We all Make Decisions, But in the End, our Decisions Make Us

Last month I was reading different materials on decision-making process as part of our training program “Innovative Decision Making”. I was surprised by how many great approaches you can apply to get the right decision. Some of them are very analytical, others are more creative and connected to “gut feelings”. Personally, the older I get, I put more attention on my intuition than on rational analyses. So far this strategy worked well, but it didn’t always lead to the best outcomes. I noticed that it works really good when it comes to new situations, and especially in the field of personal relationships, business decisions or new opportunities. In such situations, I simply sense if a person is willing to cooperate or if business opportunity/idea is good or not. Many entrepreneurs that I respect use a similar approach. Actually, this strategy was one of the first that I learned and utilized when I started my business in 2008. Most of us are able to sense gut reaction and it would be interesting to test what would happen if people trusted it more.

When the gut reaction kicks in and you sense it just take action. Don’t think, don’t analyze… it won’t help.

“Gut feelings” are not often aligned with the rational analysis of the situation and in many cases, we are not ready to listen to it and take action because “it is not smart”. We would rather stay in our routines simply because it has been proven to be safe. Such situations usually end up with “waiting strategy” or “the problem will resolve itself” strategy. In my favorite book “The Fellowship of the Ring”, while being trapped in the mines of Moria, Gandalf says to Frodo: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is give to us.” and I would add “and take action”. 

Whatever strategy you use for making a decision after the decision is made just act upon it.

However, I notice that there are situations when “gut feeling” strategy doesn’t work well and sometimes doesn’t work at all. It usually happens when I spend too much time in a certain situation, and when I feel comfortable (in a positive or negative way). The more I feel “boiling frog syndrome”, the less I am able to sense my “gut feelings”. In such situations, I use more cognitive and rational approach.

Last observation that I want to share with you in this article is that people are ready to put more attention on the decision then on the consequences of it. Often we don’t allow ourselves to change our mind. It’s OK to change your mind… once… twice… three times… there is no rule on how many times we are allowed to change our mind on any important topic.

Mistakes are part of life. Marrying a wrong person is just a mistake, but staying in that marriage for the next 20 years and feeling awful, is a bad decision.

Key points:

  • Intuitive or “gut feeling” strategies work well when it comes to new situations in the field of personal relationships, business decisions or new opportunities.
  • Cognitive decision-making strategies are more convenient for situations in which you feel “boiling frog syndrome”.
  • A decision without action usually brings bigger confusion.
  • It’s OK to change your mind.