Why did I name them decisional vitamins? For me, they are like mental pills thrown in a plastic bag, and I’m just a myopic patient who has to try each vitamin to find the perfect treatment.
Tools 2 through 7, by the way, are based on my favorite takeaways from the excellent book “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work” by Chip and Dan Heath.
1. Ask a specialist
I used to ask opinions from people outside my domain. Either they supported me blindly or criticized me without having experience. Did their attitudes help me? Of course not — I was asking the wrong people.
On the contrary, I made my best decisions after receiving advice from people with clarity — specialists who made tough decisions before me, in the same field.
If I don’t know a specialist in my field, I call a competent person involved in the future of my decision. If it’s difficult to find a competent person, I begin my online research.
2. AND, not OR
Every time I need to decide between two actions, an alarm rings in my head to remind me of the AND, not OR method.
Thinking of a new decision that combines the advantages of two actions adds more alternatives to my decision-making process and therefore increases my probability of success. It’s a useful reflex even for small decisions.
3. The method 10/10/10
I use this method when I shop: Usually, I walk into a store, see the product and touch it to convince myself that I’ll use it and it’ll bring me happiness. Then, I ask myself, “How would my decision impact me after ten minutes, ten months, or ten years?”
Of course, I’ll be happier with a new product after the first ten minutes. However, thinking about how I’ll feel after ten months or ten years is another ball game — I see myself crammed with another useless object, which is why I often decide not to buy the product.
4. What new owners would decide?
After being passionately involved in my activity, I stopped seeing the big picture, and time passed quickly without the ideal amount of improvement.
However, I begin to dream big again when I imagine how the business leaders I follow would behave after walking into my office and taking my place.
5. What advice would I give to my best friend?
This question helps me understand what my heart really wants.
What would I do if my best friend asked for my advice?
In most cases, I think I’d question him just to understand better his desires and chances. Imagining and writing down these new questions might help me find new answers to my doubts.
6. The “pre-mortem” analysis
Just like in a bet, I need to be precise — to know what my minimum results should be and when I should retire or revise my decision before everything could crumble.
Moreover, I like to set a milestone to understand when I can say my decision was a good one.
7. Call a pessimist
Close friends tend to sustain my craziest ideas because they enjoy my enthusiasm. However, I need to hear a pessimist’s opinion to keep my feet on the ground.
Fortunately or not, I have a friend who deals daily with many business managers but literally contradicts everything I decide — for my decision journal, he’s a treasure.
8. My purpose
Many times, I’ve sacrificed financial gains for keeping my moral values, and, after a while, fate rewarded me.
My moral values define my character and, my business is nothing without the long-term values on which I’ve created it: a travel agency in which tourism is an art.
When do I know that this decisional vitamin is the key to the success of my action? When I realize that one of the choices gets me closer to my purpose.
9. A vitamin supplement: consult the subconscious
At last, if I’m still undecided, there is this spiritual tool that I tried recently and turned things around even if I was sure of a specific action.
Alexander Hayne, author of the book “Master the Day,” explains that he places three cards on the ground, each with a decision. Then, he randomly chooses a card, stands on it, and imagines how the future would suddenly look like with that decision. When a body is relaxed and opened, the subconscious agrees with that action. On the other hand, a closed and tight body suggests avoiding a decision.
The decisive question I ask myself when I stand on those cards is, “how do I walk on the street now after I’ve made this decision? Am I anxious or energetic?”
Now, let’s take a look at my decision journal in action. I might not necessarily use every single vitamin each time, but I try to use as many as possible.