Get Most Out of Life: Be Decisive!

Undecisive
Photo by knigttingskwerlgurl

Our lives are dominated by strings of events, that revolve all around us, as a consequence of anything we do, be it quiting your job for another, taking your daughter to school or just walking on the street. Every kind of activity or action that we undertake, no matter how small or big, has an effect on us and on the people around us. Every action, has a reaction.This unfortunately brings with it a lot of pressure, for most individuals, when faced with a more or less important decision. Fear of consequences clouds their judgment and they soon begin to become indecisive.

Decisions make you powerful, active, focused, and ready to face your day. Indecision makes you procrastinate, lose initiative, gumption, and get up and go. So, in truth, making a good decision isn’t necessarily conditioned by outside variables, like money, other people or events and so on, but rather by your ability to be decisive.

There’s no real secret to becoming a decisive person, after all it’s just a mindset. So if you put your mind to it and keep telling yourself you know what you want from life, you’ll soon start becoming a more decisive person. However, here’s a few tips and techniques that will help you overpass the hump of uncertainty and make you a true leader of your life.

1. Think fast. When faced with a decision, do it fast. Don’t think too much about what might happen after you undertake the respective action. What’s done is done. Small decisions like choosing what to eat for dinner shouldn’t take more then a minute. If you’re faced with a major decision you shouldn’t take more then 10 minute to make it or 1-2 hours when you have to do some information gathering. The more you do it, the faster you’ll become and the more decisive you’ll grow.

2. Believe. Keep telling and believe in yourself that you’re a decisive individual. Don’t denigrate yourself for being indecisive. As long as you have faith in yourself and in your actions, you’ll be able to do things a lot better, and if you happen to fail, you won’t feel too bad about what happens next, because you already minimized the consequences in your head when you took the decision.

3. Be instinctual. Some decisions, no matter how much you think them over, can’t seem to reach a favorable end. The longer you think about them, the more problems and obstacles you’ll find in your path. This is where you have to turn to your natural instincts, to guide you through. Let your gut speak out.

4. Get out of the box. Forget about your preconceptions and fixed ideas about anything in particular. Clarity is extremely important for taking a good decision, so keeping an open mind is a great way to put things into perspective and in term make the best the decision.

5. Don’t be afraid. Earlier in the article I mentioned that the biggest cause for indecisiveness is fear of the consequences. While having reserves before taking an important decision is very natural you shouldn’t let them overwhelm you. Don’t be afraid to make a decision and learn to embrace failure as much as success.

6. Visualize the outcome. Look at yourself from the outside and picture you as a decisive person. How would I act then? Also when faced with a decision, visualize yourself in the completion process and then in the aftermath. Then start asking yourself, like you’ve already taken the decision and completed the task: was it worth my time? did the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? and so on.

7. Be prepare to screw up. Sometimes life takes us into directions we’d wish we never went. A thought of going back in time and taking the road on the left, always crosses our minds, but what’s done is done and you should keep it that way. Such things in life are inevitable, so the first thing you should do when it happens, is not to feel bad about it. Just look at it as a life experience, as a step up in your progression towards a complete life. There’s no such thing as a good or bad decision.

8. Act. Don’t sit on your butt all day, thinking how to act. Be proactive, take the initiative and act without fear of the outcome. Any decision is better then none at all.


How to become a remarkable objective critical thinker, part 1, the why the what and the how

Due to the fact that modern life takes us so fast through so many different situations, it’s hard to even fully understand what’s even happening, let alone take into consideration all the information and sort it out to get to the right conclusion. Still, despite what you may think and despite it’s obvious utility, logic is not a friend of many, and really few understand just how much plain logic and objectivity can help you out in day to day life. It’s not a solution to all your problems, it’s not a magic ring, but it’s what should be done.

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The modern man who gets what he wants pretty much all the time without cheating, lying and stealing is by definition a critical thinker, even though he may not realize it; your mind is working at all times, even when you sleep (actually, it’s believed that finding the answer to some problems which seem unsolvable could just arrive in your sleep). Life is all about the decisions you make, and when you make decisions what you basically do is look at what you should do, why you should do it and how you should do it; these are the steps to take if you want to become a critical thinker as well.

So what is critical thinking?? It’s the process of verifying the accuracy of the information you have and using it using your own effective personal set of criteria to get to the result which you want to achieve. It should be used in virtually all of the circumstances you will encounter in your life.

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Still, what makes taking decisions so hard, at least most of the time, and especially the important ones ?? The main disadvantage is that it’s really tempting to think about your problem from the inside. This way you can’t really see the big picture, and you tend to neglect the negative aspects hoping they won’t happen. But closing your eyes doesn’t mean the others can you, it just means that you can’t see the others. You have to analyze your situation from many (if not all) perspectives, and only after that, by a process of deduction, get to the right conclusion and avoid the distractions.

