Sometimes the right choice is obvious. Other times, the solution is a little less clear. When you’re most uncertain, you’re often in a situation with great potential. This type of confusion is common when you come to a crossroads in life. The biggest decisions are often the most intimidating.
The ability to make challenging decisions increases with experience.
Try these techniques to deal with uncertainty and make intelligent decisions:
1. Be clear regarding your values. A wise choice might be easier if you’re aware of your values. Whenever you’re stuck, return to your values and take another crack at the situation. If you’ve never considered what your values may be, take the opportunity to make a list and describe what’s most important to you.
2. Gather more information. Do you have enough information to make a good decision? Take the time you need to gather the information needed to make a wise choice. Take advantage of every possible resource.
3. Avoid indecision as a decision. There’s a difference between taking your time and being indecisive. Make no mistake: failing to make a decision is a decision. It’s a decision to rely on luck and forces outside yourself to decide your fate. When you don’t make a decision, you lose control of your future.
4. Ask a mentor for advice. Maybe someone else you know has faced a similar dilemma. Experience counts for a lot. Get guidance if it’s available to you, but avoid blindly following the advice of others. Make your own decision. A mentor guides, but he doesn’t decide.
5. Relax. Your brain works better when it’s relaxed. An overly stressed state results in the inhibition of the higher functions of your brain. Your best ideas come when you’re mentally at ease. Take a long, hot bath and ponder your situation.
6. Get some exercise. Physical exertion can change your chemistry and provide a new perspective. Hit the gym for an hour and then reconsider your dilemma. Don’t be surprised if you have a few new ideas.
7. Meditate or pray. The choice is yours. The mental state achieved through meditation and prayer can be highly creative. You’ll be in a better place to make a good decision.
8. What would you tell a friend in the same situation? Dealing with the challenges of others can be clearer than dealing with your own. What would you tell a friend or family member? It may be wise to take your own advice!
9. Review your goals. Each action you take will make achieving your goals either more or less likely. How do your choices mesh with your goals? This can be an effective way to find an intelligent solution. Make a list of goals if you don’t already have one.
10. Consider the downside. Maybe there is more than one choice with the same potential benefits. But consider the possible downside to each option. Manage your risk. When two or more options have the same potential benefit, the choice with the least risk is often the best.
When you’re stuck, it means that all the choices seem equivalent. After you’ve done everything you can to reach a decision, choose.
Even if you’re still uncertain, make a choice and stick with it until you’re certain it was a wrong choice. Even a poor decision is usually better than no decision at all. Taking action might show you a new idea for a better approach. And you’ll be moving forward, instead of stuck in the quagmire of indecision.