Do you often find emotional barriers in decision making? Do you think that your inability to make decisions is the barrier to success?
Well, more often than not, major obstacles in decision making revolve around our own unconscious fear and anxiety – the fear of getting it wrong; the fear of losing; the fear of how others would react to your decision; the fear that you might have to follow through – the very thought of these which makes you anxious.
So you are caught by this decision-making paralysis and thus hesitate or delay to make any decision. However, you must learn to start overcoming decision making barriers, because you need to make decisions in anything and everything you do. So what is the solution?
I have my fair share of doubts and fears when I need to decide on my studies, on where I live, who I pick as my boyfriend, and so many other decisions. In the past I always was the one who will listen to my family for decision making guidance because I have self confidence issues. I rationalize that my family who are more experienced in life would be more wise and knowledgeable when it comes to making big choices in life.
Well o boy, was I wrong about that! In retrospect, when I look back, I wish the earlier me know what I know now because I would have spared myself a lot of problems, time and money if I have listened to my own gut, have more self confidence, and have less fear of the consequences of making decisions.
Here are the lessons I’ve learnt regarding decision making after making a string of good and bad choices in life:
Getting rid of emotional roadblocks in decision making
Your comfort with making decisions depends on your level of self-confidence, your personal preferences toward risk, your experience with a similar situation, and the degree of seriousness in the issue.
Les Brown has rightly said, “Wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.”
Well, one way around this is to focus on making effective, rather than perfect, decisions. Acting in an informed and courageous way would certainly help remove the psychological barriers in decision making and you would not hesitate in making decisions.
1. Boost Your Confidence
Your lack of self confidence is the biggest decision making obstacle. If you know how to deal with that, making decisions would be a breeze. Contrarily, low self confidence and insecurity about your own abilities would make even the simplest of decisions tough for you.
Even if you do make a decision in such a situation, you have no trust that you have made the best decision. Moreover, lack of confidence also limits your ability to think, which further takes you away from taking the responsibility to make a decision, and you let others take charge.
Thus it is important to encourage and motivate yourself from the get go. Make sure you laud and celebrate every single achievement and effort you have accomplished, which will help boost your self confidence and facilitate decision making.
Remember, making mistakes is part of the learning process in life, and you can do even better if you trust in your own abilities. But if you feel you lack adequate skills or knowledge to make the right decisions, the best alternative is to upgrade and educate yourself, rather than blaming your inability for your indecisiveness.
2. Get Rid of Fear
When you dread decisions and their consequences, you tend to procrastinate to avoid the choices you need to make, thus developing what is called: Decidophobia. Gradually the fear of making decisions starts to affect your psyche and life.
Overcoming fear is one of the hardest things to do, but when you are able to come out of it, nothing can be more rewarding than that!
Thus when it comes to facing obstacles in life, it is important to overcome your fears. Do you remember how many events in your life you have been missed solely because you were frozen by your fear to make a decision?
Try to find out the reasons causing the fear that prevents you from making decisions. Once you are aware of the reason, you can work your way out of it.
Ask yourself, what is the worst outcome you fear from this decision? And if you think you can confidently face that “possible” outcome, go ahead and make the decision. Else, think of ways to eliminate those “negative” results. Do not ever let fear lead you to indecisiveness or “no-action” decision.
The quickest way to shoo away fear is to change what you are doing. If you are entertaining negative thoughts that this and that will happen if your decision goes wrong, then it is time to start moving quickly and try to look back and remember the time when you felt strong and incredibly powerful.
Doing so will help change your feelings instantaneously and boost your confidence to make the decision.
Or another method to overcome obstacles in decision making is to discuss your fears with someone who is trained, considerate, and compassionate and can provide you with a sense of relief and ease your fears. Examples that comes to mind are your spouse/partner, a very trusted confidante or friend or your close siblings.
3. Shun Thoughts of Negative Consequences
One of the most common decision making barriers is the desire to avoid negative consequences. In that case, you end up with an indecisive mind – trying to choose a “safer” alternative to avoid controversy.
Well, it is important to understand that any decision may have unexpected consequences. So shun the very thought of negative consequences and keep your goal in mind while being flexible enough in the ways to achieve it.
Instead of looking at the goal as a huge task, try to break it down into smaller goals that can be accomplished in a short time span. Forget about the larger goal and focus your attention on the smaller goals. Once you are able to accomplish the small tasks, you will develop confidence.
This feeling of accomplishment will help build confidence in your own abilities and the fear of indecisiveness will be gone. Thus you would not hesitate in making decisions due to the fear of the unknown.
4. Stop Worrying About What Others Think
One of the most common barriers to decision making is the fear of what others think about you. Well, it is important to remember that you cannot control what others think, but surely, you can control your thought process.
So why keep yourself from making a decision when you cannot control the thinking of others? What others think about you is none of your business. Remember, you have to live your own life, and cannot force yourself into doing something based upon the fear of what others might think of your decision.
If you continue to focus on this particular fear, life would only become miserable. If you are confident that your decision shall prove to be a good one for you and your loved ones, don’t think too much about others and simply go ahead with it.
5. Don’t Let Time Become a Crutch For You
If you are someone who belongs to the category of people who think they need more time to make a decision, you are only killing time. This would do you no good. Set a short deadline to make that decision. Use that “extra” time to think about the consequences of your decision.
Do a tree/mind map where you can map out all possible consequences of each decision you are going to make. Visual representation of your decision and its consequences will give you a better idea of what you need to do next rather than everything sitting in your mind without any structure.
When the deadline finally arrives, it is time to use the insights gained during the extra time and make a quick decision.
More often than not, you will find that you end up making a decision that you crossed your mind at the first instance (your first gut reaction). While some decisions need to be quick, some others do need a little bit of introspection and evaluation and cannot be made on the first instance.
Undoubtedly, decision making is a complex process that involves social, psychological, and emotional components. When you fully understand these components, you are in a better position to control them and thus make better decisions.
In fact, the best way to overcome decision making barriers is to become more decisive. Practice does indeed makes perfect.
Your life would improve when you start to do this and make decisions, without worrying about the unnecessary fears, anxiety, and lack of self confidence!
6. Last But Not Least, Trust Your Own Instincts
In the end, all decision making you do is going to affect your future and where you are going as a consequence of your decisions. So as you start removing your fears and lack of confidence when you make a decision, always listen to your heart.
Take time to sit down and do a short meditation or just pay attention how you feel when you need to make a decision: Do you feel at ease? Do you feel uncertain? Write down your feelings and thoughts when you ask yourself if you need to decide on something.
What do you think? Do you have any tips on making better decisions?