So, whenever the weekend arrives, like always I plan out the things I need to do, and as always, I am stuck trying to make the right choices amongst all the potential options:
- I have three books to read. Which one should I tackle first?
- Should I spend my Sunday evening with my friends, or would an introspective solo day trip to the countryside be better?
Have you ever felt the same and ended up either not doing anything or making choices that you regret later? For my examples above I stuck to using small things from my everyday life, but the point I’m trying to make is that when it comes to take big life decisions, we are too harsh on ourselves. For example, if your first business idea doesn’t work out, we tend to immediately give up on trying any further. Or if we can’t get our dream job on the first or second try, we end up thinking that it is impossible to ever get this dream job.
The Difference Between Your First Choice and the Optimal Choice:
But what we often don’t realize is that when something goes wrong as we’re attempting something complex, that is actually a sign that we are doing something right. Now I can hear you think “ What? That doesn’t sound right! “ Well, let me explain. If you are anything like myself from 10 years ago, you’re probably living with the mindset that your first choice is your optimal choice. But let me tell you, this is not true! The harsh reality we need to accept is that most of the time, the first attempt or choice doesn’t end up as well as we expect. What I’ve learned, though, is that being wrong isn’t always a bad thing. I’ve shared some of my lessons and experiences below:
- The choices I’ve made in the past that I now find stupid indicate that I am growing as a person. Think back and you’ll probably find similar experiences in your past. This is a clear sign of you becoming more mature. Though you definitely shouldn’t get disheartened thinking that all your past choices were wrong and just a waste of time, since the choices you made were the best you could have made as per the circumstances and the you from that moment.
- Always remember that there is no easy way to do anything. I like to say that if you have enough information about your first choice to make it your optimal choice, then you are not challenging yourself enough. Usually the best choices are made when you step out of your comfort zone.
- Now that you know there’s is a high chance your first choice will go wrong, the next best thing you can do is to start over again. The key to success is just one right choice. The sooner you learn from what you did wrong, the quicker you will discover what is right.
- The best way to handle problems is by splitting them into smaller and easy-to-tackle issues. You need to make multiple decisions everyday, so make a list and prioritize based on how critical each issue is. Doing so will help you to get more focused and make better decisions.
Now that you get the gist of why first choicesare much more than just wrong choices and just how much you can learn from them, the next question you might be wondering (and what this whole article is about) is how can you make the right choices in the first place?
How to Stop Wasting Time on Making Wrong Choices
The scenario is quite simple. Before coming to a conclusion, you have to measure both the pros as well as the cons of all the options you have been provided with and you’ll find there are always certain issues associated like insecurity, time factor, etc. If you also feel you spend too much time deciding on something and end up making the wrong choices, you are not alone! From past few years, I have been trying to find out different ways to make my decision making more effective and right! Even though I am not mastered in the same yet, there are some tips that helped me out getting through and I am sure, it will help you too.
1. Instead of making decisions, make commitments and act on them :
Many of the times, the choice that we should opt is right in front of our eyes, but we spend way too much time over analyzing the right decision. While making decisions you are often surrounded by too many ifs, but’s and what-if’s. I have heard many times, “ once you have decided to do it, you will do it!” But what I feel is the best thing is to get things done is to get started. I can summarize it with one line, “stop making decisions, make commitments and act on them”. Start setting deadline for everything and more often or not, you will end up settling with the best choice. This will speed up the process and help you to avoid any kind of unnecessary procrastination.
2. Don’t bind yourself with the fear of perfection :
Unless one has the brain of Einstein , most of us are not perfect, nor we can be as there is something always remaining that can make us better. So the rule that you should always make the perfect choice will keep you paralyzed. Letting go of the perfection is what needs to be done. The best way to find out what is right is to keep trying and testing. No matter if you couldn’t get success, at least it got you learn something new. As said by Thomas E. Adison — “ I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work! “ Always keep in mind, your last mistake is your best teacher and that’s why you should start making decisions without getting afraid with the fear of perfection.
3. Right information, not more information is the key to right decisions :
Most of us are blinded with the theory, that the more information we have, the better choices we can make. But this is not always true. Many times, you need the right kind of information instead of the more information to mould your choices towards the right direction. You will end up making far better choices if you will spend more time on what the problem is and avoiding rest of the unnecessary things rather than analyzing everything. Here is an example that will give you more idea on this. Suppose you are confused whether you should quit the job or not, then the best question you need to ask yourself is what exactly is making you unhappy? What are the things that are causing you stress? Is it your job or is it your work environment? Will changing job help actually help you out or you need to make some changes in your personality as well? Answering to these questions will help you to decide better. The better questions you will ask yourself, the more clear answers you will get.
4. Narrow down the problem :
If you are still stuck at finding the right decision, take a paper and write down what is exactly the issue that is making you wait like the outsider interference, lack of inspiration, the atmosphere, peer pressure, and what not! Now spend some time thinking your goals and start with analyzing the consequences of each of the choice and you will end up finding your best choice. The secret of success is to practice and flow. Keep practicing above mentioned tips and eventually, the ratio of your bad choices will be very low.
Friends, making decisions is something we all have to deal with and it is the ongoing process which is why it shouldn’t be that difficult. Most of the time we end up spending way too much time taking decisions but always keep in mind, it is not the end of the world. There is always a second chance. Hold on to that and see the choices you make as the opportunity of learning something new. At the end, you will be happy with every choice you made. Stop judging, start learning from your decisions and start growing!
Originally published at gupta-deepak.medium.com