Making optimal decisions

Here are some tips to improve your decision-making batting average.

by Ada Porat — 

Decisions factor hugely in our lives. Your life at this moment is the product of every decision you have made along the way — both big ones and small ones. You navigate your life by the choices you make. Are you overwhelmed by the decisions facing you? Here are some tips to improve your decision-making batting average.

• Make only the decisions that are yours to make. Life flows more smoothly when you accept responsibility for your own decisions and give others the freedom to accept responsibility for theirs.

• Recognize that making a decision is a process of selecting from various alternatives; it is not just choosing between right and wrong.

• Use the OAR approach in decision-making: consider the Objectives you desire, the Alternatives that are available and the Risks of every alternative you are considering.

• Consider all the alternatives and write down the pros and cons of every line of action. It clarifies your thinking and makes for a better decision.

• Avoid snap decisions. Move fast on reversible choices and slowly on irreversible decisions.

• Be aware of the value of timing: choosing the right alternative at the wrong time is no better than the wrong alternative at the right time, so make a decision while you still have time to refine it.

• Never let decisions accumulate. Make step-by-step decisions as you go along — a backlog of many little decisions can bog you down mentally and overwhelm you.

• Review all the facts as soon as you are aware of a decision to be made, then let it go. Let the options incubate in your subconscious until it is time to make the decision.

• Base your decisions on positive values and goals that are important to you, not on people or circumstances you want to avoid.

• Consider the people who would be affected by your decision. Whenever feasible, ask for their input before you make your decision, yet recognize that you are ultimately responsible.

• Recognize that it is often impossible to have 100 percent certainty that your decision is correct because the actions to implement it are still in the future. It is enough to conduct due diligence and make a decision now; you can fine-tune it later.

• Remember that not making a decision is actually a decision not to take action.

• Accept the value of learning from every decision: you have the right to make poor choices as well as excellent ones, and the opportunity to learn from them all.

• Don’t waste your time making decisions that do not have to be made — focus on essential decisions instead.

• As part of your decision-making process, always consider how you would implement your choice.

• Before implementing what appears to be the best choice, assess the risk by asking, “What can I think of that might go wrong with this alternative?”

• Once the decision has been made, don’t look back! Accept that it was the most appropriate thing to do at the time, and focus on your next move.

• Once you have made a decision, put all doubts aside and commit yourself to implementing the decision.


Ada Porat is an energy kinesiologist and life coach who facilitates personal development through the integration of body, mind and spirit. 602-283-4628 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 5, October/November 2008.

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