Decisions! Decisions! 10 Ways To Make Right Decisions

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Every day, we make and are asked to make decisions on a wide variety of things.

Almost by habit, we don’t need to put much thought into some decisions. Being creatures of habit, we operate by guidelines, principles and rules that we have previously established for ourselves.

Decisions you make today shape your future.

Decisions you make today shape your future.

Proper decisions are essential for the direction your life. But poor, unhealthy choices lead to bad decisions and even worse outcomes. Brian Tracy says,

Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.

Sometimes we are asked to make very difficult decisions, and we risk loss if we are wrong.
Many people are afraid of taking those risks, so shy away from making them altogether.

And sometimes the choices we need to make are not only painful, but necessary.
They can leave us feeling lost, confused or even bewildered.

But if you are in a position of leadership, you know that indecision is not a luxury you can afford.
Leadership demands decisions in a timely manner.

I say,

Indecision is the first stop on the road to nowhere.

I encourage you to read my previous post entitled 11 Creative Ways To Make Conscious Choices if you’ve not already done so.

The Quality Of Our Decisions

We all have hundreds, perhaps thousands of thoughts a day. I once read that the average person makes about 600 decisions a day. Regardless of the number, many of the decisions we make are very important.

What things influence the quality of our decisions?

  • creative thinking abilities
  • cultural boundaries
  • emotional response, such as fear
  • false information
  • fatigue
  • intoxication
  • peer pressure
  • personal biases and philosophy
  • personal priorities
  • societal expectations

I recently read The Mastery Of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. He outlines, in the 4th chapter, the distinct
disadvantages of living in fear. Indecision is based in fear. Making the decision to love, to operate from that place of being offers great freedom.

I think one of the highest and best decisions we can ever make is to BE LOVE TO OTHERS.

10 Ways To Make The Right Decisions Every Time

Okay… most the time… because we can never be 100% certain of our decisions until the outcome is evident.

1. ACCURATE ANSWERS. Do you have all the pertinent facts and supporting information? And what degree of accuracy is attributed to them? How reliable are your sources? Remember that opinions and supposition are not facts. Wallace Stevens states, “Accuracy of observation is the equivalent of accuracy of thinking.

2. COMPLETE CLARITY. Clarify terms. Make certain you understand the nature of the problem, including its alignment to reality. The late Thomas Leonard said “Clarity affords focus.” When obtaining information, also ensure you are clear on terms.

3. CONSIDER CONSEQUENCES. Make certain you understand implications and ramifications of the decision you are making. Think also of who your decision impacts. If you’ve done your best, you should have peace with your decision. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, “I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime.

4. CREATIVE CONSIDERATION. The ability to think creatively allows you more options, such as developing contingency plans. It also means entertaining alternative solutions and options. Having given consideration to circumstances, problems and situations beforehand also saves you time when they occur. Bryant H. McGill says that, “Within the hearts men, loyalty and consideration are esteemed greater than success.

5. DUE DILIGENCE. Due diligence is giving the due care and consideration necessary to satisfy all questions. In other words, you’ve rolled up your sleeves and done your homework. William Penn said, “Patience and Diligence, like faith, remove mountains.

6. FAITH FILLED. You may have heard the expression… Starve your doubts and feed your faith.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given a spirit of fear or timidity, but of love, power and a sound mind.” The Message says it this way… “God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.” Replace worry with trust. Replace doubts with faith. This will give you the confidence you need to make the right decision.

Sometimes we are called upon to make complex and serious decisions.

Sometimes we are called upon to make complex and serious decisions.

7. QUALITY QUESTIONS. Quality decisions come from asking quality questions. Many times the answer you seek is found in the nature of the problem itself. Answers also come from asking the proper questions.

Here are a few to consider:

  • Does this problem require a short-term or a long-term solution? Within what time frame?
  • How serious or widespread is the problem?
  • In solving this issue, are you staying true to your vision, goals and objectives?
  • Is it outside the scope of your abilities or the abilities of those you delegate?
  • Is this something within your power to control?
  • What factors and costs are involved in the problem?

8. PROPER PLANNING. What are you capable of steps do you need to take? What has worked before? If this is a new situation, what does your experience inform you? Alan Lakein says, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Peter F. Drucker says, “Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information.

