From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you are constantly making decisions.
“What should I wear?”
“What will I eat?”
“What will I do today?”
… and the list goes on and on and on.
Have you ever wondered what’s driving your response to these decisions?
While exploring the human mind and behaviour for the past five years, I’ve become fascinated by how much of what we do happens without us even realizing we do it.
Decisions being one of our biggest unconscious behaviours.
We have been conditioned to choose based on the many reasons that are presented to us, but have not been formally taught what is really going on below the surface when we are evaluating those reasons. This lack of awareness has turned choosing into a stressful and emotionally exhausting task.
To help ease the pressure and build your confidence in decision making, I’d like to introduce you to 3 main factors that drive them:
You will always make a decision that is least risky to your well-being. This does not just refer to your physical safety, but also mental and emotional. For example, if you perceive that asking your boss for a raise may jeopardize your job itself, you will choose not to do it.
For obvious reasons, keeping your safety in mind is crucial. However, be careful of creating danger where there is none. Your mind is a powerful tool and can make you believe all sorts of things that are simply illusions. The best way to test the ‘safety’ of an idea is to look to others who have role modelled what it is you are looking to do. For instance, if you want a raise and don’t want to lose your job trying to get it, talk to someone who has done it successfully and ask them to share what worked.
If you believe that a choice will constrain you in some way, you are a lot less likely to make that choice. The best example amongst guys we see for this is the concept of marriage. The main reason we are so cautious about putting a ring on it is because we do not want to commit to something that can potentially feel limiting.
Once again, freedom is valuable decision driver to have. The trick is to use it rationally. Be sure you are not irrationally convincing yourself of constraints that are non-existent or self-imposed. The best way to do this is through conversation. Talk to the person, or person in charge of the project you are thinking of committing to, and be clear on what you would find limiting in the relationship. Once that information is on the table, it can always be referred to if you are criticized for changing your mind on an agreement.
The last, and often strongest driver in decisions, comes down to the sense of importance the choice gives you. The ego is a powerful influencer, especially amongst men, that it is easy to get lost in it. However, let’s face it, too much pride is never a good thing.
As you make choices, be clear on whether or not you are making it just to get validation for yourself. If you are, the choice is ultimately covering up an insecurity you have yet to address. My recommendation is put the decision on hold (if possible) and work on ridding yourself of the insecurity. Then come back to the choice and make it from a place of more confidence.