This blog is inspired by Farnam Street (if you havent heard about them start here.
We live in a world where decisions are directly tied to outcomes! Internet is filled with quick tips and How to on how successful people (You know who I am talking about! Elon, Priyanka, Obama, Oprah and all those…Ahm!) make decisions or their habits and style (food, work, exercise etc.) and ‘inspire’ us to follow the same! This is ridiculous! I have always felt annoyed and at times disgusted by those videos and articles.
Anyways, humans want shortcuts and when we fail we quickly want someone to put blame on. That is how we are designed for survival! This is where all those articles are super helpful! Carl Jung said that, “People will almost do anything to avoid looking inside” Well such a travesty because it is only in human birth that we can look inside. Nonetheless if you are interested in not any quick fixes or tips and are curious to see why I am investing in being more aware about my decision making process and trying to curate it, read on!
The narrative with which we see our world majorly impacts how we take decisions and actions. One of the big purpose for decision process, decision journal and it’s reviews is to constantly see things with new eyes. Expanding, narrowing or looking at our scope from multiple lenses can make a huge difference. With this mindset we are not running after constantly chasing new landscapes and thus gives us space for fulfilment and joy!
Decisions are something that we make daily. However a lot of decisions are automatic. A lot of other decisions get into the bucket of over thinking, overwhelming and never really get decided upon. Eventually fate and destiny are to be counted upon. Relating decisions with outcomes instead of my actions and inputs is also a mistake that happens quite a bit. A firm grasp and a clear process for decision making can enhance our vision and well-being.
An example, one of my friend is looking for arranged marriage for quite some time. This is quite a complex thing with a combination of random and deterministic variables. After a series of rejections and lack of options naturally he is filled with disappointment, loneliness and sadness. Marriage is an outcome that he cannot control however he can control his choices, likings, mindset etc. towards relationships. His decisions are ad-hoc and person based. There is neither intuition nor logic in his selection or rejections. His priorities are vague and sadly, he has little awareness around these things.
What are the things in his control? He can reflect on his openness, vulnerability, compatibility, emotional expressiveness etc. If he is able to do grow himself he can be happy with or without marriage/relationships. With personal growth and awareness he can easily adapt to multiple personality types, draw clear boundaries, decide on his priorities and be comfortable being alone or seek live-in etc. as per his needs and what gets available to him!
This is how a decision making process and it’s reflection helps. It gives a firm control of the variables in our hand and an opportunity to let-go variables that we don't control.
If we are firmly rooted on our decisions, we are more committed and grounded. We have have clear writings to go back and review. Not having a clear decision making process also leads to overthinking. This is such a waste of energy.
One of my favorite quote from Einstein is that “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. While it is still thought provoking, I don't believe in it anymore. We need not wait for miracles to happen. We take actions based on what we control and if miracles happen we bake them in!
This is important as there are no clear decisions/options so many times in our context. We go on autopilot. However if we take time to articulate our context, put our constraints, generate options and scenarios, we would be amazed to notice how much do we actually control. This helps us make clear choices and decisions. Once there are decisions, there are concrete actions and with them I can have a deadline and a review. All these combine make a very good engine to keep moving forward.
However without a very clear decision other things are not possible. Thus I am increasingly becoming aware of a need for decision journal and process. Again, clarity leads to better decisions and better decisions give clarity. Thus embarking on this process is super vital!
There is another saying that “Trust your soup”. That means let your work guide you. This is very important for over-thinkers like me!
A game of chess is not possible without decisions. Every move you are forced a decision. Similarly, in life also decisions are there at every moment. If we are not giving them a dedicated mind space, they eat away our entire mind and time! Oh and yes, if we are not conscious about our decision process, we are most likely to succumb to our emotions and moods.
To summaries — The idea of a decision process is to imagine a situation in multiple ways, articulate multiple problem/challenge statements, create few clear choices. Decide on a choice and create few concrete micro-action from here. Aim for a bite sized project. Later a review of this will guide further! No point over thinking and getting overwhelmed!
More on decision process in following days. This article is just focused on establishing a clear why on the decision making process!