When I was younger, I almost killed my sister.
And that would have been a shame, because I really LIKE my sister.
Here’s how the story goes…
I was 7….she was 5… I was bored…and I had a GENIUS idea!
“Brittney!!! Come here!! I’m going to put you in the laundry basket and push you down the stairs! It’s going to be so much fun!”
At that time, she did whatever I told her to do, so she happily sat in the laundry basket and I then pushed her to her probable death.
About 2.3 seconds later, I had one of those “OH-CRAP” moments.
And as she nearly flipped upside down, she looked like this.
(Yes, that’s my sister, and yes she’s going to kill me for posting that.)
Luckily, I was somehow able to stop her from flipping over.
Then I panicked and I did what kids do when they know they’ve done something awful…
I turned to my sister and pleaded, “DON’T TELL MOM.”
So in light of my failure to make a good decision that day, I’ve put together a few suggestions for making better decisions… and I hope they’ll be helpful.
1. Take Time to Think Things Through
Alright guys. Face it. A lot of us tend to make rash decisions. Not always, but sometimes. We have these lightbulb moments! and we think our ideas are fabulous! and we act, usually, without thinking too much about them.
Had I taken some time to think about pushing my sister down the stairs, I probably would have come to the conclusion that playing with our Barbies was a much better afternoon activity.
2. Seek Advice from People Who Matter
Now this is a big one. Had I gone and asked my mom what she thought about my wonderful idea, she would have ever-so-nicely told me that I was a crazy lunatic.
When we’re making decisions in life, no matter how old we are, it’s not a bad idea to seek advice from people who matter. From people with good opinions and insight. It’s a great way to get some additional perspective just to make sure we’re not missing anything.
3. Think About ALL Possible Consequences
Now I’m not completely positive, but I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of my super-wonderful-great-fun idea.
The only thing on my mind was:
YAYY! This is going to be AWESOME.
So before we make decisions, it’s probably a good idea to consider ALL possible consequences.
What can possibly happen?
Who can this possibly affect?
What is this going to cost me?
Taking some time to answer these questions will make sure you clearly think about the possible negative consequences. Then, you’ll be in a better position to make a sane decision.
4. Ask Yourself WHY You Want to Do Something
Why you want to do something is a very important part of making a decision. So go ahead and ask yourself why you wanna do it.
If your answer is, “Oh, I don’t know. Because I’m bored.”
That’s a bad answer.
So don’t do whatever it was that you were thinking about doing.
You don’t make big decisions just because you’re bored.
Instead, go make yourself a sandwich or something.
5. Follow Some Kind of Basic Decision-Making Model
Although you might find it a bit dorky, it’s extremely helpful to follow a basic decision-making model.
Here’s one that I just learned in my leadership and decision-making class taught by the best professor I’ve ever had:
a. Define the problem.
b. Generate alternatives.
Following some kind of logical reasoning when making decisions is a whole lot better than just doing things because you think they’ll be fun. Or because it’s the first thing you can think of. Or because you’re bored. Or just because it’s what everyone else is doing.
So from now on, whenever I have a big decision to make, I’ll think about the time I almost killed my sister and I’ll use some of these tools to make better decisions.
Because again, I do like my sister.
I’d be really bored without her.
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