On Decision Making

Impatience and discomfort with uncertainty and a feeling that time is running out can make it appealing to make decisions prematurely.

In these instances, I feel uncomfortable until I’ve made up my mind and want to do little else until the decision has been made. This not only leads to lower quality decisions, it also takes longer, because you end up going back on the superficial decision you made and it’s hard to really stand behind a decision that’s made under such conditions. It’s ok to be intense and push for an answer, you can’t wait forever and the opportunity cost of indecision is often massive. However, you shouldn’t stop what you’re doing to make the decision, you should take the time to work on the problem, then continue with other tasks. Conveniently, this means you don’t have to neglect daily duties and activities while making important decisions, in fact, it’s better to carry on mostly as usual. It stops your thinking becoming narrow, strained, brittle and allows for deeper synthesis.

The way to make a big decision is to be persistent with the question – to remind yourself of the question so that it sits in the back of your mind all the time – and then to carry on with life as usual.

Eventually, your subconscious will solve the problem, and you’ll make the decision based on a much deeper synthesis.

If on the other hand you try to force the decision prematurely, the decision you make will be made based on a far narrower set of ideas and experiences.

In other words, don’t rush important decisions, but DO be persistent in asking important questions.

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