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Also, another thing that has to be understood is that thinking logically doesn’t limit your creativity, on the contrary. Many things you find unbearable could be turned into something really easy with a minimum effort and consideration of the things involved. It’s really hard if you can’t do it naturally, but it’s really easy once you see how to do it. That’s what the point of this series is, to help you find the critical objective thinker within you, and let him lead you towards solving your problems. It’s going to be in three parts: the why, the how and the what.

This is part 1 of Becoming a Remarkable Thinker
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4

How to become a remarkable objective critical thinker, part 3, the characteristics

Here’s the bad side; nobody can make you a critical thinker. There’s nobody else that can do it for you, you have to learn how to do it and do it. It’s as easy as that. Still, there are some guidelines that are very useful to an ascending analytic mind. First of all, here are the most important characteristics of the objective thinker.

Credits: elephants are wonderful creatures, and we can learn much from them

Their mind and process of thinking seems complex and very hard to understand at first, but it follows some very simple guidelines and expands them to a whole web of subtler ideas. It’s this massive web of information and the repeted exercise of thinking that makes it easier for him to get to the right conclusion; this also means of course that he has the ability to analyze information.

He has the ability to adapt to new situations and uses his flexible mind to sort out order into even the most complicated things. Using simple guidelines and principles should by no means discourage you to be creative, or even more dangerous, encourage you to have a fixed mind. A rigid mind is an enemy you have to avoid.

He identifies facts and figures that don’t come out at a first glance. The quantity of the information processed is really important too, but what really makes the difference is quality. Knowing how to interpret a smile, the voice behind a statement or even knowing how to read between the lines is the difference between the right price and a buck short. Also, the one who asks just the right question and underlines the single most important aspect of something, is the best critical thinker.

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He’s confident and has faith in succeeding by himself; you should really be careful here, because confidence comes as a result of critical thinking, not the other way around. Things won’t go your way just because you think they will go your way. But if you see them going right, your confidence will be given a significant boost and this will make things even better for the future.

He has a good memory and has knowledge on many issues; once you tap into your inner critical thinker, you’ll understand the importance of it and I pretty much doubt you’ll want to give it up. You’ll learn more and more things, and by exercising your memory you’ll make it better; once you have a better memory, you’ll have more information to filter and so on. If you want to achieve this, you have to tune into your past memories and find similar experiences to which you are living. Another good exercise is thinking what would you do in a certain situation if you had the chance to do it again. Has your opinion changed?? Do you feel that you have a better understanding of the situation you’re in?? Those are just two of the questions you should answer affirmative to.

Credits: savoir vivre

He’s calm, and thinks about the future; of course panic and anxiety are enemies of the mind, and you should eliminate them wherever you can, as they bring nothing good. They’re only distractions. He’s very calculated and thinks about things in the long run as well.

He pretty much succeeds in everything he wants; this is the main objective, this is why it’s worth to be an objective thinker. It’s hard to believe, but you have to try it to believe it; you’ll probably find it hard to believe just how much the quality of your life can improve.

This is part 3 of Becoming a remarkable thinker
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4

How to become a remarkable objective critical thinker, part 4, starting and improving

Now that you know why you should why it’s important to think clearly and what a critical thinker shows, it’s important to know how you can start to develop this ability and how you can improve it. No subtle and crowning exercises here, just some basic tips to get you started.

Credits: “A man is not an orange. You can’t eat the fruit and throw the peel away”

The first thing you should do is refrain from acting by your first impulse

  • Why?? It’s simple: you’ll do things you’ll probably come to regret later. How many times haven’t you said or done something than regretted it, just because you were nervous?? Probably many times. It’s the first step in overcoming your instinctive atavic reactions.
  • How?? This is where it gets a bit more complicated, because first you have to be sure you’ve fully released yourself from whatever emotions you may feel, and then start thinking about what you have to do. If you can’t do that at first, try counting in your mind (no limit), drink a glass of water, or just take a short walk.
  • After that, it’s really important to synthetize the facts, eliminate what’s irrelevant and keep only what is useful as information, so you can analyze it. You could find this difficult, because sometimes it’s hard to draw the line as to what’s useful and what should be neglected, so don’t be discouraged if you make some mistakes at first. You’ll improve in time.

