Skills

Today you and I both made a decision. Thus far, today’s decisions have included my choosing to ignore my first alarm clock and wait for the next preset one three minutes later, running a red light while squealing in bliss guilt, and noteworthy progress in my decision to study abroad in Budapest. We are all aware that the decisions we make every day can either be major or minor and the more decisions we make, the more productive we are. And since they are a part of our daily lives, we must learn how to situate ourselves in a position that allows us to make the best decisions we can. Here are a few tips that may help!

1. Objectivity

Emotions take a huge part in our moods and sometimes, our decisions. This can many times fog what is really at stake. The best decisions are those made when there are no judgments or biases and when one is not in a position when his or her emotions are not heavily influencing the choices made. Making decisions in an emotional state may lead to regret later on. Try finding an outlet for emotions elsewhere and later returning to make a decision in a more rational state.

2. Take Your Precious Time

Quick means productive this day and age, and meeting deadlines means efficiency. However, in decision-making, especially with big ones, it is important to fully think out what it is you are choosing to do. More importantly, this means not rushing to conclusions and basing choices off of assumptions. Taking the time to fully analyze the possibilities is the best way to get results. If this means taking an extra day or two to take a look at things with a fresh mind, make arrangements and things will surely fall into place. It is better to take your time than to make hasty and rash decisions.

3. 360˚ POV

Although you may like to think you’re right most of the time, listening to all parts of the story, putting yourself in the shoes of others, and looking at all points of views help you rethink your position. Make sure that when making decisions, you are taking into consideration multiple points of view. This will allow you to see your potential paths. Not only will this call for smarter decisions, but it will also make for more confident ones.

4. Follow Your Gut

I’ve discerned that hunches are often underrated and overlooked. Many celebrities and successful businessmen have thanked their achievements to following their gut. There is a common misconception that “following your gut” means do what you feel, which is very much linked with emotions. However, there is a stark difference between the two. Following your gut is equivalent to following your instinct, which is very different than doing what your emotions want. As noted by Lisa Evans, a writer for Entrepreneur, you can verify if your choices are coming from emotion if you are feeling stressed, anxious, or worried. If not, then you are following your gut, which is something innate in all humans.

5. Make a List

How to not over-analyze? Although everyone says to never over-analyze a situation, they are, regrettably, inevitable sometimes. So, if you happen to be someone of this nature, the best way to structure your “over-analyzing” is by making a list. Jot down all of the pros and cons of making whatever decision you plan on taking and compare. Which makes more sense? Which is common sense? Which has more cons? Writing things down helps with objectivity and seeing things in another form.

Making decisions are a required part of our lives and sometimes making the right ones can be tricky. Hopefully you can find yourself embracing a few of these tips when in a dilemma. How will you approach your next decision?

Image: Julia Mazerova

CultureLearnSkills

One of the main lessons we learn growing up is that it is always okay to ask for help. That is very true. Yet, people have trouble receiving help in this new era. People who post their feelings on sites like Facebook are often accused of whining and needing attention. If you need advice, you need to ask for it directly. Your true friends will be there for you.

What do you do when you get bad advice? Trust your instincts. (If your instincts disagree with this statement, feel free to disregard it). If you think someone does not have your best interests at heart, you do not have to listen. Peer pressure is a good example of this. If someone wants you to have a drink and it’s legal, it is fine to indulge. However, if you have already had enough, then you do not have to drink to be cool. You know yourself better than anyone else does. You probably also have developed some sense of right and wrong. Even if you are lost and confused on issues and you ask for advice, it is not rude not to take it. The important thing is to respect that person who tried to help you.

Here are some tips to make sure that happens:

  1. Listen. Listen to someone’s advice even if it is not what you want to hear. It may be what you need to hear.
  2. Think about it for yourself. It may make you see things in a new light even if it does not solve your problem immediately. As I noted before, trust your instincts.
  3. Say thank you. Say it in words or a gesture such as buying them coffee. Even if what they said did not work out, at least they tried.

Giving advice can also be hard because you do not want to be responsible for leading someone down the wrong path. Sometimes you have not gone through what someone else is going though. The best you can do is just be there. If someone is coming to you for help, it makes them brave but vulnerable. Do not betray that trust. You are giving the gift of your experience. This could save someone from making a mistake that you have made yourself. You are also giving someone the benefit of your friendship, which will last much longer than any problem. The most important note is that in giving advice, it is not about you. It is about helping someone else. 

Here are some tips to make sure that happens:

  1. Make sure the person is ready for the information. If someone does not want to be helped, they will not accept any help. Specifically, see if they ask to know what you think. Sometimes people just want to be heard.
  2. Think about what you do know about the situation. Do your best to make an informed statement even if you feel out of your depth. If you have no idea what they are going through, it is okay to admit that. It gives them the chance to see if they still want your opinion.
  3. Be honest but be kind. The truth is important but it is not worth making the person you are helping feel judged. If they feel like you are against them, they might not accept your help. Try to see things from their perspective.

No matter what, you have to trust that what you’re doing is right. You have to be kind. You can always ask for help if you need it.   

Image: morguefile