Episode 055 – How to make decisions quickly, two practical approaches to help you avoid indecision and more
In a world with too many choices, it becomes ever more difficult to actually make a decision.
- What food should I order tonight?
- Where do I get my news information from?
What social media app do I use?
- What movie should I watch?
- What book should I read?
- What exercise routine should I follow?
What diet should I stick to?
- Who should I go out on a date with?
- Where and how should I invest my money?
- What personal development education should I opt into?
If any of this feels familiar, it’s because it is. In fact, the list is endless because any area of interest is now available through our smart devices. This means our basic level decision making muscle has become weak. So when it comes to important ‘big decisions’, we don’t have the muscle power to effectively decide.
Instead, we opt to stay undecided. The consequence of which is regret, anxiety or valuable time wasted.
To help restrengthen the muscle Dr Ro and Harminder talk through two practical approaches to make decisions quicker.
- A Pros and Cons balance sheet
- A consequences balance sheet
Both of which are covered in more detail on this weeks Seekardo Short.
Full transcribe below…
Harms: Hello it’s Harms here and welcome to another episode of the Seekardo show.
Today we have a Seekardo short and we are talking about decision making, specifically in the area of how to make a decision quickly.
Let’s get into it Ro how to make a decision quickly.
Dr Ro: This is a great topic you picked actually because there are different types of decisions like do we go for a coffee after this podcast? Shall we go out for dinner tonight? Shall we go for a run and then you’ve got like do we change our children’s education? Do I go and ask this lady out for a date?
Every decision we make has a different impact. I think the first thing to ask yourself is, how meaningful is this decision because what you’re alluding to is more decisions that people grapple with a little bit.
Harms: Yes I wouldn’t say this is the small stuff the everyday stuff which actually I do appreciate some people take a long time deliberating on, what takeaway shall I get?
But if we focus on those bigger, more meaningful things, maybe life pivoting, life shifting decisions.
Dr Ro: Two simple approaches.
If you’ve got to appoint where you’ve got a big decision, life decision, there is a block you’ve gone round and round it and you’re grappling with that at night and you still not sure what to do. There’s nothing wrong with that. Even to this day I think there’s something beneficial to bouncing off others, but then it gets to a point where you just have to make a decision. It might impact your children and other people around you.
An important book is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and in that book he covers some of the characteristics of successful people in history at that time. These are multimillionaires so financial success he’s measuring but also is how they move through life and make decisions and in the top think 30+ characteristics that he identified the narrow it down and decision making was right up there in the top and they found to give an idea, they interviewed over 25,000 men and women and they found that one of the single most important decision-making versus failure is people who are indecisive failed consistently.
They kept wobbling and they couldn’t make a decision and they constantly failed in what they were doing. Whereas people who were successful yes, they had setbacks but they kept moving forward were very quick to make decisions, make decisions quickly.
They didn’t change the decisions; those who failed actually swayed and changed that decision. They hadn’t put enough impact meaning behind the decision.
For example, in our education, what have you seen that’s frustrating for you when people come along there’s an opportunity to change their life and maybe do a course, and they’re like 10, 15 years older than you. Here you are 25 doing this and you look at some who are 40 frustrated they walk in and walk out again.
Harms: That is a perfect example. What we observe, what we see over the weekend is they are flip-flopping in their own mind. Should I do it, shouldn’t I do it? That is indecision.
Dr Ro: It is validated by external conversations.
Somebody who is not going through this. The challenge they have is when they leave the room, or when they say I still don’t know, I’m sitting on the fence, I’m still unsure if they take that back into their life. They leave us, our environment, our education system and they very much don’t know whether to do it.
The challenge here is they spend the next year, two years talking about the decision they could have made and get frustrated in 10 years’ time they could bump into me or yourself and be like you’re real. You are a property investor and it’s like I wish I did this 10 years ago, but the problem is they live with that indecision.
The worst thing is the anger built up towards the other person who they allowed to influence them, especially in partnerships. We see it so much they’re like I want to do this but my wife won’t let me or my husband won’t let me and so the decisions made for them by not making the decision it’s made for them by someone else and they’ve got to live by that person’s set of rules and values and the decision was completely taken out of their hands. When in fact if they made the decision they’re in control.
I think that’s the point we want to get across by making the decision whichever way you go you make that decision, you’ve then got to reinforce that decision to make that decision right. It’s only the right decision if you then go make it right as crazy as that may sound.
