Making Wise Decisions in Uncertain Times
1. Determine, as specifically as possible, what the decision is that needs to be made.
Ask yourself – Is this really my decision or someone else’s? and Do I really even need to make a decision right now? The bottom line is this – if you don’t have at least two options, there really is no decision to be made. So also ask yourself – Why is this decision important to me, and what values does this decision really involve for me?
2. Detail on paper as many alternatives as you can think of.
It’s always a good idea to brainstorm as many different alternatives as you can imagine…and don’t put any limitations on that imagination! Decision time is not the time to be judgmental. Just be sure to write down every possibility that comes into your mind.
3. Discover as much information as you can about possible alternatives.
If, after brainstorming, you only come up with a few alternatives, you’ll want to get more information. Ask your friends…talk to your family…reach out to your co-workers and fellow church members…check out state and federal agencies, professional organizations, and online services…read newspapers, magazines, books…if nothing is happening, make some waves…knowledge is power…use it to create a new reality.
4. Delve into a thorough investigation of those alternatives.
When your list of alternatives is complete, use the same sources of information to find out more about the specifics of each option. The more information you gather, the more ideas will probably pop into your head. Be sure to write these down and check them out, too, because one thing can lead to something else, entirely.
5. Dispose of any alternatives which do not fit into your personal value framework.
Now that you have your list of alternatives, evaluate them to see which ones really work for you. Write down the values that would come into play for each alternative. Then, look for the alternatives which would allow you to use the greatest number of those values. As you sort through your options, and are honest with yourself, these things will become clear to you.
6. Do a reality check.
As you visualize the outcome of each alternative, ask yourself – Which of my remaining alternatives are most likely to happen? Cross off those alternatives that most likely will not happen to you, then review your remaining alternatives and decide which ones feel most comfortable to you. For each remaining alternative on your list, picture what the outcome of that alternative will look like. Here, too, it helps if you write out your impressions.
7. Dare to commit to your decision, once you have made it.
No decision is set in stone, but at least allow for a reasonable amount of time to even know that you’ve made the right decision before second-guessing it.