Wise decision making is one of the most difficult things one can do. As I have said, I am a recovering adrenaline junky. Part of that lifestyle was to make snap decisions (a.k.a. decisiveness) and run with it. For example, I made the decision to join the military during a 5 minute discussion with my father about responsibility. I joined to avoid responsibility, not understanding nor caring about the magnitude of the decision. It ended up being the right decision based on the wrong motivator. Making snap decisions to get a rush is in my DNA, it’s part of who I am. I have struggled to learn to deal with this and leverage it to make better decisions. Because of this, I have adopted the following decision making model.
As I have transitioned from complete recklessness to a more thought decision process, I have found that a key to making the wise decision is to review my underlying motivation. What is really driving my decision/desire/motivation in the issue at hand? Is it for selfish gain? Reputation? Monetary gain? Or maybe it’s for helping others? Maturing ourselves? Moving toward our potential? By following the additional checks below, I fight the urge to justify a decision through rationalizing the hoped for result.
REVIEW THE PURPOSE:
How will the item in question impact my manifesto? Is it in alignment? If not, then it’s probably the wrong decision. If you don’t have a manifesto, life mission statement, or similar document. then I suggest you make one. It took me months to make mine, but has become the basis for my decision making. Without it, I would be missing a large part of analyzing my motivation.
When I find that I am struggling with making a decision, I seek counsel. I didn’t use to do this and did I make some major mistakes as a result. There were other times I did seek input, but decided to do it my way anyway. Another misstep. Now I am purposeful in seeking advice and taking that advice into consideration before making the decision.
SEEK GOD’S DESIRE:
What does God want me to do? How do I know? I spend time in prayer, share my struggles with trustworthy men, and seek to please God as my only motive. If you don’t know God, then your motivation may always be in question.
As a result of this process I make wiser decisions and do not lay awake at night worrying if I made the right decision. Occasionally, I still make the wrong choice. It’s usually less costly, but none-the-less the results do not meet what I expected. I use these times to reflect and learn what went wrong. In every case so far, it has always come back to my real motivator. If my motivation is wrong, then the result is wrong. When my motivations are pure, then the result exceeds what I expected, because God blesses it.
How do you make decisions? Do you even give it any thought? Do you lay awake at night hoping that things will work out? If so, I suggest you stop trying to control everything, review your true motives, seek advice and God’s input. Your decisions will be better; your life will become less complicated; and you’ll be at ease because you’ll know you’re pursuing your purpose.
Even today, many years after giving up my chase for the adrenaline surge, I enjoy the thrill of risk taking but instead now try to harness the feeling and direct it to a more productive result. I find that if allowed, God will use my weakness for His purpose to give me new ideas and a willingness go outside the lines and make an impact for His kingdom.
Share your story with me, I would love to hear from you and expand on this list.
Cheers – Steve