I was having a conversation with someone the other day and I said just because someone goes with A instead of B doesn’t constitute a decision. I call that automatic pilot or defaulting. She disagreed as she felt it was most certainly a decision and that everything that ensues is our responsibility based on that initial choice. Well, on that statement we agreed. Just because we are not aware of when the decision happened or if it was even made with awareness, the results are all ours.
This led me to thinking more about the origin of a decision. I mean, I think about decision making all the time but I have been rethinking my ideas about when a decision actually becomes a decision. Usually I am on the problem end of a decision and how to avoid getting there.
I have always pushed for people being conscious at the beginning and therefore making conscious decision but the reality is we spend a lot of our lives on automatic pilot. We drive from town A to city D and don’t remember going through village C. Legally we are responsible for all those driving decisions we made but if we don’t remember them were they decisions or something else?
So there are different levels of awareness when it comes to making choices and there is different levels of emotion when making decisions too.
I have heard women having PMS shouldn’t make a big decision. So does that mean people who are hungry shouldn’t make a decision either? They say don’t go food shopping if you are hungry because you will make bad choices. The drop in blood sugar impacts decision making just like PMS does. So, no more decision making when you are hungry.
Then I suppose we shouldn’t make decisions when we are tired, or after a sad movie, or after our team wins, or loses, the Stanley Cup. We shouldn’t make it when our kids are moving out. When a family member is sick. When we are on our honeymoon. When our first grand baby is born. When our little baby starts kindergarten. When you get a promotion. When someone is elected, we don’t like. When the news is bad. When the news is horrible.
The reality is we are rarely at our prime to make a conscious choice so it helps to have a process. I have created the Domino Effect Decision Matrix. Am I going to use it to decide if I want to have salad or soup probably not… but maybe.. for the big decision? For sure!
Here is the tip!
Identify the decision.
That’s it. There is something powerful that happens when we name the decision as a decision. It engages our brain in an active way.
There is a freedom that occurs when we say “I have to make a decision about ___________.” Our brain kicks it to help us find solutions, sometimes good, sometimes bad but it engages! I believe that until we get our brain to engage in the decision we are just in automatic pilot and anything could happen!
So step one of a 7 step process is to recognize when a decision is on the table.
And then the next step is when we start to weigh the impact
It’s not easy to make decisions. We think it’s like work ethic and we should just know how it works but we don’t. We have to be taught. We are not taught in school. Our parents may not have skills in this area and when we are teenagers our friends most certainly are not the best resource! We have to know there is a process, because until then we are just winging it and that can sometimes be fun but mostly we have to spend time backtracking trying to fix it.
As you go through your day try to start having awareness of when you are at decision making time. Identify that it’s time for a decision and then see how that feels, see what changes, see what becomes easier.