9. RISKS-REWARDS. No risk always means no reward. Double, triple, and quadruple nothing is still nothing. Anytime the rewards outweigh the risks, it is time to take action. 🙂 One of the top strategic thinkers in the world, Gary Ryan Blair,  says, “Creative risk taking is essential to success in any goal where the stakes are high. Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity.

10. TAKE TIME. Think before you act. Take time to think things through. Sometimes waiting is the best thing you can do. For example, if you’re upset, put off making any serious decisions until you’re in a better state of mind. Robert Schuller said, “Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.

For the acronym buffs DECISIONS means…
Deliberately Exercising Consideration In Settling Information Offering New Solutions

I hope this post helps you to make decisive, deliberate, definitive decisions.

What do YOU think? Have your say…

Are there tips you care to share that will help others?

What do you do when you have a difficult decision to make?

Please inform your experience by sharing your valued thoughts here. Thank you very much!

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About Bill Butler
William A. Butler is a John C.Maxwell certified coach. He loves to add value to others and aspiring to be a great humanitarian, lives by four words: BE LOVE TO OTHERS. William often goes by "Bill" and is a poet, a songwriter and has an upcoming novel.

27 thoughts on “Decisions! Decisions! 10 Ways To Make Right Decisions

  1. Sean Van Zant says:

    Hey Bill:

    I think that these are some great solutions for decision making! I am so lacking in many of these areas.

    I appreciate this post as I do all of your posts!

    God Bless,

    • Hey Sean,
      I appreciate you and thank you for your feedback. It’s good to know you can get some use from this.
      One of the best decisions you can make is to be successful in all the ways that add value to others.

      Have a blessed day!

  2. Bill,
    I think I had shared with you once in past about my action plan in difficult situations. I have a great habit of sleeping over it. I literally go and sleep because difficult situations probably get me tired and I really need a good solid nap for a few hours for my mind to work right or make a decision.

    And most of the time (not all), this works like a magic because I don’t regret the decisions taken after I getup 🙂

    That is one step you haven’t listed here… I will add “SOLID SLEEP” 🙂 as the 11th step! LOL!

    Thank you for a very powerful post. I am sure it has many tips that others will benefit from.

    Kumar Gauraw recently posted…Body Language Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Business MeetingMy Profile

    • Hi Kumar,
      Thanks for that extra tip! Just shows that we can’t think of everything 🙂 especially when we’re tired.
      I agree…Solid Sleep is absolutely vital to making proper decisions.

      All the best!

    • Hello Kumar,

      The solid sleep element is a great idea if you have a lot of time (or at least time enough) to sleep over things. Sadly, some decisions have to be made in the span of a second, for instance. What would really be important then?

      For me, it’s just two lone things: the full facts and the consequences! Though I am not always right, I hit the mark more than 95% of the time.

      What do you think?

      Akaahan Terungwa recently posted…YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY!My Profile

      • Hi Terungwa,

        By saying that I do sleep over things I don’t mean to convey a message that I am a procrastinator by any means 🙂

        In fact, those who now me, they know I like to make quick decisions and I have a habit of making the decisions first and then making them right later. And most of my life decisions have been made that way and like you mentioned in your case, I have done pretty well so far.

        But, when it comes to make some tough decisions in difficult situation. Things like making strategic decisions with a lot of pain points and there doesn’t seem to be any good decision, my mind gets tired and I go to sleep. And when I go to sleep, I really sleep. And most of the time, I have seen, decisions made after a good solid sleep, also prove a point that most problems in our lives aren’t urgent and they will look much smaller if we just rush to conclusions 🙂

        Kumar Gauraw recently posted…All You Need To Know About Managed WordPress HostingMy Profile

  3. I think 600 is too small of a number 😉

    Lot of the decisions we make everyday are made by our unconscious mind (which is great…imagine if we had to make those decisions every minute…we wouldn’t even be able to get out of bed..I mean, if we do get out, what do we do first? Brush our teeth? Comb our hair? Eat breakfast…run around? Check emails? Choices are endless!).

    I think the best way to make the better decision is to stop and think. Of course, that is not possible in some cases. In some situations, we just have to go with it, see how it goes and learn from that experience. We can’t expect to succeed every time (or even most of the time), right?

    Planning is also crucial – when to plan, where to plan and how to plan 😉 I do love planning, but sometimes it could be a tiresome activity!

