You are constantly making choices from when you wake up until you rest your head at night. Some of these choices are minute in nature and are decided without a second thought.
Choosing one soda brand over another or having chicken instead of beef isn’t a life-or-death decision unless you are deathly allergic to the food or drink. Other choices, however, can be monstrous and may require long periods of careful thought and consideration. You should spend a great deal of time researching the purchase of a home or when deciding to change career paths.
Most people do not understand the importance of the choices they are making. Can you remember the last time you stopped to examine your choices for the previous day, week, month, or year? Every single decision we make shapes our lives. They shape our thoughts, actions, feelings, and emotions. They build upon each other, one after the other, to determine whom we spend our time with, what we do for work, where we live, and how we spend our money.
Not all choices are made equally, but all choices have consequences. A choice can be based on reason, logic, self-thought, or research. A choice can also be made in the heat of the moment and be emotionally charged.
Choices can be good, bad, or non-consequential. Since our choices ultimately determine how our lives turn out, we should make great strides in equipping ourselves with the best choice-making process we can. How, then, do we make the best choices for ourselves?
A decision-making process determines every choice. This process usually includes a combination of rational thinking, gut feelings, and personal biases. Due to the mixture of each individual’s specific conscious and unconscious factors that determine the choice, it isn’t easy to give an all-encompassing equation that provides positive choices for everyone.
Below are some steps to take to help you regarding making better choices.
- Research and gather as much information as possible
- Contemplate any other alternatives
- Determine benefits and costs if using an alternative
- Take time to think about your decision before actually making it.
According to the Enterprisers Project, there are four different decision-making approaches. Each approach is detailed below:
A directive decision maker bases their choices on their experience, thoughts, and knowledge. They typically make logical decisions and do not appreciate uncertainty.
An analytical decision maker bases their choices on as much information as possible. They will research data, use personal observations, and seek counsel to support them in their final choice. Their choices are not made in the moment.
A conceptual decision-maker takes a more creative approach. They engage socially and like to collaborate with others for a wide range of perspectives before making a choice.
Their choices can be described as out-of-the-box and future-oriented.
A behavioural decision-maker takes a group-oriented approach. They determine different potential choices and then give a group those choices to determine the pros and cons.
According to Psychology Today, fear, a lack of self-control, and panic may be parts of the choice-making process, yet, pushing past these feelings is crucial to making a better choice.
Numerous studies have shown that the more choices a person is given, the less capable they are of making any choice. This is called the paradox of choice, outlined in Barry Schwartz’s book by the same name. The paradox of choice (too many options) can lead to decision paralysis (inability to make a choice).
Your choices are what make your life. You are accountable for what you do while on this planet. Your level of success and quality of life is determined by the choices you make. Take the necessary time and effort to make the best possible choices for yourself.