This is the fifth blog of a series, “12 Simple tricks to Success” from Findamentror.com. We reveal one trick each month for you to read and practice so that in 12 months you’ll have developed some habits that can expedite your success. Enjoy!
Just like every trade and profession has its’, “tricks of the trade”, all very successful people have 12 tricks they do, no matter what industry or institution they work in. They do those things consistently. They are important processes that great and successful people follow.
Trick number five:
Think in Options and Choose Wisely
Making thoughtful decisions that are right for you. Successful people think long term and big picture when making decisions and they check ideas with team members. They use their power to choose wisely. You could too.
Our power to choose is a gift. As human beings we are very blessed. We can choose our own paths by making decisions. We can track our current status in life back through thousands of decisions we’ve made along the way. We may feel that if we had made choices differently, more wisely, we would be closer to our goals.
So how do we make decisions wisely? Like everyone, we make decisions based on what we think and feel is best given our options at the time. Too often, however, we don’t consider enough options and make decisions too quick. Sometimes we take too long and over analyze. Sometimes we could make wiser decisions following a different decision making process.
Some time ago now, I attended a one-year coaching workshop called The Successful Habits Program. The workshop leader, Les Hewit, Co-Author of “The Power of Focus”, suggested that for every decision, we could find a minimum of ten options. Admittedly, a number of these options might be ridiculous, but that isn’t the point. In a list of ten, there is an option that’s just right for us. Thinking in 10 options is good brain exercise and it opens our mind. It can be fun too.
You can come up with ten different options when faced with decisions, one of which is just right for you, and you might have fun.
For example, I break my leg. Ten options to consider might be:
- Ask for help to get to the hospital to have it set.
- Crawl to the hospital and have it set.
- Set it myself.
- Have a friend set it.
- Do nothing—just let it set broken.
- Wait for someone to notice and let that person make a decision for me.
- Break my other leg and leave it un-set so I have a matching set of improperly healed legs.
- Kill myself so I don’t have to feel the pain.
- Break someone else’s leg so that person can know how I feel and can truly understand me.
- Yell, scream, and feel my pain and hope someone notices that can help me.
Some options may seem ridiculous, some not very desirable, but one of ten may offer the perfect solution—a solution we wouldn’t have thought of if we hadn’t exercised our brain and come up with ten options.
Slow down decision making whenever you can. Make thinking in options a habit, so you are able to make key decisions wisely.
Typically, when confronted with difficult decisions, people choose the path of least resistance or what appears to be the easiest way at first glance. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes the path of least resistance is a slower road to success. Sometimes the path that may seem difficult and more work at first could actually be the easiest in the long term. Think long term and big picture. All successful people do when making decisions.
Training ourselves to slow down and think of multiple options in complicated situations puts us in the habit of looking beyond what first meets the eye, of creating our own practical and wise solutions rather than being drawn toward the simplest ones.
Question the outcomes of a possible decision. Ask yourself; what could happen in a year from now if I make this decision? How might it affect others or the team? Will it inspire growth and action or invoke fear or both? If it invokes fear, is that okay in this situation and is it only temporary? In the long term are the benefits there or am I fooling myself?
Too often people make choices quickly and subconsciously. Sometimes it’s safe to do so—other times it’s not. Why gamble with important decisions? We can take greater control of the direction of our lives by pausing for a moment during a busy day to consider more options. We could put off making a decision until we have gathered enough information to make an informed choice. Check your options with mentors and mastermind groups or advisors. They may offer more options you didn’t see to choose from.
With their opinions to add to our own list of options, we can feel comfortable knowing we’ve gathered enough information to make a thoughtful decision that is right for us.
Sometimes we make decisions based on a gut feeling. We have no other choice because of timeframes or outside circumstance. This can work out to be the right decision. Other times it might not.
A key to becoming successful is to be decisive. Being decisive also means recognizing when we’ve made an incorrect decision and taking the time to re-think and make a new decision.
Being dynamic means being adaptable to change. It means being able to admit when we’ve made a mistake. Being dynamic and successful means thinking big picture, long term and in options, and it means being decisive. Just do it. You have the choice. Thanks for reading.