    And of course, make that decision to give ourselves a break…our brains like pleasure…it needs the dopamine levels (Sure, we could survive a few days without any breaks or rewards, but beyond that it will get tiresome…we will eventually lose our interest in the activity).

    Anyways, thank you for sharing these wonderful tips, Bill!
    Jeevan Jacob John recently posted…No free time? Just change when you think!My Profile

    • Hi Jeevan,
      I did not look for the hard science on the number of decisions we make. I’m sure some lab out there has done so.
      Of the ones we do make, consciously or otherwise, I ask myself… How do they align with my purpose?

      Some people could also decide to stay in bed all day, but what opportunities will they miss then? If we operate on a sort of mindless entertainment level, that wouldn’t get us very far, would it?

      Taking time to think in regards to your goals and values is important. You’re right. Sometimes leaders are called upon to make decisions with very limited time. They trust their experience to inform them.

      Yes, planning is important and some people even plan how they’re going to plan 🙂 but action is better!
      You’re so welcome! Have a fantastic day!

  4. Hey Bill,

    What do I do? Well at first I trust my gut, but that’s not good enough. So then I go to the Big Guy Above and pray on it. That clears my head.

    Then, if it is an important decision, I get my good old paper and pen out and on one side write down my benefits, the other the cost of time, money, etc.

    This is usually how I weigh my decision making process. And of course, I ALWAYS talk it over with my hubs. I like making decisions with him so we can bounce off ideas to one another.

    Love the acronym!

    donna merrill recently posted…Spread Your Wings And Challenge Yourself!My Profile

    • Hey Donna,
      Thanks for sharing how you make decisions. As you have pointed out with your husband, I think communication is vital, especially for major decisions. 😉 I think trusting your instincts is usually reliable, unless of course your conscience is sounding alarm bells.
      I go to God first and pray over the matter. I have found that patience in this regard is important because usually God has something better in mind than anything I could have planned.

      Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  5. Mary Stephenson says:

    Hi Bill

    Sometimes our decisions have been made poorly and we never know how that is until we see the outcome. It all becomes very clear after the fact. But we live through our decisions good or bad and hope that even for those that didn’t turn out so good, that somehow we can recover from them. Perhaps we make those bad decisions to learn something in life that we need to know. Maybe it puts us in a place where we need to be, which never would have happened if we didn’t make a bad decision. Anyways for all the poor decisions I have made, I sure hope there was a higher purpose for the suffering!

    But on the lighter side, if we are faced with major decisions that is a fine list to follow, in making a correct decision.


    • Hi Mary,
      Life has a way of teaching us its lessons. If we never made a poor decision, we would always think ourselves right.
      I think the deeper learning we all benefit from comes from realizing our own errors in judgment without having to be told by anyone else why it was wrong. Of course, this is all very subjective. What we deem as wrong for ourselves, others wouldn’t bat an eye over.

      I think some lessons we need to learn to form our character, to be more caring, to be less insensitive, etc. That deep learning informs our conscience to alert us in future.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated 🙂
      Have an enjoyable rest of the weekend.

  6. Hi Bill,

    Decision making is a big thing, indeed. At times we may get paralyzed in front of a decision we need to make.

    Back in 2001 when my ex-husband and I separated I almost got into a plane to move back to France. At that time I was really ready to go back home. Weirdly enough, you might say, my brother convinced me to stay in the US, which I did.

    I made the decision to let my brother convinced me that I was better off here, but to this day I’ve been wondering if it was the right decision. I guess I think it was now, but I didn’t think so for just about a decade.

    I agree lack of decision is all based in fear. It’s my fear that made me listen to my brother back then, rather then sticking to my decision.

    Thanks for this very good topic.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted…Why French People May Be Rude To You And How To Avoid ItMy Profile

    • Hi Sylviane,
      Yes, fear holds many people back, not only from making decisions, but also from taking the action necessary to move forward.
      Sometimes, we listen to others when we know deep down what our heart is telling us. If you have no peace with the decision you’ve made, it may be because your heart is yet trying to tell you what you need. But only you can know that for certain.

