How To Make
A Decision

What's involved?

When you ask a question about how to make a decision, there are two things you need to consider. You, and your decision making process.

If you need to do a particular job, it's best to use the right tool for the job.

But if the tool is not in very good shape, it may not work particularly well. A blunt scissors, for example, won't perform as well as a sharp one.

Similarly, it's important that YOU are in good form before you get to the actual decision making part.

How does this relate to how to make a decision?

If you're having a bad time and things are not going well, it makes sense not to make important decisions during this time. Chances are they may not work out so well either!

So when people use phrases such as

  • weighed down
  • feeling down
  • the weight of the world on his shoulders
  • cramped
  • confined

this is their bodies way of telling them they are not working as well as they could... and it's probably not a good idea to be making decisions at such moments.

Of course, there will be times when you absolutely have to make decisions when you are stressed or under pressure. A useful trick here to minimize such occurrences is to make decisions ahead of time, that is, before you 'have to'.

For example, if you plan to buy an expensive item, you might decide, before you go to the shop or store, what the maximum you're prepared to pay, rather than being pressured into paying more at the last minute by a slick salesman. Or you decide before a negotiation what you want and what you are prepared to concede, rather than going along and hoping for the best.

In this way you can make decisions when you are relaxed, calm and without pressure.

The 'YOU' part

When someone is in a good mood they often describe themselves as

  • feeling light
  • walking tall
  • walking with their head held high
  • they have a glide in their stride
  • moving gracefully

Have you ever considered where these phrases come from? They are actually descriptions of the awareness people have of their physical bodies at different times.

Phrases such as

  • Shake it off
  • Sleep on it
  • Let's step away from it for a moment
  • Have a breather

are used when we want to distance ourselves, or think differently about, some issue. We inherently know that moving our body in different ways gives us different ways of thinking.

This also explains why it's often when someone leaves their desk to get a coffee that they are suddenly inspired in that they realize the answer to a problem or understand which choice to make.

There are also other more subtle internal signals that let us know how to make good decisions and you can learn about your own personal signals here...

On a similar note, knowing what your own personal values are also allows you to be able to make faster decisions.


Children and teens

Special consideration has to be given to children and teens in decision making because it takes time for the brain to develop and there are many factors that influence adolescents in their decision making.

A rough guideline...

The general guideline then is:

Good mood = good decisions,

Bad mood = bad decisions.

I am taking 'bad mood' to include times of pressure, stress and time constraints, and I am not saying that all decisions made in such circumstances are bad decisions. Instead, it's more likely that we will make poorer decisions or decisions that are wrong when we are in a 'bad mood'.

And, of course, some people prefer to make decisions under pressure, they claim that they are more effective this way!!

So... how to make a decision

Ok, so you are in a good frame of mind, your body is relaxed, posture good, you are not under any stress or pressure, what's next in terms of how to make a decision...?

Like this page?

Tips for dealing with psychopaths and narcissists

Fortnightly newsletter with practical tips and ideas
Learn more...
'7 Vital Do's and Don'ts of Decision Making' when you subscribe!