4 Missing Ingredients to Better Decision MakingI’ve been facing some tough life decisions lately. So I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned that has helped me make some of those tough decisions!
Take the Red Pill Neo!Sometimes I find that I am a bit like Neo, from the Matrix. Always thinking there is something more that I am missing, but what is it? And then an opportunity comes up and I find myself locked in indecision. Should I take up this opportunity or let it pass? If I leave what I have I may never get it back. But If stay where I am I may never get this opportunity again. What should I do?
I find that I am often weighed down by indecision with simple things too. Take me to a fast food restaurant I've been to a hundred times and I will want to go in, not use the drive through. The drive through is too much pressure!
I want to go inside, stand out of line, to the side or back of the area and leisurely stare at the menu. I will more than likely buy the same thing I bought the last hundred times I came in. I still want to think about it, just in case I want to try something new.
Over the last few years I've gotten better at making decisions. It's still a struggle for me, but I'm getting better. I've also learned to trust my wife's intuition. Again, that is still a struggle for me, but I'm getting better! I love you Flavia!
There are concepts I learned in the last few years that really helped me make better decisions. I don't think I've always made the right decision. But I have learned to make them, and that's a start!
Here are some of the problems I’ve run into and the solutions that have helped me make better decisions:
1. ComplacencyIt’s so easy to stay where I am. I may not like it. But it’s comfortable. I know this. I don’t know that new thing. Sure, I’m a slave to my situation, but I’m “taken care of” here. I've tried new food and not liked it as much as the food I was going to get. Then again, I've tried new food and it became my new favorite? What to do?!
When I think about the future, I end up talking a little like the children of Israel complaining about how they had food back in Egypt… where they were slaves. Then my friend Jack Ernst gave me an insight that I have been pondering ever since.
In the Bible, Esau forfeited his rights to his brother through carelessness and recklessness. But his brother was also a cheat and a thief. Neither was a very good brother. What's interesting here, though, is the "Blessing" Isaac DID give to Esau after Jacob stole his birthright blessing.
Genesis 27:36-41Now Isaiah 10:27 reveals that “Breaking the Yoke” is directly related to the ministry and Anointing of Jesus. In fact Christ means "Anointed" So literally, and correctly translated "Jesus Christ" is actually "Jesus The Anointed One". See Isaiah 53 for examples of what the Anointing does.
40“By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck.”
What the blessing of Esau shows us is that the situation you are facing will be broken when you become too restless to stay as you are! When the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, you will change.
You have to allow yourself to become fed up with the situation. Don’t shove that feeling down, allow it to grow. Dietrich Bonheoffer called this feeling “Holy Restlessness.”
First Key Solution:
2. The Pain of Change
If you have been paralyzed by indecision for too long consider this:
If you want something you've never had you will have to do something you've never done! Tweet That!
Or as Dave Ramsey says:Sometimes the pain of staying where you are must be greater than the pain of what it takes to go somewhere else. Moving to a new place takes effort. Applying for, interviewing for, preparing for a new job takes effort. Leaving a bad situation to pursue new possibilities takes effort.
"You live like no one else so that you can live like no one else."
This pain of leaving is what keeps people in positions that make them miserable for years longer than necessary. Often they are waiting on God, while God is waiting on them!
In the Classic book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't (Affiliate Link), Jim Collins discusses the “Stockdale Paradox” (See On: YouTube).
You must be equally filled with brutal honesty about your current situation and be ready to act on the implications, all the while with expectation that you will prevail in the end! You might call this pragmatic optimism, or pessimistic hopefulness?
Second Key Solution:
Confront the Brutal Facts, and act on the implications, believe you will win!
3. The Feeling of Missing Out - The Power and Problem of Opportunity Risk
The problem of opportunities is that by definition you cannot do both.
Opportunity Risk:Two easy examples of Opportunity Risk.
The risk of doing one thing and loosing the ability to do the other.
Risk In Job Changes
Check out this great article on LinkedIn about risk in a job change, click here.
If you leave this job you loose the opportunity to get promoted here.
If you stay you must loose the opportunity to leave.
Risk In Spending
If you spend $1,500 today on that new computer, you will loose the opportunity to invest that $1,500 an have $75,000 30 years from now.The power of “Opportunity Risk” is that you have the control. You must take the position that it is not situations or circumstances that cause you to be where you are, it is the decisions you have made that brought you here, and the decisions you make will take you to the next place, for better or worse. Once you take ownership over that, you can be free to take the authority God gave you over your destiny.