      You’re very welcome. Enjoy the rest of the weekend 🙂

  7. Hi Bill,
    I hadn’t thought about how many times a day we make decisions. I guess it makes sense with all the little things we do unconsciously throughout the day. It’s the important ones that I ponder over – make a list and try to move forward with. I love the series of books by Don Miguel Ruis, I have read them several times. Thanks for sharing such thoughtful points. Have a wonderful day, Lisa
    Lisa Magoulas recently posted…Coconut Braised Chickpeas w/ Spinach & Sun-Dried TomatoesMy Profile

    • Hi Lisa,
      I agree with you. I don’t think any one of us would make a conscious choice to disregard our health or hygiene. We do many things from habituation. Speaking of Don Miguel Ruiz, one thing I could have mentioned is what he calls the mitote… too many voices.
      If we have this problem, it will be very hard to make proper decisions. Ultimately, we need to make choices that align with our own purpose.

      Kind Regards,

  8. Hello Bill,

    As you rightly noted, getting all the facts straight and analyzing the consequences are very important for a brilliant decision. Funny enough, the two (out of the ten) are the only elements I get to consider (and put into perspective) before I make a decision.

    The reasons are not far fetched however: having all the facts guarantees that you know what you are doing…knowing the consequences means your answers are completely foolproof!

    Thanks for sharing this…do have a very great weekend!

    Akaahan Terungwa recently posted…YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY!My Profile

    • Hello Terungwa 🙂
      You are wise to consider the facts and consequences. There are times though when we can’t think of or know about all that we need to consider, and those create unforeseen consequences. In those cases, we simply need to learn from our mistakes and move forward.
      Have a great weekend as well. Thank you for taking time to share what works for you. 🙂
      Best Regards,

      • Great thinking Bill. You see, you cannot get it right 100% all the time and that is what scares the hell out of most folks!

        I make decisions that sometimes bounce, believe me. However, when such decisions do bounce, I simply shrug my shoulders and move forward carrying the experience deep within my brain…that’s how a man learns and progresses!

        Akaahan Terungwa recently posted…YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY!My Profile

  9. Hi Bill

    What an awesome and “big” topic. I used to make decisions very quickly but as I got older and realized how many wrong decisions I made because I had not through properly I became slower at making them.

    Like Donna though I still tend to trust my gut. I also like Kumar will sleep on it. I also get tired and feel exhausted when I am confused as to which way to go. Once I make the decision I always feel so much lighter.

    I agree with Sylviane too that fear can paralyses us at times. Some of the worst times in my life involved having to downsize our business and let people go. Those decisions had me sick with so many horrible emotions. I can still remember it so well.

    A great post Bill, thanks

    Sue Price recently posted…Good Books to Read : Part 1My Profile

    • Hi Sue,
      I trust you are well. Yes, it is a big subject, and very subjective. I think you’re wise to take whatever time you need to make the right decisions for you. In this regard, it could be seen as the positive side to procrastination… deliberately taking time to get the facts and think things through thoroughly. I think if you’ve done your best, you should have peace with whatever you decide.

      Yes, I recall you sharing some of those experiences in some of your earlier posts. At least all that is behind you now and I’m sure you found the learning invaluable 😉

      I appreciate your thinking on this. Have a wonderful week!

  10. Hey Bill,

    I was grappling a big decision recently and I actually used one of your tips without even knowing! I said, “If everything felt apart and I lost it all from this…. would I be okay?” The answer was yes so this weekend I’m following through because if everything goes right and I have FAITH it will, the the results could be AMAZING!

    Thanks for writing,

    Zach recently posted…Why Go Vegan | Why I Went VeganMy Profile

    • Hey Zach,
      I know how busy you’ve been with school, so I want to let you know how much I appreciate you taking time to share.
      I will be here rooting you on, that whatever you wanted to see come to pass, that it will happen for you. Faith plays a huge role in decision making. Another thing that happens, is if I have any major decisions to make, I go to a cemetery. It is usually a very quiet place to go away from all the hubbub, and it also helps put things in perspective time wise.

      All the best! Have a great weekend! Keeping my fingers crossed for you. 🙂

  11. Great points tossed here William. Having Confidence can help to make good decision and always take time to decide something because decisions should not be taken instantly. Think, analyse then take decision but do take.

    I loved the line “making any decision is better than making nothing”. Good post.
    Atish Ranjan recently posted…How to Motivate Yourself?My Profile

    • Hello Atish,
      Confidence in your decisions comes with experience. The more thoughtful we are with respect to the decisions we make, the more likely we are to meet with success. Glad you enjoy my words. Indecision cripples enthusiasm and accomplishes nothing.

      All the best!

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