Why is it so hard to make a decision? Many of us dawdle when it comes to making one, especially a tough decision. We seem to do pretty well being able to decide if we look better in blue or red. But when it comes to questions that begin with “what should I do about…” we duck, bob, and weave into a “no decision” syndrome.
Lots of times we sneak around to avoid making decisions. But when we are placed in a crisis where a good decision must be made, here is what seems to happen:
1. We get Cranky
2. Nothing goes well
3. Food becomes tasteless
4. Anxiety increases
5. The “What should I do about…” gnaws away at your insides and you feel terrible.
Couldn’t we have learned how to resolve this decision making process in high school? It would have been a lot easier than learning about math, English, history and science.
The good news is a simple solution that I will teach you. But first let’s examine what is going on and why making a good decision is so difficult. Here are some key points:
A. We don’t want to screw up and make a wrong decision.
B. We know that when we avoid a decision that the problem sometimes goes away and we hope that will happen this time.
C. Our decision may affect someone else and we don’t want to hurt another or cause them to think less of us. We really don’t want to disappoint someone or have them crying on our shoulder or otherwise messing up our day.
D. Making a decision is a lot of work. We may not want to put forth the effort or energy to muscle through the problem.
E. A Google search for “How to make decision easy” showed 78 million results. After checking the entire first page of results, not one of the selections made decision making simple, regardless of what their website indicated.
F. Once a decision has been made…we feel terrific, all the worry and horribleness goes away. It is amazing the powerful feeling of RELIEF that overtakes the whole body.
To sum up our trouble in the decision making process, it appears we are hesitant – we hope the problem vanishes on its own – we have become excellent procrastinators (probably because we don’t want to hurt another or have them think less of us) – and/or the effort to make a decision seems too much to deal with. And the best one is that once a decision point is reached the pain leading up to the decision is relieved!
Let me tell you a secret. Years ago a friend fell in love and married the love of their life. It was wonderful. Here is the zit…after 3 years they both were miserable in their relationship. Their dream became a nightmare. Nothing had changed yet everything had changed as they experienced physical evidence of their struggles thru headaches, stomach cramps, and insomnia. They felt hopeless. A decision had to be made.
Once they realized that life did not have to be that way, they sought help in making a decision. They also wanted encouragement to make the right decisions. They found the solution in the next paragraph…maybe you will to.
Benjamin Franklin is an amazing man. He is probably America’s most famous inventor. Ben did something that offers inspiration, which you can read about in his very own diary called “Poor Richards Almanac.” Ben had difficulty making decisions, just like us. His solution took away all stress, worry and grief. It is called the “Ben Franklin Balance Sheet” and here is how it works:
1. Find a clean sheet of lined paper.
2. 1 inch from the top of the page draw a line across from left side of the page to right side.
3. Draw a line from the top of the page to the bottom of the page down the middle.
4. Above the top line on the left side write the word “FOR”.
5. Above the top line on the right side write the word “AGAINST.”
6. Under “FOR” write down all the things that favor your decision.
7. Under “AGAINST” write down all the things not in favor of your decision.
8. Total the number of items on each side and write that number above the appropriate column.
9. Circle the larger number…the winner has the most number of items.
Pretty simple isn’t it. If Ben did it, so can you.
Now if this is just too simple for you and you want to put more effort into the decision, or just look at it from another way, please add this to the list you just made:
• Under the “FOR” column label each item either A, B, or C. An “A” is a really important item. “B” items are less important that an “A”, but still important; all others, please label “C”.
• Go to your “AGAINST” column and do the same exercise so that you end up with an A, B or C beside each item.
• Now add up the “A’s” under the “FOR” and “AGAINST” columns and write those totals down…the winner should be pretty obvious.
So go ahead, make your decision, don’t agonize over it…get used to feeling good! Rejoice in that you were able to step up to the plate and resolve a pressing issue. You will feel much better and so will those around you. Let everyone know you used the wisdom of America’s Favorite inventor, Benjamin Franklin…they will be impressed and you will too.