Harms: Often it means seeing it through doing the work.
Dr Ro: I could say no you shouldn’t do that and you can say screw you Ro I’m in control of this and the minute you make the decision I have no influence over you as you’re putting the work in, the hours and the study.
Harms: It applies to simple things in life like applying to go to the gym now see it through go to the gym as you would that’s like an everyday example, but when you magnify it to big meaningful decisions should I start a business? Should I change my career? Should I change partners? Should I move house? What school should I send my children to?
Dr Ro: There are two approaches that I’ve used in the past and they’re both forms of a balance sheet. A simple way to do this is a pros and cons one. Blank piece of paper line down the middle and then you have the decision at the top you have to write the decision at the top of the page so you’re clear what is and then underneath that left column is pros, right hand side is cons or you do it however you want.
All you do is go down in and you list out the pros and the cons. If you do it on lined paper that works slightly better, because ultimately we want to cross them off. So if I make the decision to do this what are the benefits and it is a quick process.
The second one is a bit deeper and you list them out.
Harms: For example changing my career I get a pay rise.
Dr Ro: So what’s the benefits of this new job? Pay rise, chance to explore new opportunities which I’ve not been able to do in my current job, more responsibility, travel more.
Harms: The company’s ethics. I like the way they do things. I like their values.
Dr Ro: That’s the pro side, you do that first then go down the con side. You try not to look at the pros because the challenge is you can’t skew this, there are different approaches but I think covering up the pros it’s completely unbiased now.
The same thing when I’m looking at stock market trade for example, the easiest thing to do is you’re only looking for why you should trade this.
A fantastic approach is why shouldn’t I trade this way? Only after you’ve lost on the trade you go I didn’t see that, same thing here so you cover the pros. So what could be the cons?
Harms: Travel, it will take twice as long to get there.
Dr Ro: Fuel costs.
Also I’m going to have to rearrange my day with the school drop-off because the company’s times don’t fit in.
Harms: My partner is not keen on me doing this because she is worried or he is worried that there won’t be security, stability.
Dr Ro: Another con could be that the company doesn’t have as many openings at the top whereas your current company does if you stay longer.
Progression is slower. But there’s broader aspects, but you don’t look at that you look at the pros.
Harms: That’s the danger you go, what about that? I won’t write that down.
Dr Ro: Exactly, you write them down and then you go there are 12 pros and four cons so it outweighs it.
The other way is to look at similar pros and cons you go the career ladder one is like really expensive opportunities to do lots of things, the con is that it doesn’t have much structure above, so not very far from me to go in terms of up in the company so you might cross one against that and you try and cross a pro versus a con. That is another way to do it.
Harms: are we saying out of those two which is the most important to you?
Dr Ro: How I do it is I try to balance a similar type thing, for example the pay rise could be beneficial versus currently the pay rise can go up because it’s got bonuses, but then you’ve got no tier above it so what’s your long-term plan there?
But a pro could be I can diversify and if I diversify I might be able to go to another division there are more opportunities over there. So it’s an individual thing. The more you put rules around the pros and cons balance sheet now you’re going to know what’s right or wrong with the decision process. Sometimes you look at it and it is so obvious, sometimes it’s like that’s obvious if it is less obvious you can just do the crossing out or you just go there are 20 pros there and six cons.
Then if you’re still deliberating it’s something deeper, so I would then go to the second approach.
Harms: One of the things you may feel or realise as you’re doing this certainly for myself I immediately know. As soon as I write a certain pro down or con down I’m like that’s the big one that’s the most important one that will sway my decision either way.
Dr Ro: If you can do it. It’s not much different from when I do an interventional coaching process.
If you take your friend they would take the pad and they would say talk to me about the pros and as you’re talking ask them to watch your face. Your face gives lots of clues away and notice in yourself the tightness or the relaxed feeling it’s just a knowing.
That can sometimes come out when somebody else is writing and you’re just using your body and expressing that’s another approach to doing it in a more interactive way.
Harms: You spoke about the second approach or the second stage.
Dr Ro: It could just be another approach, by the way pros and cons don’t work in your head, that’s the one thing it cannot be done in your head it’s got to be done down on paper because your heart can come into a bit then and the expression of it as well.
Harms: For those logical people, you can only hold so many things in your head at once.
