To Make Good Decisions, Ask Yourself The Right Questions
Each time you make a decision, it’s likely that you use a mental question to help you choose. What’s the best option? What do I want most? Which is quickest? I’m a pretty cautious person, and historically, all my biggest life choices (should I move country / change career path / run away with the circus for a year..?) have been filtered through the question of regret. “Will I regret doing that? Will I regret not doing this?” This question means I consider my choice from the perspective of the future. It connects me with my intuition, with my deepest values, and keeps me living in a way that feels true to myself. That said... I’m so used to asking that question, that sometimes I apply it to the wrong situation. Ask me what pizza toppings I want or to choose a new couch for the living room, and I’ll dither over the decision for ages. Why? Because my question isn’t quite appropriate in that situation. The stakes aren’t that high: I’m unlikely to feel deep emotional turmoil about my dinner option (at least no more than the typical orderer’s remorse!) It’s important that we ask ourselves the right questions if we want to make the best decisions – and what decisions are “best” all depends on the specific situation. If your aim is to have the most fun, or to eat the most delicious meal, it’s most useful to ask, “What do I want most?” or “What will make me happiest right now?” However, if you’re trying to exercise self-restraint in pursuit of a higher goal: such as increasing your fitness through regular gym, sticking to a healthy eating plan, or completing an important work project, it’s more useful to ask, “What will make me most proud of myself?” or “What will be most fulfilling long-term?” If you’re on a mission to find your passion, you might ask: “What makes me feel energised?” And if you’re looking to bring more meaning into your life, it may be, “What will make the biggest difference to others?” Asking the right questions navigates you in the right direction. So if you find you’re letting yourself down in a situation, consider what question you’re using to make your choice in that critical moment.
Is there is a better question you can ask, one that will steer you in the right direction? Now I’d love to hear what you think. What questions do you use when making a big decision?