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    After you’ve synthetized the facts, it’s time to analyze. It’s the step which will lead you towards the decision and definitely the most complex one, so in order to employ some help for yourself and ask some questions, such as:

  • Are there any more facts I can aknowledge before I start analyzing?
  • Is there something that I’m missing?
  • How is this related to that?
  • What are the causes that led to this situation?
  • What’s most possible of happening and how can I prepare myself for that?
  • What other ideas back that other idea up?
  • What would happen if I did that?
  • Suppose this happens, what would happen after that?
  • What’s the best possible solution for this problem?
  • How would I test the possible outcome and make it better?
  • Of course these are just small samples, and you could think of some questions yourself, that would perhaps apply better to your situation.

    Upon analyzing, you have to think about the short, medium and long term implications. There’s a big chance you will be put into a situation which has short term benefits, but affects the long term progress, or the other way around. You have to try to anticipate what will happen and again think realistically about what the situation is and how you can adapt to it. There’s no reason for being optimist here, because it’s hard to say what will happen and how things will evolve, so it can’t hurt to be prepared for something.

    Another thing that you can do is ask some other people who could give you a different perspective. But that doesn’t mean that they are right, you should still rely on yourself and your judgements, but it’s sometimes refreshing to hear things from a different perspective. It’s why brainstorming relies on too.

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    After you’ve made the decision, you’re still not done yet. You have to prepare in case things don’t go your way; prepare for the bad things, because there’s no need to prepare for the good ones, is it?? That way if things go wrong, at least you’ll be prepared. All you’ve got to lose is some times, and you’ve got a lot to win.

    This is part 4 of Becoming a Remarkable Thinker
    Parts 1, 2, 3, 4.

    Taking chances vs not taking chances

    Photo by Giorgio Tomassetti

    He deals the cards to find the answer
    The sacred geometry of chance
    The hidden law of probable outcome
    The numbers lead a dance
    ~Sting – Shape of My Heart~

    Whether you believe in fate or that you totally make your life, you have to agree that what decisions you make decide who you are. It’s paradoxical in a way, but sometimes your decisions decide for you. There’s no magic recipe for making the right decisions or something like that; the huge (or not so huge) amount of things you have to take into consideration when making a decision has to be analyzed, and most of the time there’s no right decision, and usually two appear: one that’s more daring, and the other one that’s more conservative.

    Photo by Eduardo Cavasotti

    Making the right call every time is not possible; making the right call as most of the times as possible… that’s the point. Have you ever watched House MD ? If not, you really should. A significant part of the show is aimed at finding the right diagnosis of a certain patient, through more or less orthodox means. House (the main character) almost always takes chances; but the chances he takes are always (or almost always) less riskier than not taking a chance would be.

    House MD. Photo by mabe85

    These days you see a lot of people who haven’t become as good as they could have, simply because they were afraid to follow their dream. On the other hand, you see a lot of waitresses who wanted to be actresses. So where do you stand? Myself, I’m a believer in taking chances. But not crazy 1 in a million chances – I’m talking about calculated, logical risks where the positive outcome has realistic chances of happening. Taking a chance just for the sake of it… may make you feel good for a while, but it won’t last and the odds are you’ll regret it. If you really believe you can win based on logical arguments, then you should go for it. There are some things that could help you remove obstacles from achieving that:

  • Don’t think about what others think. It’s always good to listen to other opinions, but if they come from strangers you can’t trust them, and if they come from people you trust they’re biased, which makes them useless. So listen carefully whenever somebody tells you something that could influence your decision – rely on somebody other than yourself only when you’re 100% sure it’s the right thing to do.
  • Put the good and the bad in balance. Even when you’re sure you’re going to make the right call and things will come out your way, think about something to do even if it doesn’t go how you estimated.
  • Have a backup plan. This is extremely useful when you’re going to take risks. The more risks you fail, the more you will win; or lose. Or both ! When you lose, it’s better to have a backup plan so you can rebound and take a risk another day.
  • Nobody wants mediocrity; if you don’t live your life to the fullest, you’ve practically wasted it. So get your priorities straight and whatever it is you want to get… go get it! There’s no tomorrow, there’s no next time.
  • Photo by AksZindagi

    Still… the coin has two sides. For example, for every aspiring actor that actually got to the carreer he wanted, there’s 19 others that didn’t. Number don’t lie. Also, even when you’re sure you can achieve your goal, your senses could be deceived and the fall from a dream is really painful. Also, when in pursuit of a dream, breaking away from reality is quite possible, and it should be avoided… because most of the times it will only mean a harder fall.

    Whenever you choose to take or not to take a risk, you define yourself, because you’re not making a singulary decision, but you’re going towards the same decision you’re always going to make in this sort of situation.This depends on your personality and your case, but you shouldn’t be influenced by something else other than that. Again, a calculated risk is definitely the way to go, at least that’s how it seems for me. What about you?