On Decision Making


How many decisions have you already made today?

Ten?  A hundred?  Thousands?

Our lives are filled with choices, from the very moment we choose to open our eyes.

The multitude of simple every day decisions consume much of our energy and focus, and those important ones can stay with us for extended periods of time.

Success in my line of work comes when you are able to make numerous logical and mathematical decisions in a very rapid manner.

That being so, I’ve read up on and reflected extensively on the decision making process.

One of my favorite books on the the topic is “Blink”, by Malcom Gladwell, which posists that spontaneous decisions can often be better than carefully planned and considered ones.

While his research is great, and has helped me better understand the process, I think the best advice I’ve ever received on the topic was also the simplest.

When faced with two options, just flip a coin!

Now, this is not to simply relinquish your power and submit to randomness, but instead, it’s in that brief moment which the coin is in the air that you’ll know for what your heart truly desires.

And the truth is, when a decision is very tough to make, it’s usually because the options are actually very close. You’ve weighed the pros and cons extensively, but are still unsure of what to do.

While the repercussions of your choice may be long lasting, you just don’t have enough information available for the correct choice to make itself clear.

And most likely, you won’t until it’s too late.

So make your choice bravely, and worry not about regrets.  Have faith that you’ve made the right decision with the information available at the time,  and know that is all you could do.

If you’re going to worry, worry about getting those easy decisions right  –  the choice to be engaged, the choice to love, and the choice to be happy.

11 thoughts on “On Decision Making

  1. I believe the question “What wold someone who loves themselves do?” is making all the decisions this year. I am off the “hook” and give free reign to her. It is quite liberating to not have to decide. Although, my children overall pretty much everything….so from that angle most of my choices have been made there too. 2am wake ups, 3 am wake ups, 5 am wake ups….you get the point. lol Fortunately we have less of those now. I am SO grateful to have more sleep. That puts a smile on me automatically.

  2. Nice post. There is one point that you write on the coin toss that I had never thought about and it really stuck “… it’s in that brief moment which the coin is in the air that you’ll know for what your heart truly desires.” – I like that! I always remember that coins have two sides, one you win from and one you learn from. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I liked your post. It’s so true. Most of the tone we just don’t have enough information. So every decision is “the best”. Important in my opinion is just that you feel responsible for your decision and don’t blame anyone else, if things don’t work as planned.

  4. Of course, there is thought on decisions (From the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot):
    There will be time, there will be time
    To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
    There will be time to murder and create,
    And time for all the works and days of hands
    That lift and drop a question on your plate;         
    Time for you and time for me,
    And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
    And for a hundred visions and revisions,
    Before the taking of a toast and tea.

    How many times do you make a decision, the revisit and change your mind, over and over and over. Yes, at times, perhaps we should just leave it to fate and flip the coin. But then, isn’t that a decision in and of itself?

    Nice post, btw. 🙂

  5. Good post on decision-making! Gladwell’s book “Blink” is one of my faves — when I first read it I had an immediate “YESSSS!” He confirmed what I had felt for many years — that some of my best decisions (life, work, etc.) were those intuitive ones that required no slogging through the swamps of rational thought.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Great tip here: “When faced with two options, just flip a coin”—I had never thought of this. Sometimes, it is tough for me to make a decision, so this is worth a try. Thanks for sharing!

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