Dr Ro: This is the consequences balance sheet and you might think it’s similar but it’s deeper. The consequences balance sheet would be okay if I don’t go down this path of going into the job, what are the consequences positively? If I stay doing what I’m doing, what are the positive consequences to my life, to my career?
I would say do a combination of both those things. We’re not looking at the pros and cons of the job now, we’re looking at the consequences to my life if I stay doing what I’m doing. If I don’t make the transition to the new job what are the consequences to my life positively? So the same rhythm, kids stay in the same school, security.
Also talk about the feeling of it as well and really dig down into that and that may be a bit more of a written description. It’s more emotional. The consequences balance sheet is not a quick one.
Just bullet point five or six lines and then you go the opposite.
What are the negative consequences of staying here?
If we stay here you fast forward a year, two, five how will you feel? How’s my emotional development going to feel? How’s my growth going to feel? How will I feel financially? They’re very specific questions.
If I were coaching somebody I would be digging deep as I want to get to the pain of staying doing the same thing and then you go across to if I then go to the job what are the positive consequences? What are the negative consequences?
It’s actually a balance sheet for consequences for making the decision to change to the new job and then positive and negative consequences of staying where you are. It is actually a bit more complicated and not as quick.
Harms: Don’t rush it.
Harms:One question I have is can you do this as recently we did a podcast about exploring different schools. Do we pivot, do we send our children to a different school maybe a progressive school maybe an alternative school whatever the choices we suggested.
Can this be done as a family, a group?
Dr Ro: If it’s a personal decision maybe the career one 85% is definitely down to your own personal growth, but then there are family consequences as well, but definitely something like that.
Sometimes those conversations can be quite interesting because different views come up and even you myself talking to my daughter and my other half I definitely got a slightly different view. I’m slightly more technologically biased in some areas and so I want to see some things in the schooling system that maybe need to be there, so if you have the consequence conversation it really stirs up. You could throw the question what if I or she or if they that’s the sort of approach it can be.
Think of it as a crossroads on one side is a balance sheet of the consequences of if you do go and do this thing and then the other side is if I don’t go and do this thing.
But remember, if I don’t go and do it these are the positive and negative consequences. If I do it there’s a positive or negative consequence and what this does is it stirs up an emotion where you go and we’ve been through.
We’ve talked about Communicating with Impact CWI as a product as a brand and some of the changes in people’s lives and we had the conversation about if we go and do more seminars how it is going to feel? Then we’ve gone leading into the event.
How does it feel?
Harms: The flipside if we don’t deliver, what is the consequence?
Dr Ro: The more you wrestle with it, the easier it’s going to be to go intuitively. This doesn’t feel right and then you go to the pros and cons because one is slightly more left brain the consequences are really deep. For some people it doesn’t take long because they go. I don’t need to go any further and you go out to the future Harms it’s not like a year out you go five, 10 years out.
What are the consequences in 10 years if I don’t do this or I do this? People go, it’s clear it will affect me, my kids, my health. I don’t want to do this. That’s the other way to approach it and both are effective.
Harms: It gets easier, it gets better, because this is a muscle we can train. We’ve had conversations and sometimes, we are talking about bigger decisions and the decisions we make in a four, five-minute conversation the decision is made and that’s where we like the listeners to go to. some people might say but those big, meaningful decisions can take me years to decide on.
Dr Ro: That is because they are living their consequences instead of imagining the consequences. This is the way to compress it in NLP timeline therapy. It’s a way of taking a concept and you go out along that timeline and then we ask questions, but we’re doing it now. We go out 10 years, you can walk to 10 years in a conversation and then look back and go that doesn’t feel right and you can compress it down to a 10-minute, five minute, one hour process, but not a 10 year process, which is why people get pissed off, frustrated.
Harms: They look back in regret.
Once you’ve made the decision the regret disappears because you can pivot. This process is balanced. You’ve got the logical side to it, there’s an emotional process and you can combine the two.
Dr Ro: It’s topical and personal for us as we’ve gone through a lot of that in the last three or four months. If you ask us can we make decisions all the time?
No, we still have to go through it and some things require a few weeks of wrestling but not years, as there are other third parties involved and that’s where it can take a little longer.
Harms: You have got two ways to help you make the decision quicker. That’s myself and Ro signing out.
We shall see you in the next episode.
Get exclusive perks for podcast supporters now!
All of this creation is supported by the listeners and people just like you
To say thank you for supporting the podcast, we give supporters special perks.