People throughout history have made decisions that they have regretted. Regret is a poison in humans that can kill us from the inside, so I wanted to come up with a clear way how to make decisions that would come without regret.
I have come up with a system to ensure that you make the best decisions possible for that time.
- Figure out the problem/ decision which needs to be solved or made
The first thing that needs to be figured out is what are you figuring out. Its almost funny how many times people have made decisions on things that they don’t completely understand.
The reason many people don’t do this is because it means we have to think about others feelings and what we did to get to the point of this decision and sometimes even take some of the blame onto ourselves. An example of this is when we decide to cut ties with someone we often blame them for it. We call them crazy, mean, weird, etc and we don’t look at ourselves and how we might have aided to drive the relationship to this point.
Another reason why we may not understand the situation fully is due to making a pre-emptive decision; making a decision on a matter we have not fully invested ourselves in and going by little to no information. An example of this would be choosing between colleges based on what we have expect from say reputation or rumours instead of hard fact.
So take your time and read deeply into the situation from all perspectives and get a firm understanding of what you are dealing with
- Look into the past
Once we understand what our issue is the next thing is to look into our own personal past and see what examples of this problems we have had.
I was told a few years back by my mother that “if history is not reviewed it is doomed to repeat itself” and that is exactly why we take this step, this step is to review our “history”. We look back into our own lives, find examples of past experiences similar to the current one and think of what worked and what did not work. What decisions do you regret and what decisions do you no regret that you made.
Many times when we are making important decisions it is hard to find clear examples in our past of that exact situation so also look at even slightly similar situations.
An example of this would be deciding if whether to cut off a friend or try to mend the relationship you can look into the past where you cut off other people or even situations where you were cut off.
Looking into the past is some of the most insightful information because as we grow up and learn we become different types of people so when we look into the past and see what worked and what didn’t work for our past selves it gives a perspective almost from another person.
If no past experiences for you have prepared you for the decision in mind then dive into other’s pasts. Talk to friends or family who may have this or a similar decision to make and find out what they did, how they felt about it, and what they would change if they were in your shoes. The more information you can gather the more informed and insightful your decision can be.
- The List
Now it is time to set up the information you have gathered into a physical form to give you and the people helping you a visual
There is only soo much information you can bring into the equation at one time when you are working out a decision in your head so it helps greatly to put all the information onto a piece paper or even a word document.
There are many ways to write out this list as there are many kinds of different decisions to make with many different layers so its not always a black and white choice
I personally for most decisions make what I call a “DO IT OR FUCK IT DIAGRAM”
Here is an example of a “DO IT OR FUCK IT DIAGRAM”
Decision: whether to go to a party
|Parties are fun
Build social skills
Can use to talk about PT to get clients
Chance to meet new people
|Little to no work will be done in this time
Could use time for better things
Everyone will be drunk and I wont (I don’t drink)
Bad for my diet
Could get in trouble for something
Unneeded judgement for not drinking
Have to dress up
This is a very small version of my usual list/ diagram. From this list id most likely decide not to go as I could spend my time much more productively (aka id choose FUCK IT) xD
This use of charts allows you to list out all the information you have in your head into one place making the decision if not easier at least far more laid out and informed which is important to making regret free decisions. I like to look at past decisions based on how informed I was at the time, if I took the steps to try and learn as much as I could and looked from multiple perspectives then there is no regret even if I made the “wrong” decision. Like I spoke about earlier in the piece as we grow up and learn we become different people so therefore decisions in our past may not line up with our current knowledge/ belief system and though “right” in the past would be considered “wrong” now. Every decision you make is correct for the time it was made and it’s pointless to regret the past because past self isn’t the same as present self. It is important to remember that your past self has made many decisions your current self would never dream of making and that you will make countless decisions your future self would not.
- The final decision
Now you have truly understood the problem/ decision, you have explored every resource, you have laid out all of your thinking, it is time to make the final decision.
Even with all the time you spent on the past 3 steps this decision still may not be easy. You can also remember that making no decision at all is also an option in nearly every case but is often the easy way out that leads to more issue.
Each case is significantly different when it comes to the decision process so I can not offer a whole lot of advice on what to choose. The only thing I can truly say with confidence is that whatever decision you made you can remember that because of these steps you took you have made the most informed and best decision for the time and circumstances and therefore making it a decision which should not be regretted.