Are you hopeless at making decisions?
Picking up from where I left you last time, I’m gonna start with some quotes from Bodo Schäfer’s first chapter in his book The Laws of the Winners, which is about the first rule of winners – Make decisions!
Many people find making decisions difficult especially when it is necessary to take risks.
Growth and change are always introduced by a decision.
There is a great fear of making a wrong decision. It is the dread of leaving the known and ‘safe’ ground for something unknown. This step, however, signifies the chance to grow. This is where each person has his greatest opportunity.
The word “decision” comes from the Latin “decisio” which implies an act of cutting.
Thus, every decision means a “cutting” or “separation.” With every decision we choose an opportunity to detach ourselves simultaneously from every other possibility. Whoever truly makes a serious decision actually consciously blocks his access to every other possibility.
Well, that definitely sounds scary, doesn’t it?
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
Did you notice that at the end he uses Goethe’s quote I shared with you yesterday?
And the next quote by the great mountaineer William Hutchinson Murray is, guess what:
“Nothing happens until you decide.”
Now think of your own life: can you remember a situation when this happened to you?
That you made a decision, made a commitment, took the risk, and all sorts of wonderful and unexpected things happened?
It happened to me, exactly this, “a stream of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance,” which I could not have dreamt of! (Too long a story to tell, but if you want to know, write to me.)
Therefore, make decisions. A person who cannot make a decision loses faith in herself.
Aside from that, it is impossible not to make a decision. Even when you think you have not made one, you really have. You have chosen that everything remains the way it is. Or you have selected indecision. This state costs an enormous amount of energy. It weighs heavily. You are not free and cannot move around with ease.
Why do so many individuals find it so difficult to make decisions?
It is owing to the fear of making a “wrong” decision! Yet, that is not even possible because with that choice you have decided against an alternative. You will therefore never know how your life would have turned out had you decided otherwise. Once you have thought about it for a while, you will realize that any decision is better than no decision.
Another reason why it is so difficult to make a decision is caused by the illusion that it should be easy and painless. The ideal decision, however, seems to be the one that downright forces itself on you. Therefore, people often tend to wait until only one alternative remains. The other alternatives have with time become unattractive. We overlook the fact that it is no longer a matter of making a decision. It is then no longer a choice; it is rather an escape. Your choice will only really have power when you assess both alternatives. The more you evaluate the alternative that you did not choose, the more you ennoble the choice that you did favor.
If you wish to enhance your self-respect, then make decisions quickly. Train your “decision muscle.”
Who you are today and what you have today is the result of the decisions you made up to now.
And who you will be and what you will have will be the result of the decisions you make from now on.
That’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?
And the great thing is that it’s really up to you! But if you believe that you are really bad at decision making, this might be a stressful insight. What can you do?
3 steps to becoming a great decision maker
Here are the 3 steps that Bodo suggests:
Today I will improve my ability to make good decisions by obliging myself to take the following steps:
- I will train my ability to decide quickly. I will imagine that there is a “decision muscle” which becomes stronger with every decision that I make. (There are people who study the menu for fifteen minutes and then end up ordering spaghetti Bolognese.) Today I will undertake to decide within thirty seconds what I want to eat and drink. I will do this regardless of the danger that I might have to eat something that I do not like. I will make every small decision today within thirty seconds.
- With every decision, I will ask myself: What are the consequences if I decide in that way? Will my decision make me and those around me happy? In this way I will learn to listen to myself.
- I will answer the following questions in writing: Who will I be in five years? What will I be doing in five years? What will I have in five years? All of my decisions will be geared to these goals. I am prepared to sever myself from that which I basically do not like. In this manner, I will have both hands free for my dreams.
So start using your decision muscles, consciously and joyously! And see what happens!
(What’s the worst that could happen?)
Till next time!