Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.
Whether you realise it consciously or not, everything that you do is the result of a decision. You have control over but one thing and that is your thoughts and perspective. Whether something is good or bad is ultimately followed by your decision. You always have a choice.
Do you fear making mistakes? This fear exists in a brain that is designed to protect us, but your life is safe. You treat bad decisions as final, but they almost never are. You are not alone.
It’s human to make mistakes, it’s how we learn and the best lessons often follow experiences we get burned by. Although mistakes are part of life, there is a formula for successful decision making, and it’s easier than you think.
In this post I will share with you a formula that I learned from Greg Swann, which you can use to help you make better decisions both now and in the future. I use this formula not only to make better choices but to stay true to myself.
The Formula For Making Better Decisions
Imagine your back at school. Up on the wall, above your teachers head you can see a number line. In the middle is the number 0. To the right are positive numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on… To the left are negative numbers, -1, -2, -3, -4 and so on...
Your teacher used this number line to demonstrate to you that 1 is greater than 0 which is greater than -1. By moving his/her hand to the right or left that 1 + 1 = 2 or that 1 - 2 = -1.
I didn’t enjoy maths at school and if you’re anything like me you're probably thinking what on earth has maths got to do with decision making? Trust me, you need to keep reading.
How To Use The Formula For Making Better Decisions
Think about your life situation at the moment. Imagine yourself as a point on that number scale. You can start in the middle at 0 or you can start at 100. Maybe you’re a negative number? How happy are you with your life? How would you evaluate your life right now?
If you gave yourself a low or a negative number that’s ok. Don’t worry about where you are right now and don’t assume that you’ll always feel like this. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to act as if you’ve been sentenced to a miserable life. No matter where you are right now on that number line, the only thing that matters is the direction that you are going. In which direction are you moving? To the left or to the right? Think about the actions and the decisions that you are making and evaluate them in the context of where you want to be in the future.
The next time you are faced with a decision you are at an inflection point. You have to make a clear decision because you are presented with choice. Right now you have a choice, you can keep reading or you can stop. Keep reading and you might discover something, stop and you won’t. You have more choices than you know. The choice is always yours. Like Barry Manilow once said: “We are who we choose to be”.
Remember The Formula:
1 is greater than 0 which is greater than -1.
Use this formula as a lens for your decision making. In his book, Man Alive, Greg Swann uses the words splendour and squalor. If you constantly make positive decisions and choices that move you to the right on that number line you are headed in the direction of splendour. On the other hand, if you continue to make poor decisions that move you leftward on the number line you are headed in the direction of squalor.
When faced with a choice think in terms of self-love or as Greg Swann calls it, self-adoration. Which of these choices will lead to a greater sense of self-love now and more importantly in the future. Would a particular decision move your self to the right on the number line, in a positive direction towards staying true to yourself? Or would it move you to the left, in a negative direction towards possible regret and self-loathing? No matter how trivial the decision may be, it all adds up over time.
The Formula In-Action
This year one of my goals is to really focus and improve my health. Almost every other day my Grand-dad knocks at my door and invites me out to go for a pint of beer. Being from up North, I love a drink and I love spending time with my Grand-dad so my values are often compromised.
Should I go for one and keep him happy? This is the first choice. Here’s the second choice… Should I stay for one more and in turn let it become a session? People make that decision, they’re in control, I have myself. There’s no doubt that in that moment I feel an sense of joy from the alcohol but I often forget how crap I make myself feel the next morning. If I continue to make this choice how will I feel about myself tomorrow and for the rest of my life? If I continue these habits and behaviours that result in me feeling worse about myself what will the consequence be?
Plan Your Journey
When you reach any inflection point in your life think: "What's the most self-loving thing I can do?” The key is to visualise and imagine your best self. Look at things not as they are, but how you want them to be. Think big, what does perfection look like to you? The truth is that nobody’s perfect, but the success of your belief determines the success of your goals. Aim high, you might miss, but you’ll miss high. Aim low and there’s no bottom. If you do nothing, nothing will change. A big thinker always visualises what can be done in the future. He isn’t stuck with the present.
If you want to change, if you’re not happy with the direction that your life is going, and your determined not to let your current situation define your future, make up your mind and look at yourself as the person you’re hoping to become. Sit down, study and figure out what your life will look like when your happy and fulfilled. Then, figure out the necessary steps that you need to take to achieve those results and then apply yourself to them. Every time you do, imagine yourself moving up that number line and remember to score yourself a point when you do.