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What Is A Decision? (Decision Making Essentials Part 1)

What Is A Decision: Decision Making

What Is A Decision?

What Is A Decision? Some people contend that, in it's simplest form, life is a series of choices.

This is true to a certain extent. Except that it's not that simple, because life itself is not that simple. 

The complexity of life, or rather living a life, means that the choices the average individual faces over the course of a lifetime are equally complex.

These choices range from simple survival decisions:

“Should I eat that mushroom?”

to difficult moral personal choices:

“Should I speak out against this injustice and incur increased personal risk?”

Obviously, the one thing that all these decisions have in common is the option of choosing your action, and thus an outcome.

But because the nature of these actions, and their potential outcomes vary wildly, no one strategy can encompass the process of deciding between them. 

This is where an understanding of what a decision is becomes important.

What Is A Decision: Fork In The Road

So exactly what is a decision?

As most would agree, a decision is the action of deciding something - making a choice. A person faced with a choice has to make that choice.

For example, take the proverbial ‘fork in the road.’ 

When confronted with such, you have the choice of going left or going right.

You may need to stop for a period of time while you think.

But sooner or later you decide to go either left or right, and so you take the path you've chosen.

That's straightforward and obvious, right? To some extent, the answer to that question is ‘yes.’ 

However, to a greater extent the answer is ‘no.’

To become a more efficient and focused decision maker, you need to understand all the processes that went into making the simple decision above:

  1. There is a problem. The path you are walking on divides into two.
  2. There is the nature of the problem.

    Because the path is divided, you are forced to go either left or right to reach your destination - you cannot go any other way.
  3. You need to choose between these two options in order to continue. 
  4. You utilise your mental faculties (Perception, Will, Imagination, Intuition and Memory) to decide which option is best suited to  your needs. 
  5. You actually make the decision.

    And with that, you begin moving forward towards your destination based on that decision.
What Is A Decision: Make The Right Decision

What Is A Decision: Summing Up

As you can see, the simplest of decisions entails a number of steps.

In most cases, we handle these steps subconsciously, without really being aware of what it is we are doing.

When the decision we are faced with is simple, this "autopilot" method of choosing isn't a problem. 

However, when more complex decisions need to be made, not understanding the basic process can give rise to difficulties.

In the next article we’ll take a look at the skills required to make a decision.

In the mean time I recommend you look at the chapter on Decision in Napoleon Hill’s book ‘Think And Grow Rich’.

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