There is always a lot of discussion around decision making and being decisive at the right time and also conversely not being too impulsive. This can seem to be a very complex subject in it self. Everyone of us is faced with varying levels of decision making each and everyday; some are relatively simple to make and others require a deeper level of involvement. It is thought that we find the decisions that are non financial to be easier than the money based ones. Could this statement be true or is this just an illusive phenomenon.
Well, I am usually one to say that solution based decisions come easier to me than those which seem to be more emotionally linked to non tangibles. Such as, driving or walking to the shops for a pint of milk.. As opposed to which house you are going to buy and be happy in. Is there a connection to the financial gravity of the outcome and the speed that a decision is taken in? Financially heavy-weight questions, that have a clear connection to wealth and quantifiable gain can have a tendency to get deferred to a later time, as though they are going to magically disappear or get resolved themselves! Hmmm… In the world of NLP ( Neuro Linguistic Programming) this kind of deferring is known as ‘Non confrontal’s ‘. This is when a person could start creating reasons to warrant not making a clear choice or to take any kind of action to resolve the challenge at hand! In these cases it is consciously deemed by the decision maker to be easier to ‘face the consequences’ than to resolve the issue or problem. For example, when we find ourselves not paying that overdue ‘red bill’ and even refraining from just calling to face the creditor to discuss the reality. Even though they know the outcome of not making a SIMPLE call, can result in them loosing, doing without or even possibly being disconnected from a service and dealing with hardships post not taking action. This feeling of confrontal is usually attached to some kind of pain (physical or emotional) that is understood to be more painful than the possible outcome at that time.
In the early 1930’s an American Polish psychologist, by the name of Alfred Kourzipski wrote a genius book which was titled ‘Science and Sanity’ in which he explained that we, as Human Beings, Are ‘Meaning Making Machines.’. He goes on to explain, that we all make meaning of everything that we do and understand in our lives. Could this mean that we only take action if we have the right meaning attached to the outcome? This is definitely a possibility; as when I look back at my own progressive and subjectively successful life, i can clearly remember decisions that were attached to an emotional meaning were accomplished. Such as the first time I drove into the grounds of my current home whilst attending an insurance medical appointment. As soon as I saw the jaw dropping estate, I started to imagine my Hard working parents, wife and kids living there and enjoying the place. This meaning was the main driver that kept focused during the long wait of 7 long years before the Vendor was ready to sell.
What about those that do take action, but drift off to another project to avoid completion (possible failure). Is this due to their fear of the possible failure? Or have they just made the wrong meaning? This is more than likely a mixture of both the ascribed meaning and Fear. The Fear or pain of not taking the decision is enough motivation to Create movement ‘Away’ from the issue, hence the action; but the meaning that was given to the decision was not really validated so the volition was poor. Thus leaving them with a lack of ‘toward motivation’ to keep them interested long enough. There are more psychometric realisations to be made in these kinds of cases, in order to identify the natural tendencies of each of our learning patterns. We can identify our preferred learning system, wether it is auditory, visual, kinaesthetic or gustatory. Investigating this, we can start to understand what thoughts influence our mindsets. As every decision taken is ultimately subject to our mindset at that particular moment in time.
If this is a mindset thing, then how does one break the cycle? There are a number of practical solutions to taking decisions. One of which is my favourite for it’s sheer SIMPLE and logical step by step approach. It is ‘The Rubber Band Model.’ this is advised regularly by me to family, friends & staff when they have a decision at hand that could irrevocably alter their future: for example to change job roles, move to another city or take early retirement. You can usually find that the decision is ‘harder’ than normal because the arguments for and against are equally balanced.
– draw out two vertical columns on a sheet of paper.
– is to head one of the columns with ‘what is holding me?’ and the other with ‘what is pulling me?’
– now ask themselves the questions & start to list each reason in each relevant column.
– Assess the results and take action.
At first glance this method seams to be too SIMPLE and a variation of the conventional question ‘what are the pros & cons?’, but don’t be fooled, the difference is that ‘what is holding me? & what is pulling me?’ are both positive questions, thus reflecting the situation with two attractive alternatives only!
There is a certain level of satisfaction that is achieved by reaching a decision to a challenge. A lovely quote comes to mind “A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one” by Rita Mae Brown…..
By Sukhi Wahiwala – Business Mentor & Coach.