Using your gut to inform decisions

I am a persistent ditherer. It might stem from self-diagnosed ‘commitment issues’ or it might be that I can see benefit on all sides of a choice. I can’t decide. Whatever the case, it’s painful for me to make a decision and when I do, I’m forever wondering what would have happened if….

Making decisions is a skill like any other. The main thing to know is that, like the unicorn, there is no such thing as a perfect decision. There is, however, a limitless supply of informed decisions and a number of ways to generate one.

Often decisions are made based on:

  1. Identifying and isolating the decision
  2. Researching elements involved
  3. Brainstorming possible outcomes
  4. Making a list of pros and cons

Why not take it one step further by incorporating your instinct, gut or intuition? One way to do this is to meditate on the decision. It’s easy, free, and doesn’t require Wi-Fi. When we meditate, we withdraw attention from our external senses and focus internally. This allows our subconscious to search for and discover solutions we might otherwise overlook. Sometimes the result is immediate; sometimes it bubbles up into the conscious mind later on.

Meditation can be still or active. You might like to sit quietly, or prefer to walk the dog, run through the trails or even vacuum the car. As long as you are comfortable and able to turn your focus inward and on your breath you can access the benefits of being mindful and meditating.

Ask yourself:

  1. Where am I now with this situation?
  2. Where do I want to go?
  3. How am I going to get there?
  4. What resources do I need to accomplish this?

Repeat the questions as many times as you need. Then let them go and surrender your mind to whatever comes up. It gets easier as you practice.

One aspect of meditation that helps me is to recognize that even though the mind is supposed to be “still”, there are thoughts moving around. Your mind may never be completely quiet. The key is to acknowledge those thoughts but don’t give them any attention or attach any emotion to them. Meditation is not the time to actually make decisions, rather to see what comes up that can inform your decision making process.

Other questions to consider:

What do I need to know to make a great decision?

What factors will have the most impact?

What great decisions have I made in the past and how did I make them?

Who am I becoming if I say yes/no to this decision?

Choose a mentor or someone in your life that you respect. It can be someone you know personally (family, friend, coworker) or someone who you align with philosophically (spiritual leader, business guru, celebrity). What might they advise you to do in this situation? How would they make this decision for themselves?

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