Good Decision Making
Sometimes making a good decision is a matter of time. If you have something important to decide, let it sit for a while.
Abraham Lincoln was famous for many things, one of which was his ability to slow down his decision making. As maddening as it was for the people around him, he would ponder something for a long period of time before moving forward. If he had an angry reaction to a general’s inability to press forward in the Civil War, for example, he would write to the general demanding action…and then hold on to the letter for a few days. When he re-read what he had written he would almost always feel that he had over-reacted, and would re-frame his approach. After Lincoln died his secretary found hundreds of letters issuing thousands of instructions.
Sometimes the best thing you can do with a tough decision is wait. When you feel pressured to decide on something, or you are reacting from a place of emotion, your brain becomes functionally limited. The thinking part of you called ‘your mind’ gets scrambled with competing expectations, fears, stories, etc etc, and cannot process information correctly. So you react…and the decision is almost always flawed in some way.
In the case of a tough or emotional decision I recommend to my clients that they wait for a least a day. Taking this time allows them to use the non-thinking parts of their minds (which is about 95% of our processing power) to work with the options. Taking time also allows us to use our ‘gut’, which has as many nerve endings as there are neurons in our brain. If we wait a few days we inevitably come up with a clearer, better decision that feels as good as it sounds.
So if you are faced with something that is ‘stressing you out’, ask yourself some simple questions like ‘what do I want from this decision?’, ‘what is a good outcome?’, and ‘what other options do I have?’. Then sit with the questions for a few days. Don’t think too much…simply allow yourself to process behind the scenes. Something will show up to clarify your way forward.
It really works! And it makes your decision making that much more effective and peaceful!