If you invest that $1,500 you will loose the opportunity to have that computer now.
The first order of business, you need to pray. I don’t mean that you just prayed for his direction on these two options, but prayed to see if these ARE the two options? Often the devil tries to trap you with bad option A and worse option B.
Then God comes in with plan ZZ13 and blows up your original two options!
Honestly not every risk is worth it. The risk of leaving may cost too much. The risk of staying, though, may also be the greatest risk. If both risks are unacceptable it’s a good chance you’ve narrowed yourself too far down.
In fact, there are hardly ever JUST two options. Typically the more creative you are the more options you will find. If you’d like to be more creative check out this link from David Kelley “How To Build Your Creative Confidence.”
Towards the end he makes a statement that struck me for this topic of assessing risk. He says that all people can be creative people, it’s not a born characteristic but a learned trait. He works with people who say they aren’t creative to help them discover and nurture their God given creativity.
Then he says that:Imagine if you were led by the Holy Spirit, God Himself, and you had His unlimited mind at your disposal. He is THE Creator! He has unlimited options. So I challenge you to assess the risk, and explore your options. If you only have two, you haven’t looked deep enough yet.
“…the more creative a person became during his coaching the more options they would create for themselves to pursue…”
Powerful Opportunity Risk Questionnaire
The purpose in asking these questions is to help you understand the situation better. To be brutally honest with yourself about the current situation and the potential options.
- Have you prayed about this?
- Are either of these God’s Options? Or are you asking Him to bless YOUR plan?
- What are the opportunity risks in your decision?
- Which risk is greater?
- Is there more risk in staying or is there more risk in leaving?
- Which risk has the most potential for reward?
- Which risk has the most likelihood to take you closer to your destiny and help you reach your destination?
- Which risk takes you closer to your core, who you know you are?
- Which risk is going to provide the opportunity to grow into an area that you need to grow?
- Which risk has the most potential pain? Most potential rewards?
- Are there factors in one risk that are unacceptable? Deal Breakers?
- Which risk has the most inner spiritual peace attached?
- Are these two options your ONLY options?
- What OTHER options can you think of?
- What themes have you noticed running in your life?
- Are there any old options you discounted then, that you could come back to now, in this new phase of life?
Third Key Solution:
Assess The Risk – Assess the Real Options
How Many Options Can You Think Of? Where is the Peace?
4. Standing By Your DecisionI have counseled so many people, myself included, that won’t take responsibility for their results. This isn’t to say that there are no cases where this wouldn’t be justified. But so often we say to ourselves and others things like:
“My life is this way because he/she did this…”Even in cases where something tragic happened that you had no control over, you can and must still take responsibility for the future. From this day forward you must master your own future, letting the Holy Spirit be your guide tower and master control. Or as I like to think of Him, your internal GPS. Except HE sets the destination. You either obey or not.
“I was born with this disability…”
“People from my part of town don’t get opportunities…”
“If only they had done this (or didn’t do that) I wouldn’t be here…”
Stop regretting every decision that didn't work out the way you thought it should. Stop wishing you could go back because you think that the other decision would have been better. Maybe it would have been worse?
I like what Aslan said in Chronicles of Narnia. Lucy asks: "If I had come earlier, would all those people have died? Could I have stopped it?" Aslan responds: "We can never know what would have happened Lucy, but what will happen is another matter entirely..."
One way to stand by your decision without regret, even if it was a mistake, is to accept responsibility for it. Stand by it.
Own up to it.It’s amazing how taking the responsibility for your decision(s), whether it turned out right or wrong, will make you freer to make another decision that will take you closer to your mark.
Say: “Yes! That was me! I did that!”
Your next decision will either be further down the right path, or course correcting toward your right path. Either way you can’t do that until you are willing to own up to it. It is your decision.
Fourth Key Solution:
Own It! Never Look Back, Only Forward!
4, make that 5 Keys To Better Decisions - In Review:
- Become Restless!
- Confront the Brutal Facts, Act On The Implications, Believe You Will Win!
- Assess The Risk - Assess The Options!
- Own It! Never Look Back, Only Forward!
- Bonus Tip: Follow The Peace!
The better you understand it the more you will find either Peace or Uneasiness. Do not proceed without peace.
Here’s another great tip by LifeHacker: Follow Your Gut. Just ask the question:
“Is this right? Yes or No”
Where Is The Peace?
So now it’s your turn. These were not an exhaustive list, just some things I’ve used recently.
What do YOU do when you need to make an important decision?
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By Darrell Wolfe
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