Let’s face it - life is but a game of decisions.
You probably have already faced multiple decisions just this morning - whether to get up now or snooze your alarm, what to wear, what to have for breakfast, etc.
Sometimes those decisions can be a lot harder and of much greater importance.
For example, you might have asked yourself at least once whether now is a good moment to leave your job or buy your dream house.
In this article, we will tell you a bit about the process behind decision-making and perhaps give you the tools to be more confident in your choices.
How Are Decisions Formed?
For starters, let’s look at the brain's inner workings when it comes to decision-making.
Decisions are a widely researched topic in psychology, and many theories and models are developed to explain the process.
However, the overall consensus is that there are a few steps that we need to take to form a decision.
First, you start by establishing your problem or objective - this is perhaps the most crucial part.
The next step is to gather as much information as possible - this is the point where you identify all alternatives.
Once you have gathered all the evidence, you start to weigh your options.
Your brain essentially walks you through every possible path which leads to the next step - choosing the best possible outcome.
Once this is all done, you are ready to take action based on your best alternative and consequently review the outcome of the decision.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Respond. Don’t React.
The truth is that the process outlined above is not as simple as it looks.
In other words, it isn’t really how we always proceed with our decisions.
Many of us go through the steps without giving them much thought - let’s call this reacting.
What we mean by reacting is essentially making a decision on autopilot or perhaps choosing any alternative that is not harmful or obstructive to the situation.
This method is, of course, vital in many cases, for example, life-threatening situations, emergencies, etc.
Now think about it - your brain is trying to be as efficient as possible, establishing certain behavior patterns.
Essentially, a big part of your life is driven by the same pattern-like automatic thoughts, feelings, and actions you don’t really think about.
But do you have to be the victim of your monkey brain, or is there something you can do to counter the automatic, instinctive behaviors?
Let us give you our take on it.
The Awareness Factor
If we are talking about your day-to-day life or making a big decision with a significant impact on your life, there might be a better alternative to reacting.
Instead of automatically acting in a situation, sometimes it’s better to respond.
Responding in this context relates to making a decision by choosing to be aware of a given situation.
Awareness is what characterizes us as conscious beings - once we realize this, we can apply it to our decision-making process.
The concept is simple enough - you review the situation and consciously follow the steps behind the decision process.
Let’s put this into context - think of a situation that keeps happening to you, where you have to make a decision.
You decide on a specific option, but you keep finding yourself in the same predicament again and again.
Have you thought about changing the way you go about making the decision?
We know that it might sound obvious, but sometimes the most obvious things are the hardest to see.
By choosing to be aware and consciously thinking about every alternative and every possible outcome, you might be able to point out the factor that keeps you in the vicious cycle.
Once you have this factor narrowed down, you can start acting on removing it from the equation and achieve your desired outcome.
You’re One Decision Away!
Now that you have learned how being aware can turn things around for you, maybe it’s time to start reflecting on some big decisions.
Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut or perhaps struggling with certain relationships?
Think about the choices you are making and try to consciously imagine every possible alternative and outcome.
Decision-making has never been easier, right?
Well, not quite, but now you know that at any given moment, you have the power to change the direction you are going in.