How to Make Great Decisions
When you make good decisions, you build your self-confidence.
"SELF-CONFIDENCE is nothing more than belief in one's ability to decide and in one's decisions." -- L. Ron Hubbard
When you cannot make decisions, you build up stress, create confusion and make people wait. Even worse, when you put off decisions, you miss opportunities.
So how do you make great decisions?
"Given information and the purpose, anybody can make a decision." -- L. Ron Hubbard
In other words, decision-making is like playing cards. If you know which cards each player is holding (information), you make good decisions and win the money (purpose).
15 Questions to Help You Make Decisions
From starting a business to changing careers, buying a house to choosing a vacation, any decision is easy to make, if you have the purpose and information.
For example, Joe needs a car (purpose). He narrows his choices to: 1) buy the $90,000 BMW, 2) buy the $30,000 used Acura, 3) fix up and keep the old Toyota.
As another example, Bob asks Dorothy to marry him. Dorothy wants to be happily married (purpose). So she selects her four choices: 1) Marry Bob immediately, 2) Marry Bob after a long engagement, 3) Don't marry Bob, but keep dating him, 4) Don't marry Bob and stop dating him.
Once you have your purpose and options, find the answers (information) to these 15 questions for each of your options. Your best correct decision will be obvious.
1. What is the goal or purpose of each option?
Joe writes, "1) The purpose of the BMW is to ride in style while impressing my friends. 2) The purpose of the Acura is to have comfortable transportation without big loan payments. 3) The purpose of the Toyota is to have good reliable transportation at a small cost."
Dorothy examines the purpose of each of her options. She writes, "1) The purpose of marrying Bob immediately is to move on with our lives together. 2) The purpose of a long engagement is to leave plenty of room for me to change my mind. 3) The purpose of not marrying, but continuing to date Bob is to learn more about him without a commitment. 4) The purpose of not seeing Bob any longer is to look for someone else. Well, I can eliminate this last option as I'm sick of looking and really do love Bob."
2. How do the purposes of each option align with your goals?
Joe writes, "My goal is to drive something comfortable I can be proud of, but not consume all of my money. The Acura fits that goal best."
Dorothy writes, "I have the goal to get married, so the first two options line up with that goal."
3. What are the statistics for each choice? Each of your options has statistics.
Joe can learn maintenance costs, resale value costs, miles per gallon and so on.
Dorothy can check out Bob's statistics in life. How well does he keep his word? How much money does he make? What happened with his past relationships?
As other examples, when hiring an employee, his or her statistics in life and at the last job are important. When deciding on a job, a career, a relationship, a new business or anything, you can find the track records.
4. Finances? Two vital questions: What will each option cost? How much money will each return? The cost is not a barrier if the predicted return is greater than the cost.
5. Sequences? Most people forget to look at the exact steps involved with each solution.
For example, when interviewing job applicants, ask "If I asked you to start on Monday, what would you do?" Some applicants say, "Well, I might not have a car. . ." or "My pet cat has been sick, so . . ." A smart job applicant says, "I'll show up five minutes early!"
6. Is this choice legal and ethical? Is it fair to everyone involved? Will you be proud of your choice in the future? Would you have any problem telling a judge or TV reporter about your choice?
7. What is the probability of success? For example, how many BMW or Acura buyers are happy enough to buy a similar car? How long will the Toyota last?
If you have no solid data, estimate the odds of success for each choice. For example, Dorothy estimates the odds of a successful marriage to Bob are higher with her second option, if she has a long engagement, than the other two remaining options.
8. Do I have the resources? Resources include people, space, skill, knowledge, money and time. Do you have the means for each choice? If not, the choice may not be right for you.
9. What are the end results? If everything went smoothly, how would each choice turn out? What would the results be? How would it change things in a year or two?
10. What do others want me to do and why? As your choice probably affects other people, you want to know what choice they want you to make. More importantly, why they want you to make it.
Make a list of everyone who is affected and what you believe they want. You are not asking them to help with your decision, you are just gathering information.
11. What are the potential gains and benefits? The "upside" is a big part of your decision.
If everything went well with each choice, what would happen? For example, "I'll get rich!" "We'll be happily married for 40 years." "We can add 100 new offices."
12. What are the potential losses and liabilities? Worst-case scenarios and risks. For each risk, look at how you can protect yourself or your group.
For example, Dorothy evaluates the risks of a marriage and realizes a long engagement has a lower risk of divorce than a fast marriage.
13. What are all the barriers and difficulties for each choice? What gets in the road of each choice. Lack of money? No one else wants it? Not enough time? Fear?
Joe sees no difficulties in buying the BMW or Acura, but lists several problems with repairing his old Toyota.
Dorothy realizes Bob might not like the third option of just dating, but would support a long or short engagement.
14. What would be easy and effortless about each choice? Some choices involve no barriers at all.
15. What do I really want? What am I willing to do? What interests me? Which choice turns me on and makes me happiest? Why do I feel like doing it?
Interest and enthusiasm are vital to a decision ending up being the right decision. A decision with lots of interest and enthusiasm is more successful than a brilliant decision with no interest or enthusiasm.
Because of your purpose and sufficient information, you will make correct decisions.
A series of correct decisions build your certainty and confidence. And when others learn you are usually right, they follow your lead. Everyone succeeds!
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