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Tough Decisions Made Simple

by bobby jennings

At first glance, nothing is as simple as it seems.
After closely scrutinizing it, neither is it as complex. The trick, is merely how to look at it...

Decisions are something we start making at conception even before we exit the womb and continue until even after our last breath. At some point we start to make "conscious decisions" as opposed to unconscious ones.

We think that cell memory is stored in our DNA, the culmination of the experiences of our ancestors. As we have our own experiences, what we learn is translated into unconscious decision making triggers that are stored in this same DNA we pass along to our ancestors.

Enough you say. I can handle the easy day to day decisions like what to fix for supper and I really could care less about the unconscious decisions. What I really want to know is how to make the really gut wrenching decisions.

The Trick To Making Decisions

Ah, but there's the trick. All types of decisions are the same. A decision only has three possibilities. I will define these as "win", "lose", or "tie". Thus there can only be two expected outcomes "Tie or Lose" or "Tie and Win"

The next time you are faced with a hard decision ask yourself, "Can I tie or win or can I only tie or lose?". You only proceed  with decisions in which you can tie or win and leave the ties and losses for others or at least know the outcome of your decision will not be winning.

Making Decisions Examples

Lets Look at a few examples:

In the early 80's IBM, the most powerful computer maker in the world, was faced with a decision as to whether to write their own operating system for their new IBM PC or license it from then unknown Bill Gates and Microsoft. This should have been an easy one. But their belief that profits would be from hardware sales chose to license from Bill Gates. Thus making one of the top ten mistakes in the history of American business and making Bill Gates the wealthiest man in the world and his company bigger than IBM in 15 short years. (They could only tie or lose by licensing)

Running behind for an appointment, the traffic light changes to red. If you stop for the light you might not be late. If you run the red light you might get a ticket or have an accident. Stop or try to beat it? Easy ( You can only tie or lose by running the light.)

Your goal is to be happy. Your present job makes you unhappy, but the falling behind on your bills also makes you unhappy. If you change vocations, you may fall behind on your bills. ( You're situation is you have 1 out of 2) If you stay in your job you can only "tie or lose'". If you switch jobs, you can only "tie or win". What to do? Change jobs.

As President of The United States, you want to see that the Albanians in Kosovo are treated humanely. You decide to act. There are three possibilities that might work. Non-military intervention (tie or win), bombing the infrastructure (tie or lose), military action to immediately remove Milosevic from power (tie or win). By choosing number two, Nato and the Clinton Administration was either not thinking or lying about their motives.

The next time you are faced with a really tough decision, reduce it to "tying or winning" or "tying or losing". You'll find that 80 % of your decisions will come easier and you will be happier with the outcomes.


About The Author

bobby jennings is co-publisher of InnerSelf Publications and webmaster of InnerSelf.com. Originally a Democrat for many years, he moved to the Republican party in the mid 1980's. He now supports common sense initiatives from all parties, but is a registered Green Party member. He is an ex-Army officer and retired small business owner. He was born, raised, and educated in the "Old South" in Northern Florida. 

More articles by this author.

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