Every difficult decision we make is an opportunity to define ourselves as people and declare our uniqueness to the world. There are techniques that can help us make decisions with more calm, balance and coherence with our vital roadmap.
When it comes to deciding, just when we should be more lucid, fear and anxiety can throw us into great confusion. Not seeing which path is the most appropriate – assuming that there is one better than another – doubt paralyzes us.
The following techniques can help us face decision making with calmer and balance and above all deciding in coherence with our values, purpose and vital roadmap. Because, as Ruth Chang, Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, says, every difficult decision we make is an opportunity to define ourselves as a person and declare to the world our uniqueness.
1. GO FROM PARALYSIS TO ANALYSIS
When making decisions, we fear being wrong, assuming that there is a right path and another that is not. To overcome the fear of deciding, we must accept that there are things that we cannot foresee. But to decide clearly, you also have to take the time to analyze all the internal information (see what our priorities are, what emotions each option arouses, etc.) and external, collecting the data that is available to us on the elements that can be involved.
2. OBSERVE ALL PARTS
If you do the exercise of “Edward de Bono’s hats” you will be able to give voice to all your parts. First put on a hypothetical white hat to think about the concrete facts, without interpretations. With black, try to see the difficulties that may arise. With green, try to get out of your comfort zone and look for alternatives. Put on a red hat to evaluate the situation from the emotional side, intuition and heart. With yellow, look at the silver lining. The blue hat, the moderator of the debate, will have the last word.
3. DON’T BE IN A RUSH TO ANSWER
Some people tend to decide “yes” almost always and others tend to “no” in any case. What is your trend? It is important to be aware of this, sustain uncertainty and take time to assess without reacting automatically. We usually work from the ego, based on stereotyped behavior patterns. This can lead us to make the same kinds of decisions, which does not help us create new possibilities. Before deciding, try to connect with that wiser part that transcends through meditation.
4. GO A LITTLE FURTHER
If after analyzing the situation we are still stuck, we can also ask our body and get it to speak for us. Place a paper (or a cushion) on the floor that represents each of the options and put your feet on each of them. Close your eyes for a moment and connect with yourself: what sensations do you feel? Where does your body lean? Where does it feel more rooted? In what position do you feel most comfortable?
5. ACCEPT THAT THERE IS RESIGNATION
Choosing one path almost always implies losing another, that is, knowing how to give up. However, wanting to cover everything also has a price, as does not deciding anything, since it is also deciding. It is something we do constantly when we continue with our usual routine and do not face any changes. Taking responsibility for our life means taking charge of it through the decisions we make.
6. FIND THE WAY TO INTEGRATE
Another technique to decide well is to make a list with the advantages and another with the disadvantages of each option, and then establish a dialogue between the most opposite parties. To mediate between them until reaching the maximum possible integration, it can help to have the intervention of a friend who knows you well. But in the process, don’t forget that you can’t control everything and that you can’t always tell if things are good or bad for you.
7. VISUALIZE THE ENTIRE PATH
To dare to take action and reaffirm your decision, it will help you to visualize where the path you are going to take will take you. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the situation that leads you to a decision. How you feel? You like what you see? To finish evaluating, also imagine the framework in which the other options place you. What do you feel? Perhaps it will also be good for you to visualize what your life will be like without taking either of the two options. We cannot go anywhere if we have not imagined it before.
8. CLEAR UP THE INTERNAL CONFLICT
Establish a dialogue between reason and emotion. Place one cushion in front of another: one will be your mind and the other your heart. And one between the two will be the wisest part. Sit on the heart cushion and make your emotions speak while your mind listens. Then, place yourself on the cushion that represents your mind and make it speak to your heart. Next, place yourself on the cushion on your wise side so that reason and heart can reach an agreement and decide hand in hand.
9. LIFE ALSO DECIDES
Sometimes, when we decide, we put as much pressure on ourselves as if our life depended on it. We do not usually think that life can have other plans for us and things can change from one moment to another. One of my patients decided to borrow a car to go to a party. But it was stolen. He felt very guilty and thought it was a bad decision. What was his surprise when the owner of the car thanked him for what happened: the insurance had ended up paying for a new car?