Published: 17th November 2021
Decisions, decisions: Learning how to decide and making all your decisions count
To improve your decision-making skills, practice making more decisions every day. Own every decision and decide in favour of the best outcome you want
‘Hi, Rinku and Rahul,’ said Rakesh. ‘What would you like to have? Coffee or tea?’
‘Anything’s fine, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul.
‘Same here,’ said Rinku.
‘If this is how you make your decisions, then god save the world,’ teased Rakesh.
‘Why, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘If you can’t decide between coffee and tea, how will you make bigger decisions in life? ‘Anything’ is not a decision. You have a choice here. So decide and exercise your choice. So, what do you want?’
‘I really can’t make up my mind,’ said Rahul. ‘I like both.’
‘I’ll go with coffee, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘I thought it might cause you trouble so I said ‘anything’.’
‘This is how decision-making is for most of us. Our ability to decide is a power we all have and we give it away to someone else. Every decision we make is a powerful choice that can change the quality of our lives instantly. Don’t give it away and suffer other people’s decisions, whether it’s voting in elections or buying groceries or ordering tea.’
‘So, how does one get better at decision-making?’ asked Rahul. ‘I am really bad at it.’
‘Like how we get better at anything else,’ said Rakesh. ‘To become a good decision-maker, practice making more decisions.’
‘Practice decision making?’ asked Rahul. ‘Where? My life is boring.’
‘Actually, that’s not true,’ said Rakesh. ‘How we live our lives is itself a decision we can make. We just need to make more decisions for ourselves in our lives. Every time you feel indecisive, compromised, uncomfortable and paralysed when there’s a decision to be made, examine why. For example, you couldn’t decide between tea or coffee, why?’
‘I didn’t know which would be better,’ said Rahul uncomfortably. ‘I prefer tea but I wasn’t sure what Rinku wanted so I said anything goes.’
‘I didn’t want to trouble you so I went with anything,’ said Rinku.
‘That’s how we complicate things,’ said Rakesh. ‘By giving our decision-making power to someone else and being unhappy with it. Your decision is personal power. For good or bad it will be your decision. If you don’t have enough information, ask for it and then decide. Rahul could have asked whether tea is better or coffee is better and could have qualified it with a, ‘If it’s not a problem for you, I’d like tea’. It’s your decision that matters here, not the other person’s.’
‘One reason I don’t make decisions is that I am scared my decision will go wrong,’ said Rinku. ‘How can I address this?’
‘When you own your decision, you can’t go wrong,’ said Rakesh. ‘If you get what you want, you enjoy it. And if you don’t, you learn and become better at decision-making. When you don’t own your decisions, you’re not learning anything. Take responsibility for all your decisions starting now.’
‘Is there any way on how to make the best decisions, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.
‘Before every decision you make, big or small, ask yourself what is the best outcome from it that you want. What will make you happy? There will be a small voice inside you telling you what’s best for you. Listen to it. That’s your answer. With practice you get better at listening to ‘your’ voice. So now, what would make ‘you’ happy? Tea or coffee? Think about the best outcome you want, listen to your voice and decide.’
‘A cup of hot and strong tea would be really invigorating,’ said Rahul.
‘I would love some nice strong filter coffee,’ said Rinku. ‘Would be heaven.’
‘Aha, now we got somewhere,’ laughed Rakesh. ‘I can see you’re already enjoying the fruits of owning your decision. When everyone owns their decision and is happy, the world’s a better place isn’t it?’
‘True, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘By not owning our decisions we could all have ended up getting what we do not want and being miserable.’
‘I’m wondering where to practice it?’ asked Rahul. ‘Most of my decisions are like this coffee or tea stuff.’
‘Start with small decisions,’ said Rakesh. ‘Every action of yours is a decision. Enhance a possibility. Ordering food in a restaurant, buying a gift, what you consume, how you deal with people you meet…everything has beautiful possibilities. Just ask yourself what’s the best possibility and whether it gets you the best outcome you want and decide in its favour. Start now.’
‘That’s wonderful,’ said Rinku. ‘I’ve decided to practice owning all my decisions consciously from now.’
Pro Tip: To improve your decision-making skills, practice making more decisions every day. Own every decision and decide in favour of the best outcome you want.