By Vega Subramaniam
In Part One of ‘How to Overcome Your Decision-Making Hurdles,’ we reflected on the stories we each have about our own decision-making glitches. We observed that for some of us, even thinking about good decision-making is “this-makes-me-feel-terrible-about-myself” hard. We noted that the first step toward moving into confident, values-based decision-making is to acknowledge your story.
In Part Two, we described the context for our stories: the messages we grew up with and are surrounded by. Our social systems relentlessly send us messages about what we should be doing, what is moral, what counts as ‘success,’ what we should prioritize. The static that those systems creates in our brains hinders our ability to make sound, values-based decisions.
So what’s the antidote?
Part Three: Shine a light on our own process
The antidote is to pay attention to your own best decision-making process.
Think of a decision you’ve made that you feel really good about.
A lot of people have a hard time coming up with an example. It can provoke anxiety to try to dredge up a good decision, especially because the reason you’re reading this is that you worry that you tend to be bad at it. And other people might have you focus on all the ways that you make bad decisions, what you didn’t do, what you did wrong. Truth is, we all sometimes make bad decisions, we all forget important steps, get results that are less than we hoped for.
But focusing on only those is a distraction, just negative self-talk blocking your path forward. There’s no time for that now! Move around that perspective, and take another look from another angle. You can think of at least one decision that you feel good about, or that was right at the time, even if you’ve changed since then.
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