I love Quora. It’s my favorite place on the Internet to find answers – whether about something inspirational or a silly question about what it feels like to be an astronaut. I really enjoyed and appreciated the response that Oliver Emberton posted on the topic of how to make hard decisions. His second point really stuck with me, as I tend to over analyze a lot of decisions and crave excess information before taking the leap.
Have you had to make any hard decisions lately? What’s the best advice you’ve received on making decisions? xx
Firstly, recognize any fear you have related to the decision. Fear of failure, of what others think, of hardship.Fear is almost completely always overrated – it evolved in a time when saber toothed tigers could dine on our bones and when asking a pretty villager out could get you killed by her father’s tribe. Nowadays the downside for most actions is negligible but our instincts are 40,000 years behind. So fight hard to identify and ignore your fear.
Secondly, make sure you have enough information but not too much. Colin Powell popularized a rule here – aim for between 40% – 70% of the information you need to make a decision. Too little and you don’t know what you’re doing. But crucially – and often overlooked – too much and you’re wasting time and someone else may beat you to it. Paralysis is a decision too, albeit an awful one.
Thirdly, once you’ve thought it out – trust your gut. If you’re not sure, find a coin and assign heads to one option, and tails to another. Flip the coin. Now, how do you feel about the choice that was made? Whether you feel relieved or horrified will tell you what your instincts know.
Finally, do it. Most people fail at this step; don’t be one of them. Good luck.