Posted in inspiration

Challenges in Decision Making

Let us say, you are looking for a job. Or, say you are in your final year of college, and have the luxury of attending several campus interviews.

After several rounds of meetings & interviews, you are getting offered the job. The good news is that you are not getting one offer; let us assume you are getting 3 or more offers.

Now you need to make a decision. How do you make your decision?

In another similar situation, let us say, you want to get married and looking for a suitable match. In the context of Indian culture [where arranged marriages are quite common], your parents “line” up a prospective brides to meet up and take a decision. After meeting up with all these ‘prospective’ wives, you came to know that all of them are interested in getting married to you.

Now you need to make a decision. How do you make your decision?

What framework would one use to decide when there are several choices?

The stakes are high here. It is not like deciding between a black jeans or a blue one. These decisions are significant life-changing events. There is always a fear of making the mistake [and regretting that the ‘other’ option would have been better].

I recommend a very simple [nay, easier said than done!] framework as follows:

For want of a better word, I call it the ‘examined gut feel‘ framework. Long & short of how this framework works: It works on your gut feel, validated by your long term view of what you want!

It is the way you feel about a particular choice. When you listen to your gut feel, [or, your instinct] you will ‘feel’ something right about some choice you would make; something wrong about another choice. You may not be able to express that feeling in the form of spreadsheets, drawing up pros & cons of each choice.

However before you take that gut feel decision, it is important to examine your state of mind.

This “feeling” is dependent on your state of mind at that time. What you want badly will determine what choice you would make. If you want higher pay, you would go for the job paying the most.

To make sure that you are examining your gut-feel, what you need to clarify to yourself is to ask a hard question – will this state of mind last for reasonably foreseeable future? If you feel it would not, then you need to figure out what would. This way, you are bringing an element of “long term view” to validate your gut-feel. Maybe, even evolve a “rational view” to explain your gut-feel decision to someone who matters.

Easier said than done!

Examining yourself and bringing the element of time into your decision making is quite hard. The reason being that the human mind is quite fickle and shifts from one topic to another quite fast. In order to ensure you are truly asking yourself the hard question, I have these three suggestions to offer:

1. Sleep over your decision: After you have thought through the various choices, just don’t decide anything for a minimum of 24 hours. In those 24 hours, don’t ever think of the positives /negatives of the choices. Instead think of what you would want 5 years hence; how you visualize your life 10 years hence and write down what truly matters to you.  Once you write down what truly matters to you, then go back to the choices and critically evaluate which choice offers what you truly want!

2. Meditate: Sit calmly and meditate for a few minutes every day. I suggest atleast 30min. Once you do this, your mind is able to receive new inputs automatically from the universe. These new inputs offer you ideas about what exactly would be the right decision for you. I can’t explain this better than what I am writing here, because this is something you need to experience yourself.

3. Talk to a trusted friend: To ensure that you are being honest with your feelings /future needs, talk to a trusted friend. He need not be someone who understands your past or is intimately connected with the decision you are about to make. His only qualification is to ensure that you are asking the hard question yourself and not ‘lying’ to yourself. This dialogue is valuable to sort out the confusion in your mind.

A combination of all the three suggestions is usually the prudent approach for anyone. Go ahead and try it!
As usual, happy to hear your thoughts.

 

Author:

Enterprise Sales B2B Marketing Entrepreneur Yoga & Meditation Teacher

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