Decisions may be difficult for many reasons. There may be too many pros and cons, making a balanced decision difficult. It may be that we simply don’t care. Or that we haven’t thought the whole thing through carefully. Here are ten ways to make a decision, growing in complexity from the totally superficial to the deeply considered:
1. Think about what you want to do. Get the options crystal clear in your mind.
2. Toss a coin.
3. Toss a coin. As you observe how it falls, check your gut feelings. Do you feel pleased, or do you wish you hadn’t made the toss? This will tell you which way you REALLY want to go (and you are absolutely NOT bound by the fall of the coin).
4. Pray, meditate, seek inspiration.
5. Make a list of the pros and cons of BOTH taking the action you are considering and of NOT taking that actions. Include your positive and negative feelings about the decision as pros or cons. Weight the balance.
6. Discuss your options with trusted and objective other people. (These may not necessarily be your closest friends.)
7. If you need more information, do research on the Internet or at a library.
8. If your decision involves choosing between A and B and both are important to you, seek a synthesis of the two. It could be that with such a synthesis you may not have to reject either. (As an example, I remember a woman who was torn between her passion for dancing and her deep interest in religion. She believed that the two were mutually exclusive – until she discovered the power of sacred dance, and found a church that included it in their liturgy. She was happily able to combine the two.)
9. Create a decision tree. This involves asking yes-or-no questions at every point. For example, the first question might be: Do I want to make this change? Then: Am I willing to make the effort to make the change? And so down the tree until a final decision, usually something about timing and resources, is answered.
10. Lastly check back over the decision tree again. At every point of decision, check the relevant decisions and actions and weigh them against your gut feelings, your values, your purpose and your vision. Only if all of these are in agreement with the decision you are inclined to make should you move forward.
One last suggestion… never forget the importance of #5. Always include the pluses and minuses of NOT making a change, as well as of making that change. Sometimes a craving for the new may lead to impulsively giving up more than you have recognized. Or not.