The decisions you make will determine your destiny. They will make or break you. Therefore, it’s critical you have a method to making decisions wisely. In this post, you’ll discover my 5 Rules of Decision Making so that you too can be a successful decision maker.
Rule #1: No Decision is the Worst Decision
Not deciding is simply avoidance and is irresponsible. As you’ll learn through the other rules, you need to be a decision maker and that means that not deciding is the worst decision of all.
Rule #2: Exercise Your Decision-Making Muscle
Decision making is like a muscle, it must be developed and then maintained. As the saying goes, “Use it or you’ll lose it”. When you exercise, the more you work out the stronger you get. In contrast, the less you work out the more atrophy occurs. It’s similar with decision making. You need to commit to practicing and developing your ability to make decisions.
Look for Opportunities to be a Decision Maker
One way to exercise your decision-making muscle is to embrace opportunities to be a decision maker. One of the reasons I love being a small business owner is that I always need to make important decisions. The more businesses and assets I own and the more people I work with, the more decisions I make. It keeps me relevant; it keeps my muscles strong for decision making.
The Buck Stops Here
I have a training for those enrolled in my apprentice program called, “You’re now the CEO”. In it I teach that as a small business owner and real estate investor, they’re the CEO of their operation and this requires certain skills. One of those skills is decision making. They cannot shirk their responsibility and send the decision elsewhere.
This may be challenging for some of you because you have never been in a decision-making role before. Many people have never been in a position that required them to make major decisions that impacted other employees or their employer. Others are in relationships where the spouse is the primary decision maker. If you haven’t developed this muscle, it’s difficult at first but as you strengthen this decision-making muscle, the stronger your muscle gets and the better you’re going to be.
Rule #3: The 40/70 Decision Making Technique
When you’re making a lot of decisions, you have a higher probability of making mistakes. Therefore, you need to have a method by which to make those decisions. This is where Former Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell’s 40/70 technique is a helpful tool.
He maintained that if you have a 40-70% chance of success, you need to make the decision at that point on the scale of the probability of success. If you go below 40% on that scale with a low probability of success, you need to say no. If your probability of success is above 70%, you’ve waited too long in the decision-making process and missed the opportunity.
Go with Your Gut
How do you know when you’re in between the 40 to 70% probability of success? Colin Powell would say to go with your gut. The key to this is to remember that your gut is your brain and your subconscious. Your subconscious is incredibly powerful if you don’t ruin it by not getting any sleep. You need to get sleep because that’s where your subconscious does a lot of its work.
Once you’ve done your due diligence and have the information you need to be in the 40/70 zone, you must let your gut do the talking for you. The gut is also developed by practice, it’s part of the muscle. If you do that repeatedly, you will develop the muscle to make great decisions over the long haul. You won’t be reckless, making decisions with a low probability of success, or wait too long and miss opportunities.
Rule #4: Write Down Why
Write down the reasons you made your decisions so you can look back and learn from them. You are not going to be able to remember why you made every decision you made. This helps you develop your decision-making muscle better. It’s almost like adding supplements to what you’re already doing in your current nutrition program, it’s just going to give you that much more power.
In fact, I’m such a huge believer in the power of getting information out of your head and putting it in an external system you can access that I have a great training on the subject. I think it can revolutionize your productivity.
Rule #5: Make Quickly, Change Slowly
Make your decisions quickly, but if you change them, change them slowly. This is a common trait among successful people.
Deciding Quickly Enables You to Make More Decisions
- Your ability to make money is based on how quickly you can make great decisions.
- The more decisions you make in the day, the more productive you are.
- The more productive you are, the more success you can achieve in all aspects of your life.
Speed of decision is powerful. It doesn’t mean you break Collin Powell’s 40/70 Rule, however following that rule as quickly as possible makes all the difference in your productivity. You will get faster at this as you get more and more experienced in decision making.
On the other hand, it also means to change your decisions slowly. You must be cautious when making changes because that means you’re going against your gut. Your gut is there to make that decision and you need to trust it.
Also, by changing quickly you end up weakening the muscle of decision making because you know you don’t really have to commit to any of your decisions. You need to avoid the temptation to change these decisions quickly because you need to see them through. Not only because you know the reason why you did it but because you’re trusting your gut. As a result, you will strengthen that decision-making muscle.
Conclusion: Make Wise Decisions Consistently
The decisions you make are literally the X factor in your destiny. As someone who got started at economic ground zero, I have made a lot of good financial decisions. Anyone can get lucky once or twice, but over the long haul it’s about good and wise decisions made quickly and consistently.