Making important decision is one of the toughest things to do in life. Brendan Francis observed, "Some persons are very decisive when it comes to avoiding decisions." When you look at some successful people, you may wonder how they can come up with a right decision. What are their "secrets" in the decision-making process? After performing an intensive research on the decision making topic in both theoretical and practical aspects, we discovered that the secrets are very simple: Activeness, Balance, and Checking, or the "ABC" secrets for short. So, what exactly are "Activeness", "Balance", and "Checking" in the context of decision making topic?
You have to be active to engage in a long and possibly difficult decision making process. In many cases, you think the issue you have to decide on is too complicated to understand and make a choice. It may be hard or time-consuming to collect enough useful and reliable data or information. In the other extreme, you may be swamped with too much (possibly conflicting) information and opinions about many alternatives. You may be afraid that you have to take a risk to choose an alternative. Therefore, you become passive in the decision making process. You simply "close your eyes" and follow in other people's steps (this may happen when you go to buy a car at a dealer).
The reason you have to be active is that you are the one who will take responsibilities and effects of your final choice. You cannot blame other people that they have told you to make a wrong choice. Attitude is important. You cannot say, "This issue is too hard to decide. I don't know what I'll do now." So remember the proverb, "Where there is a will, there is a way." If you have an active mindset to resolve the issue, eventually you will find the solution. Particularly in the decision making realm, you must have some determination to face certain difficulties. You must spend time and effort when specifying the features you want, searching for alternatives, comparing them, making a short list, and finally selecting the final choice. If you follow those steps properly by actively thinking, planning and carrying out the plan instead of passively relying on other people (for instance, the seller), then you will finally get the right choice with confidence.
There are three aspects of balance.
The first aspect is to balance between different expected features. Don't let yourself get too attached to one alternative. For instance, you may choose one candidate because of only one feature you like most, but you'll forget about other attributes which may be even more important and have long-term value or effect than the one you like.
The second aspect is to balance between the time you spend for steps of decision making process. Some people spend too little time to define the features and values of the alternative. In other words, they do not know what they actually need. They might choose an unreasonable candidate for their purpose. Other people may spend too much time to search for many alternatives and get overwhelmed with too much information as well as many conflicting customer reviews. Time passes and they start losing their direction. They may come up with an improper candidate just because the deadline to make the decision has almost arrived. For instance, this case may happen with some couples who have a high demand to find a good restaurant for their wedding reception. The lesson is, to balance between the time you spend for the steps of decision making process, you should create a good plan to give yourself proper durations for each of the steps, along with some extra time. Don't forget the idiom, "Rome wasn't built in a day."
The third aspect is to balance between your rational analysis and instincts, or gut feeling. Some people are the type of person who relies on logical thinking based on data, information, formulas, and so on. If that applies to you, before you make a decision, you should turn down your "rational machine" for a while then listen to the "voice" from your intuition. Reversely, if you tend to decide things based on your feeling, you should do some exercise with rational analysis to see the other side of your decision issue.
You should check other available, similar alternatives from other brands, manufactures, sellers or service providers. It is also worth checking other sources to see whether that is a good time to make the decision, or if it would be better to postpone the action, for instance, waiting for the price to go down more or if there is a new version of the product coming soon.
You should check your collected information with advice, opinions from other reliable people such as family members, friends, colleagues, etc.
Even when you're ready to choose the final candidate, you should check again whether that alternative has some hidden, undiscovered weaknesses, faults or extra costs. Don't make your final choice too fast. "Haste makes waste." You need to "pause" yourself for a moment to double-check everything carefully as the practice of a master carpenter, "Measure Twice, Cut Once."
In summary, the three secrets to make the right decision are Activeness, Balance, and Checking. Activeness means you should be active in finding the expected features and alternatives for your choice. Balance refers to the balancing between different aspects. And Checking reminds you to check again your collected information, timing, and hidden costs.
Thomas Donn is the creator of the KChoose Decision mobile app for iOS and Android devices as well as the secured social network KChoose.com - enabling users to ask other people to get advice and suggestions for their decision. For more information, please click this link to download the app and watch the demo and tutorial video clips.