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Seven-Step Decision Making Process

Do you need to make a decision, but you're not sure what to do? The following seven step decision making process can help.

1. Start with your immediate intuitive feelings.

Take a few notes about your immediate intuition. Suppose, for example, you're not sure whether to take a particular job. Ask yourself if you should take the job, imagine taking it, and then jot down whatever comes to mind and how you feel about it.

2. Question your intuition.

At its best, intuition is the efficient use of all the information and past experience you have in your unconscious mind. But at its worst, it's feelings based on faulty thinking, greed or fear. Watch for these other motivations before relying too heavily on intuition. You want your intuition to be simply an efficient use of your unconscious resources.

3. Start gathering information.

You should always gather information before making a big decision - and take notes. For example, when deciding where to go for vacation, you can write down the costs of the various choices, and what things you'll be able to do at each destination.

4. Consider the pros and cons.

What are the good points about each possible choice, and the bad points? Write them down. For uncertain possibilities, good or bad, make a note about whether the risk or possible reward is "not very likely," "likely," or "very likely."

5. Imagine worst and best cases.

With each of your possible choices, consider the worst that could happen, and the best that could happen. Which is more likely, and how do the various options appear when considered this way?

6. Use your intuition again.

Look over the information you have gathered, and review everything you have considered. Now make a few notes about how you think and feel about your choices. This is the next-to-last step in this decision making process.

7. Make a decision, and act immediately.

It may be okay to be slow about gathering and analyzing information. But after your second intuitive assessment it's best to make a decision quickly. Your decision making process should lead inexorably to a decision. If not, you're actually training yourself to be indecisive - which isn't very useful, and can also be very stressful.

The moment a decision is made, you should also act immediately. This can be a small step. If you decide to write a book, for example, you should turn on the computer and write the first line, or put the pen and paper on the desk. This immediate action trains you to treat your decisions as meaningful, and not just as wishful thinking - and it's an important part of the whole process.

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