A Guaranteed Wrong Decision

I was asked years ago to do a Goal Setting workshop for a group of High School Seniors. We were talking about short term goals and I asked how many of the students were planning on attending college in the fall. 

The answers were varied but one stood out. The student said they had not yet decided about attending college in the fall so they were taking a year off school and then they would decided. I replied “so you’ve decided to not attend this fall.” They again said that had not yet decided about college in the fall so they were taking a year to “review their options” and then decide. So I gave the same reply. I added that by not deciding they had decided. They would not be attending college in the fall. 

The young student was frustrated with my answer. They were certain that they had not yet made a decision. But in fact the decision had been made. 

You may be tempted to cut the student a little slack given their age of lack of experience with making big decisions. Except the inability to make decisions has little to do with age or experience. 

It has to do with confidence. It has to do with being okay with failing once in a while. It has to do with the willingness to suffer the consequences of make wrong decisions. It has to do with with having the discipline to try again. And maybe again and again. 

People who can’t make a decision, or more likely, won’t make a decision, fail to understand that not making a decision IS a decision. It’s a decision to not change, to not take action, or it’s a decision to cling to a past mistake because you invested so much time in making the mistake. 

Not making a decision is guaranteed to be a wrong decision. I maintain actually making a decision that turns out to be wrong is often easier to fix than no decision because at least you’re now certain what doesn’t work. 

When you’re making a big decision and you’re not sure what to do then break the big decision into a series of smaller ones and do the next right thing to do. No matter how little that “right thing” is you’ll be creating momentum towards the big decision. You’ll be making progress and progress is always a good thing to make. 

If you think you truly can’t decide between a couple of options then simply flip a coin. I can promise you when that coin is in the air you’ll know exactly how you want it to land. Then, regardless of how the coin actually lands, you’ll know which option to choose. 

That may sound silly but it works amazingly well. But in order to find out for yourself you do have to decide to try it out. 

Better Voices

Most people won’t actually admit to hearing voices in their head. They think if people find out they will be sent immediately to see a psychiatrist…or worse. People think that way because one of the voices in their head tells them to think that way.

Everybody hears voices in their head. Sometimes it’s the voice of fear. Sometimes it’s the voice of reason. Sometimes it’s the voice of self-doubt. Sometimes it’s the voice of belief and confidence.

Some of the voices are stronger than others. For too many people the voices they hear most often are the voices of fear and self-doubt. For successful people the voices they hear most often are the voices of self-belief and confidence.

What someone hears in their head will determine their level of success. Do you allow the loudmouthed fear to overrule your voice of reason? Do you allow the voice of self-doubt to out shout your voice of confidence.

There are people in your life that you know better than to pay attention to. There are people in your life who you trust and listen to. You seek out their advice while ignoring the nattering naysayers of negativity.

Those voices of fear and self-doubt are nothing more than nattering naysayers of negativity. They are to be ignored just like the people you know better than to allow into your life.

Successful people have the voices of fear and self-doubt in their heads like everyone else. But they drown them out with their “better voices” of confidence, self-belief, and reason. When fear and doubt start their yapping successful people cut them off immediately with self-affirmation and confidence.

I think the key is paying attention to that voice in your head. It’s always there and if you aren’t careful it can influence your actions whether you realize it or not. So pay attention to those voices, when you realize it’s an unhealthy voice then either out shout it or overpower it with something better.

You have to admit to the voices before you can take control over them….but maybe you don’t have to admit them to other people. 🙂

Do Back-up Plans Lead to Failure?

There is a school of thought that says having a back-up plan is acknowledging that your original plan will not not succeed. The people who hold to this school of thought also believe that it’s that apparent lack of confidence that causes the ultimate failure of the plan.

I do not agree with that. I think not having a back-up plan is absolutely irresponsible. I like confident people but thinking you will never need a back-up plan is beyond confident, it’s more like cocky. Cocky may win the day but confident wins all the tomorrows.

I have plans. Well thought out, detailed plans. I have total confidence in my plans and when I have complete control over every aspect of my plan I don’t bother with a back-up plan. The trouble is, I can’t ever recall a plan where I had complete control over every aspect of the plan.

So for everything I want to accomplish I make a plan and one or two, or more, back-up plans to go with it. The back-up plans are full of “what if” scenarios for all the things, and people, outside of my control. My first back-up plan is the one that takes into account the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen and the subsequent back-up plans are all developed to improve on that worst situation. 

Some of my back-up plans are little more than thoughts, some are actually quickly written plans and some require some serious thought and investment of time.  

Regardless of how in-depth the back-up plans are it’s actually those plans that make my original plan more likely to succeed. After I make the back-up plans I review the original plan to remove as many of the uncontrollable elements as I possibly can.   

Considering alternate possibilities when planning doesn’t make you a failure, it leads directly to your success. A solid back-up plan allows you to pursue your goals and objectives with confidence, knowing that if something doesn’t go according to plan you’re well prepared to succeed anyway.

Don’t listen to people who tell you to work without a back-up plan, the best way to avoid needing a back-up is to have one ready to implement at a moments notice.