Rational Decision Making
Since most decisions can have life-changing consequences, it’s worth looking at the process of how to make a good one.
There’s lots of advice out there, but tough decision making involves common “pieces” in the process. They include:
- Weighing the information and the choices
- Examining potential outcomes
- Paying attention to your feelings and your instincts as you go through the process
- Stepping away from the pressure or urgency (if possible) to ensure that it is not interfering with making a good choice
To gain better control over information, pressure, choices, and risks, give each element its own mini-examination.
Focus on information- what’s known and what else can be known. Focus on choices. Consider their outcomes, expected and unexpected, short term and long term, and the risks and value of each choice.
Consider feelings and what they’re telling you. Ask whether this decision can or should be delayed, or whether it’s best to decide now. If all these steps still have you stumped, try the following exercise.
Fill in the blank: “If I did know what I should do, it would be _______.”
Engaging in this mental prompt exercise can tap into a deeper awareness of what the decision should be. Deep down, you may really know. Lastly, if you’re still unsure, call the helpline and speak to the counselor for more support.