#1 Way To Make Better Decisions

Once, a long time ago, I had the good fortune to share an office instead of a cube with a more senior engineer who was also a fantastic mentor. It was during one of our more philosophical discussions when he shared with me the #1 way to make better decisions.

I was young, impressionable, even a bit naïve, and I was very open to learn just how the world worked and more importantly how to get along in the world and advance both personally and professionally. As you can imagine I had many fears about “messing up” or making mistakes. While expressing my thoughts and concerns one day, my de facto mentor then shared this little gem with me:

            Good judgment comes from experience.

            Experience… well that comes from bad judgment.

His words on the subject have stayed with me these past 20 years and I reference them often. You need experience to learn how to make better decisions and the only way to gain more experience is by sometimes making bad decisions.

It would be easy if we could always wait until everything is perfect and lined up, just as we would like it before making a decision or taking action. Unfortunately, that is not how life works but fortunately, for us… this is how we ultimately learn and grow.

In nearly everything that we do, making choices or decisions, or doing anything of significant importance, there is always some degree of risk. And sure… we might do the wrong thing, we might make a mistake, we might make the wrong choice, and others might even dismiss us or give us grief over it. It happens.

However, the consequences of making a bad decision with good intentions and motives are rarely as damaging or harmful as making no decision at all.

If you want to make better decisions then start by just making decisions. Take action based on those decisions and when you make mistakes, learn from them. Trust me, by doing this, in no time at all you will more intuitive and wiser about the best course of action in nearly every situation. And that is wisdom that you will never get from over-analyzing situations and refusing to make any decisions at all.

As a side note…

About ten years after I shard that office, I found myself in my first real significant position as a manager and leader with 30 employees under me. I realized then the true nature of my position as a leader – and what my role actually was. I wasn’t there because I was smarter, or more driven, or lucky or any of that. No, I was there and I did well in that job because it fell upon me to be the one who made the decisions, good or bad. I was the one to make the decisions that no one else wanted to make, could make, or would make.

What made me qualified me for that position? You probably guessed it… Yes… I made many bad decisions and learned a lot in those ten years but most importantly, I had learned how to make decisions and I was never afraid when faced with them. I, myself, had learned the #1 way to make better decisions.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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