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Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Column -

Limit the amount of info you take in:

It is a widely ac­cepted idea that the more in­for­ma­tion you have, the bet­ter de­ci­sions you can make. How­ever, at some point, you cross a thresh­old where you have too much in­for­ma­tion. When this hap­pens, we start to fill in gaps and add weight to in­for­ma­tion that doesn’t mat­ter. An­other im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion is the source of your in­for­ma­tion. Is it un­bi­ased, is it cred­i­ble or does the per­son feed­ing you the in­for­ma­tion have an ul­te­rior mo­tive?

Re­verse your as­sump­tions:

Chal­lenge your core as­sump­tions. It might sound crazy, but you’re so prone to mak­ing the same kind of choices through­out your life, that chal­leng­ing your­self and do­ing the ex­act op­po­site is often the best way to test your de­ci­sion mak­ing. The idea here is to con­front your de­fault be­hav­iour, step out­side your com­fort zone, and use your imag­i­na­tion to test some com­pletely new ideas. For ex­am­ple, I used to al­ways go to the gym in the evenings, be­cause I didn’t think I would have enough en­ergy in the morn­ings. One week I de­cided to test that the­ory and in fact, I found that not only was I able to ex­er­cise in the morn­ing, I also had greater en­ergy lev­els for the rest of the day as a re­sult. And I started the day with a sense of ac­com­plish­ment and an en­dor­phin buzz.

Con­sider the devil’s ad­vo­cate an­swer:

Go to some­one who you know will dis­agree with your de­ci­sion, then lis­ten to their per­spec­tive to chal­lenge your own think­ing. Don’t make per­ma­nent de­ci­sions based on tem­po­rary emo­tions: When you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ex­treme emo­tions, there is truth in the ad­vice, ‘sleep on it’. When you step away from some­thing for a while and al­low emo­tional equi­lib­rium to be re­stored in your mind and body, you can see things more clearly. This also works when writ­ing a strongly worded email. Once you have it writ­ten, save it and come back to it once you have ‘calmed down’. Re-read it and then de­cide if you want to send it. ‘De­cid­ing not to de­cide’ is also a de­ci­sion: A life les­son I learned from camo­gie is this — if you spend too long mulling some­thing over, some­one else will make the de­ci­sion for you, or worse still, the op­por­tu­nity may pass you by. If you don’t know what you want, you will just take what­ever you get. Take back the con­trol.

No doubts:

When you have com­mit­ted to a cer­tain di­rec­tion don’t re­visit it in your head, sec­ond-guess­ing your­self. The de­ci­sion has been made. Be proud, as some­times the hard­est part is ac­tu­ally mak­ing the de­ci­sion. Don’t in­stantly doubt your­self and think you have made the wrong call at the first sight of an ob­sta­cle. Don’t go over and over the de­ci­sion in your mind try­ing to jus­tify it, it won’t change it, it will just waste pre­cious en­ergy. You can al­ways make an­other de­ci­sion to rec­tify things down the line, if nec­es­sary.

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