How to make better decisions (Part I)

Jan 8, 2008 by


Introvert doesn’t like decision making, am I right?

Probably I should say it that introvert make decision only after a long thoughts, after putting some consideration, after putting some reflection, bringing some past experiences for reference, and then wondering the pro and cons, and eventually take a decision. That’s really a long way isn’t it?

This is what Marti Olsen Laney, Psy. D. has been mentioning in her book The Introvert Advantage, about how introverts speaks, compared to the extroverts. She mentioned that the brain path of speaking for extrovert is very short, they don’t trigger the past memories for reference, they think while they’re speaking. Introverts’ path is much longer in speaking, and I believe that’s what happens when introverts are making decision as well.

So, how can we make a better decision?

Recently I read an article from the Reader’s Digest (RD) edition December 2007, and it has a very good article, titled “10 Ways to Make Better Decision”, the article is about how science and research that has been conducted are found helpful to help us make better decision. Here are the first two ways that has been shared…

Don’t fear the consequences!

You know what is fear?

Fear is the anticipation of pain!

T. Harv Eker

We delayed decision making, most of the time because of the fear of the consequences, we think that the consequences will have so much pain, and we are anticipating them. Here is what a psychologist Daniel Gilbert from Harvard University is saying, quoted from the RD magazine.

The hedonic consequences of most events are less intense and briefer than most people imagine.

Daniel Gilbert (Harvard University)

It’s tragic, isn’t it? the consequences is not as big as what we imagine, what we’re anticipating are not there most of the time! RD also mentioned about “loss aversion”, which is the belief that a loss will hurt more than a corresponding gain will please.

Instead of fearful about the consequences, turn the table upside down, how about thinking of the best that can happen to us, the question has been added by Patricia from Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker on my article, Five questions to ask your little voice. You know what? in every success there is criticism, in every step of action, there is possibility of rejection or failure. Here is a quote from Ken Robinson that I like so much…

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will not come out with anything that is original.

Ken Robinson @ TedTalk Podcast

Think about what the benefit we will gain, instead of the bad things that can happen. Think of success, think of authenticity, think of how it will benefit others, some people even if not all people, because you can’t make everyone happy, think of the money you can make. In short, think success!

Go with your gut!

Here is really a message that an introvert really need to take note, many times we think that good decisions require time and consideration, but research has found that sometimes an instinctive choice is just as good, if not better! Here is a summary of the research that has been written in RD…

Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov from Princeton University found that we make judgments about a person’s competence, trustworthiness, agressiveness, likeability, and attractiveness within the first 100ms of seeing a new face. Given longer to look – up to one second – the researchers found that observers hardly revised their views, they only became more confident in their snap decisions.

Reader’s Digest (December 2007)

Introverts are always seen as non-responsive, slow in answering a question and decision making. Before answering, they need to bring many considerations and thoughts in the process! It will help, if what we dig are the considerations from the experience and things that we have learned over the years. Yet, it will become a worse decision if what we bring from the past are the pain of failure, those that results in the fear of answering or making an action!

T. Harv Eker in his Millionaire Mind Intensive seminar that I attended last December in Singapore, showed me a very good illustration on how many times our fear made us not to take the business opportunities that are available.

He showed us an opportunity that is available as an image in the white board! When we come towards the image, we’ll see the image, considering them, and then we splash them with our fear, our doubt, our worry, and at the end we will not be able to see the opportunity again and we let go of the opportunity!

Once, I’m being asked by a friend of mine, “What is your dream?”, the first answer that comes to my mind at that point of time is “being a business leader”, yet after some thoughts, so many pessimism are splashed to my gut answer, all the belief that I’m no good enough, I don’t have this and that capabilities, and so on. Looking at me for not giving answer for a long time, he commented at me, “C’mon, you should not take that long, give me the first answer that comes to your mind!”.

He pointed the right thing, sometimes the first answer that comes to our mind, that’s the gut, it’s something that we need to learn to be dare to speak it out, or to make action on. Gut decision making can be good, it reflects our subconscious mind, what we desire, and we will not find any time to splash it with our fear, doubt and worry.

