The process of trying to make a decision can be tortuous. Whether it’s deciding to hand in your notice at work, or move house – you weigh up all the pros and cons, you talk to friends, you agonise over whether to make the leap and go for it, only to change your mind and retreat into doubt and confusion. And then the process starts all over again. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Over and over.
Taking action once you’ve made a decision can take seconds. And then there you are, standing blinking in the sunlight of your new life, decision made.
Getting to the point of making that decision, however, can take months, even years.
If this is you and you’re currently stuck in the middle of making a decision – whether it’s a big one like deciding to change career, or a seemingly small one like whether to sign up for gym membership – ask yourself these four questions:
- What will happen if I do this (quit my job/move house/confront my friend over her behaviour)?
- What will happen if I don’t do this?
- What won’t happen if I do this?
- What won’t happen if I don’t do this?
An upgrade to the usual two-columned Pros and Cons approach, the purpose of these questions is to help you explore all your options and examine all possible outcomes of your decision, good or bad.
That last question is a bit of a doozy and gives the old brain cells a bit of a workout I admit, but stick with it – see what you come up with.
Once you’ve answered all four questions, you’ll have a more comprehensive list of possibilities from which to make a more informed and intuitive decision. And when you’re armed with that knowledge – you, and only you, will know what the right decision is for you.