Decisions: Every day, every hour by the dozen
Every day, even every hour, decisions are made. Some are taller and rob us of sleep, some are so small and seemingly insignificant that we do not even notice them. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed that we delay a decision - in the hope that it may be done by itself - or literally avoid it. And often we are not even aware of this mechanism.
Martin Weigert has some time ago taken up the issue of why people usually prefer to make short-term, but perhaps harmful, decisions instead of assessing the long-term consequences and then act reasonably. The reasons for this lie in the lack of willpower and self-discipline - and in the manipulation by media and marketing machinery.
Willpower and self-discipline help with long-term decisions
So Weigert writes:
"The more willpower and self-discipline, the sooner we align our actions to long-term goals. The weaker they are, the more we allow our actions to be influenced by short-term interests and age-old instincts. Willpower requires a considerable amount of energy, which is why every person sooner or later experiences moments of "weakness."
Martin Weigert's main topic in this article is how data mining furthers this manipulation. On the other hand, I am interested in another aspect of this topic: How do such decisions actually come about? How do decisions influence our way? And why do so many people - often unconsciously - purposefully avoid decisions?
Everything a question of decisiveness?
Some time ago I over Fionnuala Meehan Google Ireland's Sales Director, who has impressed me with her testimony, her work schedule, and especially her own conscious decision. And now I experience the opposite in my environment:
There is almost a small "decision drama" from. A long planned trip could not be started, or it was started, but had to be interrupted after the first leg. The reasons can be explained at first glance with a series of unfortunate coincidences, technical defects and just a lot of bad luck. Some would call it destiny.
Small coincidences or avoidable decisions?
However, if you look closer, behind each of these little coincidences is a avoided decision. Necessary precautions were not taken. Alternatives were not considered. In short, the decision to anticipate potential difficulties on the journey was avoided. If you look more closely at why this or that was not implemented, you get to hear excuses, which sometimes seem a bit absurd.
And if you look closer, you can see the fears behind it. Maybe the project was a bit too ambitious, the goal was a bit too unrealistic. And you just did not have the whole plan under control. But of course you want to admit that of course. So you prefer to push all sorts of other, sometimes self-created problems.
"Will I be successful?" Is the wrong question
Another important point: most people ask themselves, "Will I be successful?" When they are dealing with a decision, a next step, or an opportunity. But the much more important question is: "Is it worth the risk?"
The difference: the question of whether the project is worth the risk requires the willingness to learn new things. The question of whether the success sets is a binary and often only leads to paralysis. Because predictions are difficult, especially if they affect the future.
Deciding on the risk requires willingness to learn
The approach of many successful people is to take a risk, to learn from it and to go to the next project with new knowledge and experience. Failure is an important element of this strategy.
Better yet, when the failure actually occurred, then you are not annoyed about the spilled milk, but can also look forward to the learning effect. It is crucial that even before starting to get started it is accepted that a project might not succeed.
To consciously accept the risk of failure
This is important because we only move out of our own comfort zone if we accept this risk: Maybe it will not work out. And yet it is OK, we can accept that, we have learned something.
If we do not accept the chance of a failure, we will remain seated on the proven, known and existing. We would not see many opportunities when we ask the question of success.
Decision avoidance and procrastination: make clear where the mistake was
However, I do not want to say that you are blamed for all the adversities and difficulties that you encounter in life because you are constantly avoiding decisions. However, I believe that many of the problems we have in everyday life and work are often the result of such avoided decisions.
Because before that, as Martin Weigert writes so beautifully, we prefer to have chosen short-term and impulsive instead of long-term. To blame the circumstances may be comforting at first glance, but it does not help us in the long term. It is better to realize where the mistake was and to decide differently and better next time.
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