I recall several of my decisions taken at different stages (and of course, there are more to follow!). Needless to mention, few of them are quite regrettable. Making decisions is one of the most difficult tasks people face. Why it is so? Probably, because we have multiple choices available before any decision. If there is only one choice available before taking a decision, even if the outcome is bad, we would not complain. But when the number of choices grows, the difficulty increases exponentially. Here are some of the non-scientific decision making ways that I have come across:
- Flipping a coin: It may be a useful tool for taking the decisions when there is no or very little idea about the future. For example: getting married; even though there are billions of examples around, we never know what will happen to our conjugal life.
- Decision based on superstition: At times, superstition could be a mean to making good decisions. If a black cat runs across the road in our way, sometimes; it may be wise thing to turn back. I know, many of my friend will not agree to the cat's example. But the point I want to make is, to act according to our hunch. Hunches can be just as valuable as knowledge.
- Random decision: People say that, at times, random decisions can be even better than a well-thought and planned decisions. If we have to choose a movie to watch tonight, and we don't have a good idea, we can go for one that begins with our favorite letter.
- Decision based on experience: There is a problem with this kind of decision making. If the previous decision turned out to be a good one, then fine; but it sucks if it was a bad one.
The problem is not only with too many choices available while making a single decision, but also multiple associated decisions to be made at the same period. Imagine, for a moment, that you are facing a very difficult decision about which of two job offers to accept. One position offers good pay and job security, but is pretty boring, whereas the other job is really interesting and offers reasonable pay, but has questionable job security. Obviously, you will find yourself in a dilemma on opting a particular offer. At this point, if you have some other decision to make then your decision to accept a particular job offer is likely to be influenced by the third seemingly unrelated decision. Hence, It is said that if you are exhausted by making several minor decisions, you should avoid taking any major decision for some time. Our stressed brain may not be in a good shape to make any important decision.
We have so far discussed about capricious approach of taking decisions as well as, the amount of influence that minor decisions can potentially make to a major one. I have made several decisions that I regretted afterward. I think all of us do the same. Many people emphasize on the fact that there is no point to regret. It may cause stress in our brain and may hamper the future decisions. However, we can't stop regretting if the decision we took was through a conscious effort. On the other hand, some make decision to only regret it. Does it mean that we should take a non-scientific route while arriving at some particular decision? Because, if we made the bad decision by some arbitrary and capricious method (such as flipping a coin) it is much easier to dump the decision and move on.
I believe that most of you may have faced dilemma while deciding on major issues particularly with too many choices available. What, in your opinion, would be the best way to take any major decision?