The Importance of Decision Making

Successful people make good decisions. “Lucky” people make good decisions. The people you admire make good decisions. Good results are the product of good decisions.

I could make a strong case that everything “good” comes about as a result of good decisions. Perhaps some people could argue that not “everything” good comes from decisions but this much is certain; the quality of a person’s life is directed affected by the quality of their decisions.

Way too many people are virtually unaware of just how many decisions they make each day. You decide, yes YOU decide, who you hang around with, what you watch and listen to, who you believe, where your information comes from, when to go to bed, how much alcohol to drink, what to eat….all of those things are decisions. 

You even decide whether or not you will have a positive attitude. Yes, even your attitude is ultimately your decision and it is likely the biggest decision you make each day.

Perhaps you think you don’t need to make decisions in those areas, maybe you’re a “go with the flow” kinda person and you just let the people and circumstances around you “decide” for you. If that’s the case you should know that letting “others” decide for you often has the impact of making you less successful than you could be.

It’s great to ask others for advice and I strongly encourage people to have a mentor for that very reason but for decisions affecting you personally YOU should be making the final decision. 

You need to make your own decisions because ultimately it’s the decisions you make that make you who you are. There are outcomes, results, and consequences, both positive and negative, to every decision. Everything you say, do, and even think plays a role in determining who you really are. It’s worth investing a moment or two in deciding what’s best for you.

Some decisions will be harder than others. Some may be excruciatingly difficult. When you don’t know what to do just do the next right thing… the next right thing doesn’t have to be a big thing, baby steps are okay, just keep moving towards being the person you want to be. 

Your life is collectively made from all the decisions you make and don’t make. Work hard to make the decisions that give you the life you want. You’ll find that those decisions work just as hard for you!

8 thoughts on “The Importance of Decision Making

  1. Great article Steve! I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Our decisions and choices affect the trajectory of our lives. To quote Ken Levine, “we all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.”

    Unfortunately, as Noreena Hertz once said, most of us are going through life without interrogating whether our decision-making process is sound.

    My research indicates there are over 80 different, mostly hidden factors that influence (distort) our perception of “the facts” upon which we make our decisions. Cf. Kahneman, Ariely, Cialdini. If you want to maximize your ability to make good decisions, you must be both aware of these factors and counteract their effects.

    One of the best resources for a good decision making process is found in Chip/Dan Heath’s outstanding book, “Decisive.” Using a good decision making process made an unbelievable difference for me in a recent job decision. It is pretty clear I would not have had the same great outcome had I not followed a step-by-step process.

    Like you said Steve, we need to own our decisions. I would add, we need to take responsibility for our good (or flawed) decision-making process.

      1. One of the many brilliant points in the book Decisive is that many businesses and business leaders use a particular flawed framework for making decisions that results in predictably poor outcomes. In fact, the likelihood of success using this framework are about the same as the decision outcomes made by a short-sighted pre-teen, whose prefrontal cortex is not yet fully developed. Ouch!. Here’s a simple technique they recommend to dramatically improve results:

  2. My husband was a major Rush fan so I can’t help but think of this lyric,

    ‘If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.’

    Good post Steve.

    As I look back on my own life, I have found that some decisions are absolutely easy to make. No question. Still others, I found that I made decisions based on the information I had at the time, that wound up not being true. (because I was lied to)

    In the end, we still have to pay for the consequences of the decisions we make even if it was because they are based on leadership lies.

    The sad reality is that most of the time, in my experience, leadership doesn’t take responsibility for their lies. (in many cases). Yet I am still responsible for the mess it makes.

    I’m not going to lie Steve. I will never be ‘happy’ about those experiences. I can only learn what I can from each one and ‘rebuild’. Each and every time.

    As for our nation, we are in this mess for many reasons; partly because not enough people are willing to take responsibility (as you touch on in your post) and partly because the people don’t have the facts…the information they really need to make more informed decisions. Without the facts, it’s hit and miss at best.

    It’s critical that we each take responsibility in doing our part to disseminate accurate information. And if we don’t know how accurate the data is, perhaps we need to start saying that.

    Then at least we leave things more open-ended and perhaps it might help people shift from just accepting anything and everything as ‘fact’ and actually start thinking about things.

    Thanks again for sharing your insights Steve. I read this last night but I’ve been up to my eyebrows in tuberculosis data for a presentation my group is giving Wednesday eve! We had one member of our team drop out of class the other day (with only 2 weeks left in the course!) and so we are having to pick up the slack for that persons material as well as our own. : )

    1. You make a great point, people lie. We can be responsible for other people’s lies but we can be responsible for continuing to trust people who have a problem being on the same room with the truth.

      But sometimes we just don’t want to believe we have been lied to either. And now it seems, more than ever before people believe the adage “that’s it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

      But of course a lie is a lie is a lie.

      By the way, did you hear that if Donald becomes President he is going to change the national bird from a Bald Eagle to a Trumpeter Swan? 😊

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