How often do we hear a little voice inside of us, or feel in our gut that we should not do something, and we do it anyway? If this resonates with you, you can think of more than one example of this and wish that you had listened to the voice or followed the feeling you had! If you have not experienced this, you can read this to better understand others who are different from you.
Decision making is something at which we all need to be proficient. How we make decisions, of course, varies, and has something to do with our personality. Another variable in decision making is how confident we are, for if we lack confidence, we can be immobilized and not make a decision quickly enough for fear that we will make the wrong decision. On the other end of the spectrum is the one who makes rash decisions, and that is no better than failing to make a decision, or not making a decision quickly enough. Another example is the person who fails to make a decision due to being in denial or wanting more (and sometimes too much) information before making a decision. There is a difference in needing data before making a decision and analysis paralysis.
The focus of this is not to give an analysis of decision making. The intent is to help us clearly understand how valuable the voice inside which points to a particular decision, or the feeling we have that a particular decision is the right one.
How often have we heard the voice or felt the feeling, and the messages sent us were clear, yet we went ahead and did it anyway?! Yes, me too. When we have the benefit of time and distance, it is often clear what we should have done or not done. It is also often clear at the time we are making the decision, yet we override the information because of our strong will! That is what we need to avoid, if and when we can, or better said, if and when we will!
Sometimes it is difficult to discern what the voice and the feeling are telling us. In those situations, we should hold (“Know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em!”) and not do anything, at least for a while. You have heard the phrase, “If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!” On the other hand, when the voice and the feeling are clear, and we just want to do it anyway, well, we can, but we may regret it later.
When making a decision is difficult, we need to get the facts and data out of our heads and onto paper to be able to clearly evaluate the choices involved in the decision. Sometimes this act alone will clarify our best decision. Those of us who are strong-willed and impulsive sometimes (or even often!) avoid this step because we do not want to slow down to do it! But when we do follow this process and move in the direction that the data leads us, we make the best decisions.
It is not always easy to know if the voice or the feeling is giving us accurate advice. Sometimes we are not clear about the information it is giving us. We may have an unsettled feeling, and it may be a feeling of nervousness or insecurity. That is valuable information that is telling us that this is not something we should do, or that it isn’t the right time. While we may not know what the right decision or time is, we know that this isn’t. If we override the information, we can make a bad decision. This is a time to hold and wait until clarity is found. While some of us are very good at forging ahead anyway, we should slow ourselves down and wait. Nothing is usually lost in waiting, other than a little time.
There is more information about making a decision, but none more important than following the voice and the feeling that tells us what to do, or not do. We are well served if we follow its good advice.