Many people have a tendency to become stressed out when they’re facing a difficult decision. Why? It’s because we mull over the possibilities in our minds with very open-ended outcomes.
The choices and the outcomes–both positive and negative–are swirling around in our heads, with no clear resolution. Our imaginations take over and what seems like a harmless choice leads us straight to the most horrible outcome we can imagine, am I right?
Put an end to that with these tricks that are proven to help anyone make decisions with a clear mind.
1. Write It Down. Make a chart. Use a spreadsheet. Whatever system you like, use it here. The act of putting things in writing takes them out of the swirly zone in our minds and makes them black and white — or pink or green, whatever color you like to write in! Make columns of options with pros and cons of each. You will quickly see which are the most positive and negative aspects of each choice and it will be easier to sort it out.
2. Act like you’re advising a friend. If a friend of yours made the aforementioned chart and the outcomes were as clear as they are on paper, how would you advise your friend? You take the emotional closeness out of the decision when you’re giving advice, so give yourself that same gift of objective decision making.
3. Limit the number of choices. Let’s say you’re thinking about buying a new car. Rather than list out all the safety features you want and all the different brands you are considering, make it a simpler choice by listing the pros and cons of buying a new car or not. Then, buying a car in a certain price range or not. You’ve limited the amount of uncertainty your brain experiences and inched your way to making a choice that is the one you actually need to make. Do the same thing when you’re making a business choice to hire a new employee or not, or whatever decision it is that you’re facing. Break it down.
4. Remember that your decision is reversible. In almost every case, you can reverse your decision if it doesn’t work out. You can return or sell the car. You can let an employee go. If you’re thinking about moving across the country, yes, that is a big decision. But it too is reversible. That awareness alone alleviates so much stress.
Photo by Gaelle Marcel from Unsplash