In Conclusion

In this first part of making better decision, I’d like to conclude as better decision are not following your fear! Dare to make decision! Take it as practice! What if it’s a practice?

  1. It’s okay to make failure, in a practice, there will always be a failure, take the lesson instead of the pain!
  2. Look forward, practice usually meant for competition, it’s not the real thing yet, we will need practice more and more for the real competition. Never look back and resenting the decision that you have made. Nothing that you can change about them! Instead, look forward and take a decision to learn from your failure today, and think about the success that you will have tomorrow!

Please share in the comments if you have experience on how your decisions are proven to be better when you’re not following your fear.

We can do it! Keep on growing, one step at a time!

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(photo by nerovivo)

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  1. The information in your post strikes me hard. I have a tendency to jump into unknowns for the sake of learning. I know I am fearful. But the excitement of venturing into some new areas pushes me. The experiences gained are long-lasting. They give me added confidence.
    My message to others is similar to that in this post: “Do not fear failure”. Take failure as part of learning. Take it positively. We are human afterall.

  2. Robert A.

    Thanks for your comment Ee Hai, also for sharing your story! Inspired by your courage as well!

  3. Robert, thank you for this most excellent article on decision making. Since I’m more introverted than extroverted, I was interested in what you had to say about that. I may read Dr. Laney’s book now.

    It’s so true that we put off making decisions out of fear. Sometimes when I’m faced with making a big decision, I go crazy over the details and can’t just let my gut take me where I really know I want to go. I have found over time that if I tell myself that I have time and I don’t have to make the decision immediately that I give myself the breathing room and emotional space to let the answer come to me.


  4. You have set some useful guidelines for better decision making. However much I educate myself on decision making when it comes to “action” emotions take over my brain!
    Anyways.. “bad decision” in the past has shaped me to make better decisions in this day and age ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Robert A.

    Thanks for the comment, many great insights that I learn from Marti’s book, get one copy to understand your introversion side better and make the full advantage out of it!
    You have an interesting point, not to let your panic to make decision for you. We should hold the decision if we need to calm down, but don’t let the fear decide for you!

    Thanks for adding in your thoughts, we need to be careful not to follow our emotions too much, sometimes it’s misleading, if you know the truth, follow what you know you have to do even when you don’t feel like doing it, that’s one of the key to be successful in life!


  6. I don’t think the fear of decision making is limited to just introverts. Extroverts like myself are in the same boat, instinctively. Great article! Lots of food for thought.

    I too loved T. Harv Eckhart’s MMI. It really brought a lot of hidden patterns out in the open and have shifted the way I think.

    My Tip: Trust your gut. And learn to recognize when your gut is speaking out of fear and when it is speaking out of infinite intelligence. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Robert A.

    Hi Tina, thanks for adding in your insights, I agree with your statement here…

    learn to recognize when your gut is speaking out of fear and when it is speaking out of infinite intelligence.”

    That’s really something we need to learn, and I will discuss more in the subsequent parts of this series.
    Thanks for reminding all of us!


  8. Alice

    I’m awaken at the mist of poundering whether take marketing or accounting degree courses that will secure my future instead of fulfilling my satisfaction. i know i like marketing but due to my certain incapability like speech disorder has driven me to consider taking accounting.

    I start to think a lot and suffer depression of making decision because i dont really like accounting. And this decision is made on the basis of fulfilling my obligation to get a secure job to secure my family future.

    After reading your articles , i know avoiding fears and problems wont help much. What i need to do is follow my heart blame no one for that anyhow.

  9. Hi Alice, thank you for letting me know that. Reading your comments reminded me to follow my gut as well =).
    I must thank you again for that..
    I am happy that it’s not too late for you to make the decision. From my opinion, marketing is not always about speech. You can do a lot of different ways besides speech.
    If you are interested to improve your speech. I’ll suggest to search for a Toastmaster club near you.
    Here is the website where you can find them

    All the best Alice!


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