How to Make Decisions Confidently: Listen to Your Intuition
We all suffer from prolonged indecision from time to time. When the answer isn’t clear to a choice, we start off by analyzing the costs and benefits, only to end up more lost and undecided. So what is it that helps some people to be so sure of their decisions? The secret of this confidence and decisiveness comes from knowing what you truly want. Our intuition, a.k.a. gut feeling, guides us by taking these internal factors as well as external circumstances into account when we have to make choices. In order to seek answers that come from within and not from others, start off by considering the following:
Is it purely fantasy?
Understanding the difference between what appears attractive to you and what really attracts you can be enlightening. If you asked me what kind of life I wanted, it would go something like this: To live in a spacious two bed apartment that overlooks Central Park in NYC, cab downtown in a Chanel suit whilst fielding calls from clients who pay me several million a year to deal with high profile litigation cases. And to hang out at the cafe just downstairs with a group of close friends who happen to live nearby after work. How much of that resembled a scene from the TV series Friends, or Suits? We have fantasies that can include being international pop stars, billionaire inventors or famous housewives of reality TV, but these can be due to the external influences such as social media, parents and friends rather than what we genuinely want. People often chase after things that appear attractive, but discover afterwards that they don’t want it at all.
What kind of fear am I feeling?
When you cannot decide on something because you feel scared, this can be very telling about what you really want. Human beings are born to be instinctive, and fear could be your intuition’s way of telling you that it is a bad idea to go ahead with a decision, especially if you don’t want it. However, there is another type of fear that can come out choosing, when we think something is too much for us to handle, despite wanting it. This usually represents a foreseeable challenge from the choice that we want, but we lack the confidence in ourselves to handle it. How do you tell if it is a good or bad fear, and thus figure out if you really want something or not? Look at the way your body reacts as you think and talk about it.
What are my friends like?
It is uncanny how quickly we can click with new friends in life, but still feel like strangers to other people that we’ve known for many years. Regardless of how long you’ve known someone, we are more drawn to some people than others. Revealing indicators of who these people are include the time you choose to spend with them, as well as those you genuinely respect. More often than not, they share common values with yourself, as this facilitates a mutual and deep understanding that helps you ‘click’ with each other. By observing the values and interests of those closest to you, this can shed light on your own character, likes and values as well.
Am I willing to accept the costs?
If you are unsure whether you truly want something or not, think about whether you would be willing to put up with the hardships that come along with the choice. Most people analyze choices in terms of the benefits, such as what they gain from choosing something over another. Whilst this method can work well in situations where one choice clearly offers much more objective benefits than others, such as choosing the job that pays the most money, it may not reflect what you truly and subjectively prefer.
In order to make confident decisions, we must first learn to listen to our intuition. By distinguishing between what appears attractive and what we really want, understanding the types of fear we experience, paying attention to the values of our closest friends, and being willing to accept the costs, we can make choices that are true to ourselves. Ultimately, there are no wrong choices in life, and even if we make a mistake, we can always learn from it and make the decision right.