How to Make any Decision in Minutes (Without all the Noise)
Our life path is a long sequence of decisions. Each one winding us into the future and dictating what form our lives will take. Making the right decisions is, therefore, the best way towards living a fulfilling life. My personal goal for my clients is to keep fear out of decision making. In my opinion, allowing fear and doubt to guide us is a sure path to living a life we don't enjoy.
The beauty of this process is it not only helps make decisions painless, but it also catapults you toward your goals much faster.
To make this simple, you must do a little work ahead of time. How can you make a proper decision without knowing what outcome you hope to achieve?
I'm going to show you a simple process for efficient decision making created for military fighter pilots. But to use it, you must first have a clear objective and Mission.
Craft Your Mission
The best way to make great choices is to understand what you want out of life. We must be thorough in this process. The more searching and self-aware we are, the better the result will be. If we are prepared to be honest about what we truly want (not the opinions of others), we are ready to begin the process of crafting our vision for the future. From there, we can create our mission statement.
What is your ideal life? (be specific)
What are your core values?
What excites you?
What type of people do you want around you?
After digging into questions like these, you'll start to form a picture of the person you want to become. Start to write out your longer-term goals that align with all of the questions above. For example, your goals should serve your ideal life, core values, be exciting, and include people you hope to include in your life.
Even this simple process will make the path a little clearer and decisions a bit more obvious – but, we will go even a few steps further.
Your personal mission statement is unique to you and will make it rather simple when confronted with difficult decisions.
My Mission: "To use impactful adventures and my life's experiences to help others to achieve success."
It's simple but clear. I place a very high value on working with others, using powerful techniques combined with adventure travel to create breakthroughs. There's no need to complicate it too much. I don't need to list every detail I want in life, just the ultimate goal as I see it today.
Stick to the Mission (don't deviate)
Once you've clarified your vision of the future, there are some guidelines you should adhere to.
This process will take a little discipline as most fall into playing out scenarios over and over in their heads. This next piece is meant to take the pain of indecision out of the process.
Proper decision making is an active event. If prepared, decisions can be painless and automatic.
Next, I like to use an old process called an OODA Loop. Observe–Orient–Decide–Act. As I mentioned earlier, military strategists created the process for fighter pilots to diagnose problems and make choices quickly.
When you need to make an important choice, it goes like this:
Observe the decision - Run it through the filter you created earlier of what you want your life to look like. What are the pros and cons? Does it support your vision for the future?
Orient yourself to the options - For this step, I recommend talking with others whom you love and trust about your options. Bounce it off a few people and get some unique perspectives.
Decide - You must make a choice. Ensure that your choice aligns with your vision/mission. More importantly, you must make it fully and wholeheartedly. Stand by your decisions and don't second guess unless you get new information that was missing in the "observe" phase.
Act - Take steps towards your chosen direction and put in the work to make it a success. It shouldn't be painful. It should be exciting, and you should attack it with vigor, this is your future life after all. If aligned with your goals for the future, you must do everything possible to ensure success!
The more pragmatic we are about this process, the less damage we do throughout, and the less likely fear is to creep in and cause us to misstep. When we clarify our direction and illuminate the path with properly laid goals, the decisions will make themselves. It requires some courage in the beginning, but for most people, once they start to feel the results, they never go back to stressing again.
About the Author
Aaron Rentfrew, founder of Adventure Coaching and Author of "Turning Point". Aaron works with executives and leaders on reaching their full potential by reaching outside their comfort zones and crafting uniquely impactful growth experiences. You can learn more about Aaron here.