The Secret of Effective Decision Making

     In the last month I have been focusing on the advice we get from others and how when you listen to good advice it can have great effects on your career. Then books I have wanted to read about intuition finally made their way into my hands and it became clear to me that so many people don’t take the advice they are given from the most important people in their lives: themselves. In our society, intuition can be perceived as bordering on odd because images of fortune tellers appear when most people hear this word. In its purest terms, intuition is an innate skill we are all born with, it’s our gut instinct. When you learn to follow this natural form of advice the hard decisions become much easier to make. 

     I have the tendency to be a pragmatist, so I can already hear my fellow pragmatists wanted the evidence that intuition is a real, measurable skill. While researching the topic, I came across an article in O! Magazine that discussed “Reinvention Strategies” by Louise Lague. The article focused on Gary Klein. He is the author of Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions, and his company, Klein Associates, Inc, also trains high powered executives to make choices. In his book he interviewed nurses, fireman, and other people who have to make quick decisions for a living.  What he learned from this is that the two ways we make decisions are by weighing pros and cons or using our gut instinct. Klein created strategies using both of these techniques to help individuals make better decisions.

     Klein suggestions are as follows:

  • Get in touch with your gut instincts first, before your rational mind starts creating pros and cons.
  • If you have a hard time recognizing your gut opinion, flipping a coin and recognizing how you feel when an option is gone. Happy? Disappointed?
  • Visualize the options. Brainstorm ideas and combine them to see how the outcomes look. Try to make it simple and avoid analysis paralysis.
  • Visualize the outcomes. See how comfortable you are with worst case scenarios.
  • Let go of perfection when making decisions it just causes unneeded stress.
  • Learn to trust yourself. Examine your decisions and if you would make them again.

      When you feel the overwhelm of decision making, refer to this list of suggestions as a way to create clarity and confidence even in stressful situations.

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