Your life reflects all the decisions you’ve ever made. It’s the result of the way you’ve played the cards that were dealt you. No doubt many decisions you’re proud of, some you’re not, and some you did the best you could from that special location between a rock and a hard place. The thing about making decisions today is that the options are overwhelming, Whose idea was it to create pulp-free orange juice, anyway?
Personally, I never thought about the offensive pulp in my oj. Ever. Until my youngest daughter, at the ripe age of 9, informed me that she would only drink pulp-free orange juice from that point on; she found the pulp in the orange juice intolerable. Are you kidding me? I mean, how can you tell if your oj has pulp in it or not? How does one acquire the skill of pulp detection, is it like wine tasting?
Example #2. Sugar is a delicious treat destination in Charleston (and note that we take food very serious in our home.) It’s difficult to make choices there because everything is wonderful. In the spirit of adventure, I recently decided to try something new: a pecan bar thing. Imagine my surprise to find out my decision was not complete yet. The owner asked me if I wanted an edge piece, a corner piece or an inside piece. Are you kidding me?
So here’s how it is today: 1) Overwhelming variety of choices. 2) No blueprint or guidebook. How could there be, no one’s been through this before.
Not that I have all the answers, I have learned A LOT about decision making, from being stubborn and learning the hard way and from a precious handful of wise mentors.
1. Automatically consider every decision lucrative (i.e. profitable.)
If you didn’t actually make money from it, you learned something. No one can take that valuable lesson away from you. What you learned can be profitable to you now.
Use this to stop regretting any decision from the past. Right this very minute. You always act the best you know at any moment, given the circumstances.
2. Realize that there is no magic formula for making decisions.
Donald Trump advises people to treat each decision like a lover. I’m not too crazy about that metaphor but each decision is unique. Some you can make right away, some not. Sometimes you get outside opinions or expertise, sometimes not. Some you can get the answer from logic, others are more heart-centered. If you’re not sure, it’s a heart thing.
3. Get clear on what you really want.
The more you know about what you want to experience, the closer you get to that experience. Write down a day from your ideal life. What time do you get up? What is your bedroom like? Who is in the bed with you? What’s for breakfast, who fixes it? Etc.
4. The more decisions you can automate, you can direct more energy to the Really Big Decisions or RBDs.
What can you automate? Your weekly menus, what you wear, where you go out, how you spend much of your time, priorities like exercise.
Do you think I get up every morning and ask myself if I want to go to the pool and swim 110 lengths of that thing? I absolutely do not. But I have automated that process so that most of the time, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I take one child to high school, which is conveniently located near the pool, I go dressed to swim and get my derriere to the pool right after I drop her off. It’s just what I do.
You can read more about getting all productive about it here.
5. The more RBDs, the faster you move toward your goals. (RBDs: Really Big Decisions.)
RBDs are the decisions that make the difference. You could also compare making RBDs to creating art. I use Seth Godin’s definition of art:
1. Art is made by a human being.
2. Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
3. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording….but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.
If you hate making decisions and let someone else make them for you, you give away your power.
So….what is your art about? Have you decided?