Every day we are challenged with making decisions. Our brains are subject to 400 billion bits of information per second of which 2,000 bits are processed, many of these resulting in decisions. How many decisions do we make each day? Several internet sources suggest that adults make about 35,000 decisions per day (about 3,000 for young children). A study from Cornell (Wansink and Sobal, 2007) found that we make 226.7 decisions each day, just about food! In total, one can reasonably extrapolate to estimate that we each make about 1 million decisions per month!
Some decisions innately seem important, like those involving relationships, family, careers, education, children, parents, health, health insurance, money, living situations, diet, friends, vacations, major purchases, what to wear, and what to believe. Other decisions that may be classified as minor or trivial, don’t tend to invoke as many emotions, such as which cat food to buy, what TV show to watch; Cheerios or Cornflakes? As in the case of whether something is negatively stressful, whether a decision is major or minor, has less to do with an objective reality than our perception of that reality. In the case of decisions, it often involves the impact this decision will have on our future.
The most common question that I’ve been asked by clients is “I’m having trouble deciding...”
A few common examples:
The questions are easy to come up with. The trickier part is how to think about a solution. How to systematically make a “wise decision.”
Here are 8 important issues to consider when making decisions.
Base decisions on currently available information. The future is unsure: There are no crystal balls and no way to accurately predict the future. Trying to do so will leave you frustrated and disappointed as anyone who has tried to predict the stock market will tell you. That being said, you can only base your decision on currently available information.
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