Have you ever had a sleepless night stressing about an important decision you need to make?
Have you ever spent entire afternoons wondering if the choice you didn’t take would have been better?
Have you ever regretted an opportunity that passed you by because you couldn’t make a decision?
I have, and you probably experienced it too. Thankfully, there’s a way to get rid of the anxiety and stress, and it lies in how you view your choices in every decision-making moment.
Finding the Best Choice: A Simple Decision-making Process
Big or small, everything we choose to think about and do brings results – good and/or bad. The key lies in consciously searching for and acting on the best and most beneficial option most of the time.
When we consciously KNOW that we’ve made the right choice, we’re less likely to feel fear and regret. So how do we find the best choice?
1. Know your Objectives
Before you make a decision, you must know your intended end-result. If you’re planning to have more money in the future, then investing a part of your savings would be a much better choice than wasting money on a new toy/cellphone/gadget you don’t need. Know your goals, and THEN you review your choices.
2. Research and Weigh your Options
Deciding on what to eat for breakfast or what to wear for work require very little thinking. Deciding what equipment to buy, where to invest, etc. requires a lot more. Do your research and weigh your options based on which one would give the most benefit now and in the future.
3. Take a break and sleep on it
For the most critical decisions such as when to quit your job, what business to start, etc., if after doing your research and weighing your options you still find it hard to decide, the best thing to do is to stop thinking about it. Go do something else and just let your subconscious mind calculate the problem by itself (a psychological process called “incubation”) until it gives you the answer.
Your intuition will tell you what to do and when it does, act right away!
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
– John F. Kennedy
No Fear, No Stress, No Regrets
Now that we’ve covered the way to use your mind and intuition for decision-making, what about those choices that you’re still stressing over or those you have already made?
Can’t Decide on an Opportunity?
We all have opportunities for growth, but many of us are scared of taking it. It’s either because we’re afraid that we’ll fail, or because we’re afraid of leaving what we’re used to – the things we find “comfortable.”
What should you do? If you’ve found a great opportunity and your heart tells you to take it, GO!
“Good is the enemy of great.” – Voltaire
“Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway” – Susan Jeffers
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” – Richard Branson
Most often, you’ll regret the opportunities you were too scared to take than those you’ve tried and failed. To live life with no regrets, take the opportunities you have, or if the time is not yet right, create those opportunities by yourself in the future!
No Mistakes, Only Lessons
If something didn’t end well, tormenting yourself about it isn’t very productive. The best thing you can do after a mistake is to learn from it… and then decide to do better!
Regretting the Path not Taken?
A lesson I got from NLP: The New Technology of Achievement was the presupposition that we all make the best decisions that we can at all times. Whatever we chose in the past, it’s because it’s likely to have been the best option for us at that moment in time (all things we could have considered).
If you’re regretting the choice you didn’t take, stop. Instead of thinking about the possibilities that didn’t happen, think about those that you can create right now.
What’s done is done, so what will you do next? Remember, you’ve done the best you could. Regret wastes energy and you could instead use that time to do something more productive.
“I do the very best I can, I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If I’m wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make a difference.” ― Abraham Lincoln
Every day is made up of thousands of little decisions: get up or stay in bed, eat breakfast or skip it, commute to work or stay at home and get no pay. To live well, the only thing we can do is to try to choose the best and most beneficial actions at every single moment, whether that means working harder or taking a break and having fun.
If there’s anything in life that you don’t want or things you would like to improve, then you can always choose to do better.