Olu is a 27-year-old entrepreneur building his own business in one of Lagos’ metropolitan cities. He wakes up one morning and decides to dress casually to the office for that day (routine decision?). In the afternoon, his office assistant asks him what he wants for lunch, and he says ‘beans, egg and some slices of bread’ (another routine decision?). During dinner at night, he decides with his wife—a psychology lecturer at a university—on how to go about a loan he just obtained from one of the city’s bank (major decision?)
Like Olu, every day, everybody makes decisions: what to wear, where to go, how much to spend, what to do, when to do what, etc. Obviously, decision making is an indispensable part of our living. However, as Alice Waters says, the decisions we make are choices of values that reflect in our lives in every way.
On the other hand, we tend to make hasty and unwise decisions frequently. Because humans can be so spontaneous, sometimes, the decisions we make are not very well thought out.
This article discusses some strategies that are helpful when making decisions (even for the ones we make on a daily basis!)
Employ an aerial approach
Taking an aerial approach to your decision-making process simply means considering all sides and parts of the decision you are about to make. You need to take time to think through all necessary components of your decision(s). Thinking about the consequence or series of consequences that might come from going with a particular resolution can be of help in the decision-making process.
Make comparative analysis
After having an aerial view, weighing your probable decisions could aid the process. By comparing risks, chances, and probabilities of success or failure of decisions, we can be very helpful in making the right decision (or would you say perfect decision? Doubt if there can be one).
Research and get facts
In many spheres of human endeavor, from science to business to education to economic policy, good decisions depend on good measurement—Ben Bernanke
As a family man who wants to invest in shares or bonds, some research about your company of investment is advisable. Doing even just a little research before making a decision on where to invest can save you fortunes. If many Nigerians had researched before throwing their money on the popular Ponzi scheme—MMM—not so many would have lost a lot of fortunes after the scheme crashed sometime last year.
Learn from other people’s experience
Aside from researching to find facts, learning from other people’s life experiences could help a great deal. People are mirrors through which we can see our own reflections. Someone’s success story might be a very important factor to consider before making a decision. However, do not allow another person’s path deter you from your dreams.
Sometimes, seeking the counsel of trusted persons can help you to make the right decisions about yourself, career, prospective investment, etc. This is especially helpful if the person(s) in question have had to make such decisions in the past.
Don’t ever make decisions based on fears. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t—Michelle Obama
Learning from your failures and shortcomings are very good points to take note of. Aside from learning from other people’s experiences, you should also learn from your disappointments, shortcomings and the consequences of your previous decisions. However, this should not turn us to pessimists when making decisions. Decisions need to be made on a good ground, and this requires us to believe in our decision. Reiterating and reminding ourselves of the reason we took the decision in the first place is a very helpful way—it keeps optimism boiling.
-Don’t be afraid to make a decision-
Remember, to make decisions, whether you like it or not (In fact, deciding not to take a decision is a decision in itself, and a risk, too.)