Mastering the Art of Decision-Making
Decision-making is one of those things that either comes easily to you or causes you great stress. If, like many of us, you fall into the second category, you know all about the lengthy, tortuous process we go through before finally making the decision. We go over the options in our head a thousand times; ask everyone we know what they would do if they were in our place; imagine the worst-case scenario; and finally make a decision then talk ourselves out of it….you get the picture. That’s because making the wrong decision (especially if it is an important one) can cost us dearly in time, finances, and emotions.
Making decisions can feel overwhelming, like deciding whether or not to move to a new city, buy a new home, change jobs, get married, or get divorced. It would seem that these choices should be simple enough; you either want to do it or you don’t. However, even when you want (or don’t want) to do something, there might be aspects about the decision that cause you to lose sleep.
For example, you might be deciding whether or not to buy a particular house. It may be your dream house….exactly what you’ve been looking for in a great location. Sounds like a no-brainer so far. Then you think about the price. It is higher than you budgeted for, can you really afford it? And the commute is a lot longer than you wanted. But if you let this one go, will you find another one you like as much? Now you have a lot to think about. And sometimes it is not even about what you want, it’s about what will work best for all concerned, like a divorce. You might genuinely want to be out of the marriage, but worry about the impact it will have on your children. What seemed like a straightforward decision has now developed some curves.
Once the decision is made, that’s when the real fun begins because we begin to doubt ourselves. We wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat wondering if we made the right choice. And if things don’t turn out exactly as we had planned, we are convinced that we went the wrong way. We are sure we should have gone with option B instead of option A. If only we had taken more time to think about it. However, there is no guarantee that option B would have worked out any better. We just assume it was the better choice because we are so unhappy with the one we made. Option B would have taken us down a different path for sure, but there is a good chance we would still be wondering if it was the right choice.
So how do we know if we chose correctly? Is there such thing as a bad decision? According to Deepak Chopra in The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life: “If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.”
Ah, therein lies the secret. The decision is whatever we believe it to be. If we believe it was the wrong one, it will play out in a way that agrees with that assumption. On the other hand, if we simply see it as not having gone quite the way we had anticipated, then wait to see how it develops, it could turn out to be the best decision of our lives. The problem is that we become so completely invested in a specific outcome that we often cannot accept anything else. If we just go with the flow we might be surprised where it takes us.
Mastering the art of decision-making means understanding that everything works out exactly as it is supposed to. There are no mistakes in the Universe. You made the best possible decision you could based on the information you had at the time, so don’t look back with regret. That is the only thing that will make your decision a bad one. Trust that the decision you made was the correct one and that your outcome is exactly what you need at that time.
Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.~ Phil McGraw
Life has a way of taking us down the very paths that are destined for us. The decisions we make result in the same lessons we would have if we had chosen differently… only in another form. Once we understand that, we never have to stress. We can rest assured that every decision will always be the right one. That is the art of decision-making.