By MICHELLE MILLER
There is making a decision, and then there is making what many call an informed decision. The question is, what is it that informs your decisions?
It is my observation that informed decisions are not so much about the volume of information gathered, but more so about your capacity to examine and understand the information gathered. It is only through critical thinking skills that you can best decide what’s ‘right’ for you to do.
Irrational thinking is the leading cause of poor decision-making that may not serve our best interests. There is a need to scrutinise the information that you are using to make your decisions. You cannot make an informed decision without being adequate informed.
This means being mindful of propaganda, because there is information and misinformation. It is your responsibility to be discriminate in the information ingested or rejected. As the old adage goes, ‘All that glitters isn’t gold’.
To make an informed decision, you must engage in the process of analysing the pros and cons.
An informed decision maker is a position of power and authority. It ought not be taken casually, especially when those decisions have life-changing consequences.
Consider the onerous decisions like getting married, buying a home, becoming a parent or conforming to a certain religious philosophy. Such decisions have lasting influence on your life. It is therefore critical that you understand, in advance, the possible consequences of such decisions.
Whether it is clear to you or not, there is a consequence intertwined in every decision that you make or fail to make. A marriage, for example, is more than having a great wedding. It has embedded consequences that require both parties to adjust in sharing their resources and making decisions as a couple henceforth.
Let me also say that a consequence is merely a result. It is not necessarily a negative. In fact, there are both beneficial and not so beneficial consequences in every decision that we make. Making an informed decision is all about understanding the information before you decide.
There is also the credibility factor. It is your responsibility to verify not only the source of the information but also the credibility of that source. If you are making decisions with information that lack credibility, your decisions may be vulnerable to an implosion.
Still, there those who are motivated to make their decisions on hearsay. Such information is often difficult to verify. This is why hearsay’is typically not admissible in the court of law.
Of course, there is also the notion of emotional information, given in a way to sway people’s decisions. It is an old but very effective strategy. For this reason, you must take responsibility to do more than just get information, but also examine its credibility and veracity. This kind of critical thinking is a gift that you give to yourself in order to make an informed decision. Fail to do so, and your decision making power may be hijacked by others.
Take the time to think critically about the details to make decisions that best serve your desired outcome. Even though this process may sound as simple as pie, it is not. You must equip yourself with the right kind of skills and tools to think things through.
Leader to leader, do not allow yourself to fall prey to other people’s emotional agendas. Take the lead to analyse the information that comes your way before accepting it as the source of your decisions.
Quality decision-making is an essential life skill. When you take the time to examine the information that you feed your mind to make your decisions, you are better equipped to live an empowered life. Yes, you definitely can do it.
What do you think?
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• Michelle M Miller is a certified life coach, communication and leadership expert. Visit www.talktomichellemiller.com or call 1-888-620-7894; mail can be sent to PO Box CB-13060