Making Successful Decisions
Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes
Back in 1995, my wife and I had a successful graphic design business. We had a small office in a great Boston neighborhood just a few minutes walking distance from our apartment. We were not rich, but we were making enough to live comfortably in our then-current lifestyle. We then had a decision to make: we had an opportunity to sell our graphic design business, along with our steady income, and focus on Internet development. Even though our Internet revenue was only about $10 per month at the time, we made what turned out to be one of our most successful business decisions and sold the graphic design business. That one decision resulted in a chain of events that allowed us to live our dreams.
A decision is defined as the act of reaching a conclusion or making up one’s mind. A successful decision is one that brings us closer to, not further from, achieving success. The decisions we make are really a result of who we are as a person; they are a reflection of our inner self. Even though the most successful individuals make poor decisions now and then, more often than not, success-minded individuals make successful decisions.
Sometimes, the least successful decision we can make is choosing not to make a decision. Being indecisive is one of the major obstacles people run into while pursuing success. If you neglect to make timely decisions...
- you can miss great opportunities
- you can be taken advantage of by others
- you let others control the direction of your life
- you often end up doing things you later regret
Fortunately, there are ways to help us make more timely and successful decisions. Let’s take a look at some of the more effective ways.
- Relate the decision to your goals. If you consciously review your goals while making important decisions, it is not difficult to figure out which is the more successful decision for you to make. Use visualization to play out “what if” scenarios in your head. Where would you be in one, three, or five years if you decide one way? How about if you decide the other way?
- Think long-term success, not short-term gratification. The majority of bad decisions in life are usually a result of one’s desire for immediate gratification. Successful-minded individuals think in the long-term and make decisions that way as well.
- Don’t procrastinate making a decision if you have all the facts. Sometimes the best time to make a decision is right there and then, when you have all the information you need and the information is fresh in your mind. This is especially true for smaller, less important decisions that would otherwise compound on each other and cause unnecessary stress.
- Get all the facts first. Sometimes, especially for larger and more important decisions, it is best to take the time to gather as many facts as you can that will help you to make the best decision. Make sure your facts are coming from unbiased, reliable sources.
- Never allow others to manipulate you. Manipulation is when others persuade you to do something that is not in your best interest. Peer pressure and high-pressure sales are two common examples of manipulation. Never hesitate to tell someone you need time to “think about it” or “think it over.” If you are backed into a corner with a “now or never” ultimatum, 9 out of 10 times saying “never” will be the successful decision.
- Use your common sense. Our common sense is the sum of all of our knowledge and experiences that tell us in our head what is the right thing to do.
Getting the right answer begins with asking the right question. Instead of asking yourself, “Should I do this?,” ask yourself, “If I do this will it bring me closer to my goals?” Doors of opportunities are always opening, but they are not always open. You need also to be decisive and make decisions as soon as you feel you have enough information to make the right ones. Remember that just one decision can lead to a chain of events that can forever change your life.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)