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October 2015 Article

Making Good Decisions
By Jim Luger, CDEI
Certified Distance Education Instructor 

The best choice between alternatives is sometimes unclear, and uncertainty can grow as the importance of the decision increases. Here are seven time-tested techniques you can use—and share with your clients—to sort out best choices.
 
1. Clarify what you are deciding about.
To help an indecisive buyer, for example, coach him or her by asking “Are you deciding about the amount of the seller’s counter offer, or about whether you can afford this home?”
 
2. Be objective.
Visualize a scale perfectly balanced on its fulcrum, and be open-minded about the way it tips when you make a list of the reasons for, and against, the choice you are making. For example, you might love the new car you just test-drove, but if the financial burden outweighs your prospects of feeling good long-term, you might decide to return home in your old car.
 
3. Is it best for my life and my family’s life?
Difficult, even painful, decisions are often made clearer when you hold them up against the larger picture. With that perspective, you can more confidently let go, or go ahead.
 
4. Advise an imaginary stranger.
Imagine a stranger asking your advice about the same decision you are trying to make. Pay attention to the advice you give him or her, and apply it to your own decision. You can perform this magical little exercise either as a mental fantasy, or in writing.
 
5. Zoom into the future.
Picture yourself in the future, perhaps even at the end of your life, looking back at this decision. What would you honestly say about the decision you are about to make?
 
6. Pros and cons.
With the main objective clearly in mind, write a column of reasons to go ahead, and a column of reasons to not go ahead. Decide according to the motives that are the most compelling.
 
7. Feeling good?
Notice how you feel after coming to your decision. If you feel internal peace about it, then it’s probably a good decision.
 
Disclosure: I don’t deserve credit for creating these techniques—and they are not new ideas. They were published by Ignatius Loyola in the year 1527.

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