The ability to make decisions, like every other ability can be viewed like a muscle. A muscle must be used for it to grow and to not atrophy. Just like a muscle, you will have to use it for it to not just be maintained but to also grow and develop. Decision making is a skill that can be developed and improved upon. How? Every decision that you make whether seemingly insignificant or small is a decision that works the “decision-making muscle”.
When we view decision making as a muscle that can be developed and improved, there are 3 keys to not just be better at making decisions but to be able to make the tough decisions when you need to.
The 3 keys are:
1. Small decisions matters.
2. Make A Decision.
3. Indecision hurts you.
Let’s break them down.
Small Decisions Matters
Yes, small decisions do matter. Why? A series of small decisions when made over a period of time has significance and impact. For example, no one decides to be unhealthy. No one aims to have high cholesterol or to be insulin resistant. However, the outcome of a series of seemingly small decisions will lead to that outcome such as eating that extra donut or a bag of chips while watching a Korean drama on tv or forgoing that walk in the park. If those seemingly small decisions that you made once but when you make them again the next day and the next, over time you will end up being less fit, maybe putting on the pounds that you didn’t want to and after a longer period leading you down a path of an unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, yes, those seemingly harmless or small decisions will matter when it is made consistently over a period of time. Small decisions accumulated will lead to a path whether you intended for it or not.
Small decisions enable you to make bigger tougher decisions. If you can make good small decisions and choices, you are building your decision-making muscle. Over time, as the decision-making muscle grows, and when you are faced with the need to make a big decision you would have built up the capabilities to do so. Making big decision is no different from making a small decision. Both requires that you make a choice. The difference is the impact and outcome of the decision.
For example, a big decision such as who you will marry, creates an impact and outcome over the course of your life. To make that decision, it is an accumulation of information and experiences and then making the best choice that you can. In essence no difference than deciding to eat 1 or 2 donuts. However, the difference is in its outcome and impact. So, as you can imagine, if you are able to make good choices or good decisions with the small ones, then you are building your abilities to make the right decisions when the need arises.
Small decisions are your practice and training ground that prepares you to make the bigger ones. Rest assured; everyone will be faced with making the big decisions at all points of life.
Just Make a Decision.
Making decisions can be hard and scary especially if it affects more than just you. It is therefore tempting not to decide. The ability to decide whether it turns out right or wrong is better than not making any decision. One can argue that not deciding is making a decision.
For example, if you have to decide between exercising or not, when you decide to exercise, you are making a choice based on a desire or a goal to achieve. The desire could be, to be fit and healthy or the goal could be to finish a race that you have entered. Now let’s imagine that it is now 5pm and you must decide whether you want to exercise or not. If you are purposeful and have a goal in mind, you will decide to get your exercise in and just do it. However, if now you are presented with a third option that is to exercise, to not exercise and to go out for drinks with your friends, you will most probably have a temporary battle of will. In the midst of the decision battle, it is now 6pm and the sky is dark and gloomy, the decision has been made for you or the decision has been taken away from you. Drinks it is.
You have basically allowed the indecision to make a decision for you through the changing circumstances. In other words, you have taken away your decision-making opportunity based on your indecision and let external situations make the decision for you.
Making a decision is just as important because intent and action must be aligned. Just intending to make a decision is not acting on the intent. That’s not decision making. It is avoidance. However, we have all avoided making decisions. Sometimes it’s because it’s too hard, or we just don’t want to take the responsibility of the consequences of making a decision. However, not deciding is a decision. Which outcome would you prefer, the one where you made the decision or the one where the decision was made for you?
For most of us and for most of the time, we would prefer not to make any decision because if we did, we would have to take on the responsibilities that comes with it. However, if you don’t make the decision and let someone else decide for you then you have forfeited your right to complain or grumble about the consequences because you have decided to let go of your rights in that decision making process.
Therefore, making a decision is better than not and we all learn and be better when we are able to learn from the decision whether its right or not. Learning from our mistakes is one way that we all learn and grow as adults.
Indecisions Hurts You
Being indecisive is just as bad as not deciding. In fact, indecision is an issue that needs to be addressed. Indecision is different from not deciding. Indecision comes from a place of place confusion. Let’s think about this.
When you are presented with options, lots of options with outcomes that are not necessarily bad but more of “which is the best option” to decide on, you might find it hard to decide because there are too many options and none are bad, just not sure which is the best. Therefore, the challenge that you are faced is out of confusion. The confusion of which is the best option to decide on. Not necessarily a bad place to be in because when there is no clear choice to make, the best choice is the one that you do make. Pretty much like “the best vaccine for you to take is the one that is available” type scenario.
Indecision is the flip side of not making a decision. It might seem the same, but it is fundamentally different in its perspective and the core of the decision-making process. The truth is that all decisions have an element of fear. After all, no one wants to make the wrong decision or suffer the consequences of the decision. However, not deciding and/or indecision will produce consequences that you will not want. It is like in an exam, it is better to answer every question whether you know the answer or not vs. leaving it blank which you know is definitely the wrong answer.
Let me summarise. The ability to make decision is like a muscle. The more you use it and use it wisely, the better your decision muscle will be. The more decisions that you make correctly will help you to make better decisions in the future. The better decisions that you are able to make, you will develop your ability to make the tough and often not popular decision because you have built up a certain level of ability and resilience to see out your decision and its outcome.
Therefore, No. 1 Small decisions matter. View them as building blocks for your decision muscle and when you do need to flex the decision muscle in tough situation, you are able to do.
Secondly, making a decision is a right that you possess. Use it. When you fail to decide, you are not taking up your privilege and responsibility but in fact, giving up your right to decide. In that process you are failing to develop your decision-making muscle.
Lastly, Indecision hurts you. The difference between not able to make a decision and indecision lies in its perspective and heart of fear. Fear of the consequences or outcome of the decision. The truth is there is no perfect decision in any situation. It is the best decision that you made in that situation based on the information and your best judgement at that point in time. Indecision hurts because it takes your options away as time and changing nature of the situation will eventually reduce the options that you have and expands the consequences of those options.
Build your decision muscle by realising that small decision matters, making a decision is exercising your decision-making muscles and indecision hurts you because it will reduce your options and magnify the consequences over time.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life. Let’s step into the everyday with purpose. As always, please subscribe, follow and share this blog with your friends. Take care and step into the everyday with purpose.