26th U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” What he meant to say is that wrong decisions can be painful, but inaction is worse. If you are in a position of control, you are exclusively responsible for the outcome of the decisions you make. When you are at crossroads and need to make a decision, you can do two things:
The former is what a leader does. It makes you independent and gives you authority over your life. No matter what the outcome may be, you will only learn. It could either be a good decision or a good lesson.
Decision-making is a cognitive skill that most of us engage in daily. Decisions are an integral part of our lives. From the second we wake up, we are constantly making decisions. Should I sleep for five more minutes? What should I eat for breakfast? Which meetings should I attend today?
Decision-making skills sharpen our mental abilities. It is a unique skill. Some decisions need to be made instantly, while others need deliberation and consideration over time. Irrespective of the outcome, decision-making is important because it gives direction to our life. Making your own choices gives you control over your life, and positions you in the driver seat. It helps you become independent to take charge of your actions.
As we mentioned earlier, there are two choices in life. Either you can make a decision, be it a good decision or a wrong decision, or you can let indecision take over your actions.
The former way gives you control of your life and makes you accountable for your actions. All successful people have one thing in common: they live life with an optimistic attitude and don’t shy away from making decisions.
Successful people are aware that actions cure fear. Therefore, even if you make ten wrong decisions, you are eliminating ten approaches that don’t work for you. Either way, it’s a win-win situation. Once you adopt this approach, you will be far ahead in life compared to people who fear making decisions.
The latter way makes you dependent on circumstances, and fearful. When you delay making decisions or give into indecision, you are not only letting external factors guide your life, but you are also second-guessing yourself. This way, what others think of you will start to guide your life, as your own instincts take a backseat.
Indecision is the parent of failure. Those who blame their failure on factors like “luck” or “destiny”, don’t go far in life. Indecision equals escaping from responsibility. This way you will have a pessimistic attitude and never be able to take charge of your life. With that being said, don’t make wrong decisions just for emotion. Evaluate the situation and consider your options before making a decision.
One of the basic truths of life is that there’s always a lesson in any decision. When you make a good decision, you learn what works for you. Similarly, if you make the wrong decision or a bad decision, you can figure out what doesn’t work for you.
We all make decisions that we wish we hadn’t. Making a wrong decision prepares you for the future. It makes sure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes. However, in the case of indecision, people’s self-growth becomes stagnant. They are so paralyzed by the fear of making mistakes, that they become completely reactionary. The good news is, there are many lessons from the wrong decision. Here are five ways in which you can learn from poor decision-making.
When you fail, don’t blame your mistakes on fate, or say things like: It is unfortunate it didn’t work out. Accept full responsibility for that decision. This may be uncomfortable, but it is important. No one expects you to be infallible, but what they do expect is that you are accountable for your mistakes. Admit that you messed up and move on.
Creating a list of reasons why you shouldn’t make that wrong decision again will help you stay on track, and prevent you from repeating your mistakes. This is a self-discipline practice. Self-discipline is like a muscle. If you can delay gratification, you will not only make a healthy choice but also grow.
Even though you shouldn’t dwell on your mistakes, asking yourself what went wrong is productive. Ask yourself the tough questions. What went wrong? What can I do better next time? What did I learn from making a bad decision? Try to contemplate your responses, and it will help you think logically.
If you are prone to making wrong decisions, don’t depend on your willpower to prevent you from making those decisions. Instead, make it harder to mess up again by delaying the gratification. There are many ways in which you can become more self-disciplined.
You made the wrong decision, you dwelled on it, and now it’s time to move on. Don’t beat yourself up over this. Acknowledge that you messed up and move on.
Also Read: Women In Decision Making