Estimated reading time: 2 mins
We make many thousand decisions, every day. What to have for breakfast; what shoes to wear.. And then we have the big decisions to make: which supplier should I award that contract? Which candidate should I hire?
It’s the Big Decisions that have the big impact (on cost, performance, safety, career prospects, etc…) – they can change lives and the course of history. We all face the Big Decisions at some points in our lives. And it’s typical for us decision-makers to be really anxious. I know I am, under these circumstances. What about you?
Well it’s probably no secret that a clouded, stressed-out mind can make bad decisions. You’ve probably done that yourself. The stress of the situation – knowing the consequences of a bad decision – can itself lead to the bad decision.
A self-fulfilling prophecy? Perhaps – certainly a sub-optimal situation.
It’s not that we necessarily make bad judgments like this – it’s more that we don’t process information in the same way as we would under calmer conditions. When we have a brain that is racing, busy, and distracted, it’s hard to think straight and concentrate, right? Decisions, when made like this, might turn out to be out of character. We are probably over-thinking the decision – to the point of it being self-defeating.
vs. Clear Minds
As Wayne T. Jackson says, ‘Clear the mind, cleanse the psyche of troubled thoughts.’
Clear minds are focused, and unencumbered by useless data, and unhelpful thoughts. Better decisions come out of a clear mind because the weightings we give to competing factors are properly, and fairly, balanced.
But it ain’t easy to manifest a Clear Mind, right?
Maybe not, without a few tricks. An untrained mind will likely go in circles. I refer to it as ‘Spinning the Wheels’ sometimes.
There is hope, and easy accessible help. For example, this post on forbes.com ‘Decision-Making Anxiety Wearing You Down? 13 Tips For A Clear Mind‘ shares some excellent tips and strategies for bringing peace to the inner mind. What’s great about this post, and why I recommend it, is that the tips come from a panel of seasoned executives, each experts in their own field. My favorite is ‘Know your values’ – and I couldn’t emphasize this enough – that whenever we are given a decision to make (and the accountability for it) it really MUST be made in accordance with our personal values, or, it will be one we dwell upon and regret for long after.
Another great post here on entrepreneur.com – ‘8 Ways to Clear Your Mind of Stress‘ focuses more on the stress of a situation, and its remedy. I would say that stress is generally the most critical factor in making bad decisions – not bad data. My favorite from this one is the tip way up top – talk to a friend. I do this. I use this strategy not to abdicate the decision, or even expect my friend to agree with it, but I find the process of articulating the options and the rationale for my decision cathartic in the process.
I hope these help you in making Great Decisions!