Four Inputs For Your Decision-Making Process

Every day you are confronted with opportunities to define your life by making a decision. What is your decision-making process? More specifically: Who are you listening to? Where do you turn for advice? (…if you even turn anywhere for advice). How you answer these questions tells me how likely you are to succeed, fail, or just get by.Decision-making

Does your decision-making lack a rudder?

In the preface to STUCK…how to mend and move on from broken relationships, I write:

I’m struck how this present generation lacks mentors, guides, and sages. These counselors exist, but we don’t have the same access to them that we once did. Many of us grow up in broken families, often moving from place to place, overloaded with options from our media-rich world, and disconnected from the churches and civic organizations that once held us together and served as anchors for our lives.  It’s as if we have to find the answers to life on our own, reinventing the wheel with each problem we face. It can be a lonely place not knowing where to turn for some of the most basic and important decisions in life.

As a result, our “advisors” in life  become our favorite TV shows, our favorite musical artists or authors, or the group consensus around the water cooler at work. But what seems to work on TV, or sounds insightful through the radio waves, doesn’t mean it’s true or helpful for you in the long run.  Our lives can become like rudderless ships, pushed in whatever direction the wind blows.

Good decision-making is often counter intuitive.

I was reminded of this recently as I watched Les Miserables.  The story is of an ex-convict who encounters the love of God through the forgiveness of a priest. He then commits himself to offer that same grace to others, at great expense to himself.  His decisions throughout life go against what most watercooler counselors would advise. Yet his life offers compelling evidence that sacrificial love and forgiveness are worth the price you pay. His decisions weren’t based on selfishness or common wisdom but in timeless spiritual truths.

Quality decision-making pays a high return.

I received an inheritance this year. The first thing I did was turn to a financial expert to help advise me in how to invest the money so it will serve me in years to come. Every day we inherit another 24 hours but we aren’t always so quick to get the expert advice we need that will benefit us in years to come. Maybe you suffer a few regrets for that reason.

Four Inputs For Quality Decision-Making.

As you enter this new year, I hope you’ll consider your source of advice. When facing the big decisions about career, relationships, finances, or faith, where are you turning? To whom are you listening? Here are four advisors to consider:

  1. Successful people. Whom do you want to be like? Talk to people that have proven themselves to be good decision makers. Ask them to mentor you and seek their counsel.
  2. Experts or Counselors. These people deal with hundreds of people: thousands over a span of years. What is unique and overwhelming to you is old hat to them. The Bible says that wisdom is found in those who take advice (Proverbs 13:10).
  3. Expert authors. In the column of this blog I’ve listed some of my top picks for books. They will give you great advice in important areas of life.
  4. The Bible. No book has keener insight into our hearts and what leads us astray or to success. The book of Proverbs in the Bible alone offers an abundance of time-tested advice. One Bible character (David) said that God’s words were like counselors to him (Psalm 119:24).

Most of this advice is yours for free. Why would you want to make any major decision without the benefit of these inputs?  You can save yourself a world of hurt with just a little bit of time and the humility to listen.  Don’t let pride or impatience cause you to settle for for what “seems” good or what “others are doing.” Get the input you need that will serve you and others well for years to come.

I hope 2013 will be a year of good decision-making for you!

Question: What/who has helped you make good decisions in the past? Leave your comment below. Thanks!