In the heat of the moment, have you ever said or done something you later regret? Of course, you have. That is what we, as human beings, do when we allow our emotions to take over.
Fundamentally, it is in our nature to experience a broad range of emotions. We are biologically hardwired to express anger, fear, envy, disgust, happiness, sadness, surprise, and contempt to name a few. As we move through the day, our emotions can determine the actions we take, the decisions we make, our perceptions, and how we interact with others. They directly interplay with our ability to succeed or fail in both our personal and work environments.
While emotions can be a good way to trigger us into action, they can also compel us to react. Excessive emotions (positive or negative) can cloud our better judgment which usually leads to poor decision-making. We can easily harm ourselves physically, financially, and emotionally if we allow our moods to overpower us.
How can we approach our decision-making in a way that we come out with positive results? What can we do to keep our emotions in check during this process?
To approach a difficult decision, use the following strategies to establish a winning course of action.
Define the situation to be addressed.
What is going on and how do you feel about it? What is motivating you to act?
Note to Self: This is your time to be blatantly honest with yourself regarding your emotions and motives. Do not hold back.
Determine what you want to achieve.
What is your desired outcome and how do you plan to reach it?
Note to Self: Be realistic, but do not let the fear of making a wrong decision stop you from developing a plan of action. Coming up with the best solution requires you to be decisive and timely in your approach.
Do your homework.
Gather information to substantiate your decision. Stick to the facts and avoid including assumptions that may be derived from your emotions. If you do not have enough facts to make a sound decision, wait until you do.
Note to Self: This can be a bit tricky. Try to be impartial as you sort out the facts from your beliefs as you know them. In most cases, you will never get all the information, so aim for enough to justify your action.
Determine your course of action.
Before deciding, ask yourself the following questions. Is it compatible to your interests, values, and abilities? Is it the right thing to do based upon your principles rather than emotions?
Note to Self: Brainstorm several decision options and test them out before making your final selection.
Validate your decision.
Test out the merits of a decision by soliciting the opinion of people you trust or who have a vested interest in the outcome of your decision. They may be able to provide you with additional information or perspectives that have never occurred to you.
Note to Self: You will never be 100% certain that you are making the right decision. Minimize your risk by consulting with others. Be willing to tweak your decision with any significant insights.
Identify the risks.
Determine the repercussions that are most likely to come out of your decision. Weigh them out carefully in terms of the pros and cons. What is the worst that can happen? Can you live with these consequences?
Note to Self: Understand the risks going into your decision; however, at some point, let the chips fall where they may. There is no perfect decision.
Execute the decision and monitor your results.
Be aware of any unanticipated consequences.
Note to Self: Hindsight is 20/20. Always evaluate the aftermath of your decision and learn from this opportunity.
Timing is everything.
Make sure that your decision is made under the best possible circumstances. How, when, and where will directly impact the success of your delivery and its outcome.
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Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University and a contributing member to LEARN Idaho. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.
12 Ways to Make Better Decisions: CLICK HERE
Decision-Making: CLICK HERE
Source: Psychology Today
9 Little Habits That Make You a Better Decision Maker: CLICK HERE
Source: Very Well Mind
It’s Up To You: CLICK HERE.
Source: Smart Strategies for Successful Living