"I am often in a situation in which I have to make fast decisions. How can I make it roughly right ?", a client I coach, asked me in my neuroscience coaching.
According to novel laureate Daniel Kahneman there are two thinking systems which influence our decision making. System 1 is fast, automatic, emotional, and prone to errors while System 2 is slow, rational, logical, and precise.
You can compare them with an automatic camera setting (System 1) which operates very well most of the time. If a genuine new event comes then you may manually adjust your camera (System 2) to make the best shot.
Fast Decisions? Good Decisions? Why Not Both?
The quality of your life is a function of the quality of your decisions. Consistently making good decisions results in a pretty good life! By the same token, poor decisions leave us wishing we’d made better decisions.
It’s important to make decisions as quickly as possible, too. In most cases, taking longer than necessary to make up your mind leads to confusion and wasted time.
So, for your best results, your goal is to make good decisions quickly.
Try these tips for making wise decisions in the shortest amount of time:
1. Know your values. If you’re struggling to make a decision, there’s an excellent chance that you’re not clear about what’s important to you. If you’re torn between several options, think about your values and let your decision support them.
2. Give yourself a gut check. Some choices simply feel better than others. It can be helpful to take a few moments and find a quiet place where you can be alone. Think about your choices and see what your body is telling you.
- That uncomfortable, queasy feeling that we’ve all experienced is a sign that you’re probably not on the right track.
- Your gut can be a better tool than you might think. You’ve made many decisions over the course of your life. Some of them better than others. Your subconscious has gained a lot of experience over the years. It will communicate with you, if you’ll listen.
3. Get the information you need. Avoid trying to make decisions until you have any information that is critical to analyzing your options. Find out what you need to know.
4. Try tallying. Benjamin Franklin was an advocate of making decisions with lists of pros and cons. He admitted to making all of his decisions in this fashion. So make a list and see what you discover. Simply by asking yourself the questions, “What’s good (or bad) about this?” will lead you to new perspectives.
5. Get practice with less important decisions. It might be a little nerve-wracking to make important decisions quickly, so practice with less important decisions.
- Practice will strengthen your decision-making skills. Decide what you’re going to have for lunch in ten seconds or less. Choose your clothes quickly.
6. Rely on chance. If you can’t decide between multiple options and have tried everything else, why not give chance a chance? Consider that if you can’t make up your mind, all the options are probably equally good or bad. Why waste any more time? Roll some dice or draw your options from a hat.
- Making a decision is almost always better than not deciding anything at all. If you can’t figure out what to do, do something.
7. Give yourself a time limit. All tasks tend to take up the full amount of time allocated to them. If you had a school paper due in 2 months, were you working on it right away or did you wait 7+ weeks? If you tell yourself you have a month to make up your mind, it will surely take a month. Decide how much time you actually need and set a deadline.
It’s important to be able to make wise decisions and stand by them. Good decisions can be made quickly.
In most cases, taking an excessive amount of time to make a choice rarely results in a better decision.
If you’re clear about who you are, what’s important to you, and where you’re going, then making good decisions quickly isn’t only possible, it’s likely.
Silke Glaab (aka SilkCelia) is a psychologist (MA) who helps executives, entrepreneurs and experts to be more resilient to stress and dramatically improve their thinking and feeling so that they enhance their performance and leave a legacy in their companies, their lives and the world.
Silk uses rapid transformation therapy to help clients to transform the roots of a presented issue within minutes while using neuroscience to boost brain power and emotional intelligence to create mindful behavior and decision making in all areas of life.
Silk holds a master degree in psychology and has worked for over 20 years as a trainer, consultant and counselor in divers industries in Germany, Kenya, and Dubai. She is personally trained by the celebrity hypnotherapist Marisa Peer and the neuroscientist Prof. Dr. Kennedy.