allow us to remove the feelings and emotions in this regard, and see which of the possibilities that we have thought in the previous section are really viable and discard those that are not.

You can make a Cost-Benefit matrix of this style:

  • Few benefits - High cost
  • Few benefits - Low cost
  • Many benefits - High cost
  • Many benefits - Low cost

Sort the possible solutions and initially discard the low-benefit scenarios to give way to a more in-depth analysis of the scenarios with the highest benefits, remember to investigate all the relevant information in this regard.

Tip: Simplify, of all the options you think about take only three or four that are the most viable

4. Review feelings about it. Not everything is numbers and statistics, obviously having a concrete overview of the situation would give us the best possible mathematical or statistical result, however, if the possible result does not make us happy or does not give us peace of mind, then it is not a good decision .

And in that sense it is important to know that an excess of complacency with what we already have will impede our progress, but if we do not learn to accept what there is, we will never find calm.

  • Remember that the decision must be aligned with your values
  • If you require it, receive feedback but do not let anyone make the decision for you

Tip: Balance. Try not to make decisions under altered states, that is, when sitting down to think about possible solutions, try not to be angry, or extremely happy, or under the influence of any type of substance, or hungry, tired, or desperate . The calmer you can be, the better and more options you can visualize.

Remember: Not making a decision is worse than making a bad decision / Image: Javier Allegue Barros via Unsplash

5. Make the decision

  • The quality of the decisions will depend on the quality of the proposals that we have developed in the previous steps.
  • Once the decision is made, do not hesitate, that now it will be the turn to make a plan to carry it out, and that is for another article.

Tip: Assume that making one or the other decision will not be liked by someone.

After

Errors will happen even when making good decisions, it is inevitable and natural, do not punish yourself, just be flexible, adapt along the way and continue moving forward, if you developed your decision structure well, your mistakes will be less expensive in all terms, just try not make the same mistakes as the past.

If in time you realize that you made the wrong decision, run away, jump, leave! It does not matter who you disturb in the process, the years go by quickly and they do not return.

Remember that the path is more important than the goal, if you do not enjoy the path the goal will not be worth it.

And finally, I share a couple of excerpts from the book: "Don Juan's teachings" by Carlos Castaneda that perhaps can give you the ultimate tool for making a good decision.

… You must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; If you feel that you should not follow it, you should not continue on it under any conditions.

… Ask yourself: does this path have a heart? If you have, the road is good; if not, it is useless. Neither path leads anywhere, but one has a heart and the other doesn't. One makes the journey joyful; as long as you follow him, you are one with him. The other one will make you curse your life. One makes you strong, the other makes you weak.

… A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard just to take it. On the other hand, a path with a heart is easy: it does not make you work to take pleasure in it.