Thursday, September 8, 2011

Forcing a decision upon yourself

We all know (do we, all?) - sometimes deciding on time is preferred than delaying a decision. Our fear to take a wrong one often lets us wait. Life tells us though - majority of our everyday decisions are reversible, and corrective actions - possible.
I usually prefer to act on time, and correct later, if needed. Waiting to see if the best alternative will uncover itself, or the things to "just happen" is a decision making strategy no better than any other.
A lesson I teach my kids is that to do something means to agree and accept all of the consequences of your actions.
If you are running out of time, or you are forced by others or by circumstances to take a decision - then what?
If you know you have to take a decision, but still not dare to?
Sometimes it happens to me. Especially when outcomes of any of the alternatives are so blurred or fuzzy, that, despite of the clear choices, the results are unpredictable.
What I usually do in such case is to force the decision making upon myself. There are few ways to do that.
You design an action which, once performed, is changing the probabilities of the decision alternatives, or the possible outcomes. The action might enable some of the alternatives. Or you might do something that still leaves all the outcomes equally probable, but you just gather more information in the process to help you decide. Whatever it is, the important element is that by such an action, you try to make the decision making a finished fact. You make the decision making process (not the decision itself) irreversible. You act as if you have taken the decision already.
Let's take two examples.
A trial decision: Suppose you want to decide whether to leave you dog to stay with a friend while you are away. All thinking and weighting pros and cons aside, you are still indecisive. Go visit your friend and bring the dog with you for a while, telling him you want to leave the dog with him when you go away in few days. See what happens. And decide, or rather, the decision will be forced on you.
A decision already taken: Suppose you believe you have to decide whether to leave your longtime girl- or boyfriend. A way to do it is to announce to a common friend that you, in fact, left them already. The simplest scenario is to get an objective comment about your relationship. If you go and say "I am thinking of leaving", this calls for an advise, and it is judgmental by nature. If you talk of it as if in the past - "I left her" - you get much more. And open your eyes - somewhere there - you might find the answer you need. What if the information that you "left" bounces back to your dear one? This certainly could speed up any of the possible outcomes.
When the time comes - do not wait - make sure you are on the path of deciding, and taking that path will reveal the proper decision.
What is proper decision - only the future will tell.