Have you ever been in a situation where you have to make a big decision and you don’t know how to go about it? Where we are today is the sum total of the decisions we have made up to this stage of our lives. Waking up in the morning and getting out of bed is a decision, so is brushing our teeth and taking a shower. Major decisions as for example quitting a job to pursue a passion or having (or adopting) a child with your spouse are equally as important.
I believe all decisions are major decisions because consequences of all our decisions today affect our future. If you decide every day for a year not to brush your teeth, you can be sure you will have to deal with a major toothache at a point in the future. If you decide not to prepare for living well and as independently as possible in your old age, you will die an early death from stress and frustration due to unpreparedness.
Here are 3 questions you must ask yourself when making decisions, especially those you consider as major:
- What are the possible unintended consequences of making (or not making) this decision?
Decisions are mostly always followed by actions. My mentor William Wimberly loves to tell his students about unintended consequences. Those are consequences that we might not have anticipated when taking an action based on a decision. According to the website www.exerciseagainstcancer.com, “Research shows that women who exercise at moderate-to-vigorous levels for more than three-hours per week have a 30-40%lower risk of breast cancer.” That is a positive unintended consequence of regular exercise not many people are aware of. Yes, the are as many possible positive unintended consequences as there are negative. We are just conditioned by life to almost always find what (or who) is wrong.
- What will I do when the worst case scenario happens?
Preparing for the worst case scenario equips you to deal with unexpected or undesired results. I personally remember not too long ago I had to make a major decision about my job. I thought about and delayed making the decision for a long time. Now looking back, I delayed making the decision because I was not prepared to deal with the worst case scenario. The good news with this one is that worst case scenarios almost never happen. However, preparing for dealing with them empowers you to move boldly through any situation life might throw at you.
- What are the benefits of making this decision now?
This is the ultimate question right before moving into action. If you don’t see how you will benefit from taking action or remain inactive based on a decision, you will delay making the decision as long as you can. You might even end up not taking the decision. Action (or inaction) follows decision. If you the incentives and rewards for making a decision are not big enough, chances are you will not make the decision. I heard someone say: When the dream is big enough, the odds don’t matter. When the reasons for you making a decision and acting on it are big enough, nothing will delay or stop you.
We spend our days making choices and decisions based on what we want or don’t want our future to be like. Once you answer the above three questions, you will be empowered to decide, act, and succeed.