Home Sweet Home: How to make a decision

Home Sweet Home: How to make a decision

When something goes wrong in life you can always trace it back to a decision having been made by someone somewhere. That’s why many people avoid making any sort of decision altogether.

by Guy Browning

IN LIFE THERE ARE NO SUCH things as decisions. Instead, there are attempts to stand up and surf on the rolling tide of inevitability. Catching a wave gives the impression that you’ve made the right decision. Making a bad decision is when you miss a wave, fall off, get whacked on the head by your board, swallow half the ocean, and then realise that huge crowds on the beach have watched you make a complete arse of yourself.

When something goes wrong in life you can always trace it back to a decision having been made by someone somewhere. That’s why many people avoid making any sort of decision altogether. Interestingly, procrastination is actually the most intensive form of decision making, because instead of making one decision and getting it over with, you have to make a decision every five minutes to put off the big decision. 

There are three kinds of decisions: Proactive, Reactive and Radioactive. Proactive decisions are the ones you make to give the impression that you’re in full command of your destiny. When things go pear-shaped because you made the wrong decision, you can then make more decisions about how to get out of the mess. So long as you keep making a continual stream of decisions, people will think you know what you’re doing. 

Reactive decision makers take the view that change is inevitable so why rush to meet it. By the time change gets to you the decisions will have been made already, so you might as well relax and enjoy it. The only thing you must do is identify the decision makers so that blame can be apportioned when necessary. 

Radioactive decisions are big decisions made by other people at a distance, and you only realise you’ve been affected by them when it’s far too late. These kinds of decisions are found a lot in manufacturing industries, pensions, government and hospitals.

Making a decision involves taking responsibility. However, responsibility moves at about one-tenth of the speed of decision-making, and as long as you don’t wait around to see the consequences of your decisions, you can generally keep well ahead of the responsibility. Or, you can simply let other people take responsibility for your actions and claim permanent victim status. 

In general, people make decisions because they believe this will keep them on the straight-and-narrow road to a better future. In reality, life moves around in circles. Decisions you take now are likely to be right in the short term, wrong in the medium term, and then right again in the long term. Of course, this could all be rubbish. It’s up to you to decide.

© GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.