4 Keys to Better Decision Making

It’s guest post Monday! This post is written by Bernard Haynes. He writes on leadership and personal vision at Lead to Impact. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook. You can also purchase his ebook Vision Impact by clicking here.

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy E. Disney

What decisions have you made that you wish you can get back? Are you ready to make better decisions so you and those connected to you can achieve more in life?

I remember as if it was yesterday, the terrible decision I made with purchasing several pieces of real estate. Just thinking about it is bringing tears to my eyes.

We are still suffering some of the collateral damage from that terrible decision. I want share all the details, but I can definitely tell you I made an emotional decision based upon limited information.

If I could turn back the hands of time and redo my decision, I would do it in a heart-beat. I would gather more information, talk to more knowledgeable people and take more time to think through my decision.

In my hurry to make things happen quickly, I put us in a deep hole that has taken years to climb out of. We would be so much farther ahead financially if I would have just taken the time to do the proper research to make a better informed decision.

Making that decision to purchase those properties without the correct information cost us dearly. Not only did that decision affect me, but it affected my family and our financial future. We lost a lot of money and forward progress for several years because of my bad decision.

The decisions you make today will have a positive or negative effect on your tomorrow. I know sometimes things happen in your life that is out of your control. The real test is how you respond to what happens and the decisions you make moving forward.

If you are unsatisfied and unfulfilled with your present life, it is time to make some changes. You can change the direction of your life by making better decisions. Here are four keys you can implement today to help guide you through the process.

1. Never make a decision based upon limited information. If you do, you stand a great chance of delaying or destroying your vision. Before you make any decision give yourself time to gather and analyze reputable sources.

Don’t spend too much time gathering and analyzing information that you fall into paralysis of analysis. Spend the right amount of time understanding the information you are presented so you can make an informed and intelligent decision.

2. Don’t let your emotions over rule sound decision making. If you allow them, your emotions can influence you to make hasty and quick decisions that may cause you regrets later. Before you let your emotions get the best of you, step back, gather yourself and take some time to think. I admonish you to pray, understand the information you are presented, evaluate things carefully and base your decision on sound judgment.

3. Surround yourself with knowledgeable and informed people. One of the biggest mistakes I made with purchasing the real-estate is that I did not ask enough knowledgeable people. I got caught up with people who only had their best interest at heart. I fell for the hype.

Make sure you surround yourself with people who will speak the truth, who are knowledgeable about the subject matter and who will not just feed your ego. I learned quickly you don’t know everything and you need people that are smarter than you in your corner.

4. Take time to consider all options. Don’t jump at the first option you are presented. I made the mistake of jumping at the first properties, instead of looking at all the options. This would have saved me from making those bad decisions.

You don’t have to spend time getting hundreds of options because you will overwhelm yourself and won’t make any decision. Find two to three options, know the parameters and choose one.

If you incorporate these four keys to better decision making, you will experience a more purposeful today that will lead to a more peaceful tomorrow.

Question: What decisions do you need to make to better your today and empower your tomorrow?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Bernard, I like the balance you have in the first point. Making a decision with limited information can hurt your but it can also hurt you if you spend months over analyzing the situation because you’ve probably already missed your opportunity.

    • Caleb, I know this point too well. I have a tendency to over analyze a situation to death.

  • Good advice Bernard. We were out of debt except for our house when my wife’s car blew up. We did the right thing in that we bought a hail-damaged car but had to take a loan out for it (not a good thing). Then my Outlander was really piling on the miles and needed some work. Instead, I bought a new Frontier. I am still kicking myself almost a year later for buying it. (Picture man standing while beating fist on forehead saying, “Stupid stupid stupid” and you get the picture). I thought it was the best thing to do at the time, but…. Thanks for the advice in this post.

    • Thanks, for your honesty Bill. I fill you. My wife’s car blew up earlier this year and we bought her a new vehicle. We usually buy new vehicles because we drive them to death. I ran the numbers several times and right now it looks like a good decision. I drive a car that just went over 300,000 miles and it still runs well. We bought it new 15 years ago. I thought it was a bad deal 15 years ago, but it turned out to be good. I hope things workout for you.

    • I’ve been there too, Bill. I’ve made a quick decision to buy a car that now I regret.

  • Impulse decisions rarely work out good for me. I’d like to think I’ve learned to be patient when making decisions (not just financial) but, sometimes emotions still get in the way.

    Good post and good advice.

    • Charles, I feel you. I still let emotions get in the way of my decision making. I am getting better at putting the emotions in check.

    • I hear you, I don’t think they work for most people. Patience is key when making a high value or important decision. Thank you for sharing.

  • Great points! I love the thin line between gathering enough information to make an informed decision and going into full-on freak-out mode trying to know enough to make THE RIGHT decision.

    • Justin, I have to constantly be aware of this because I will get in full-on freak-out mode trying to know enough to make THE RIGHT decision. And end up not making a decision because I overwhelm myself.

  • Sound advice, my friend. I’ve been living through the same thing for the past seven years or so. God is bringing us wisdom to live by His rules, not the knowledge of the world. Love the attitude and spirit. We learn through our mistakes in ways that can’t be known any deeper. “Wisdom the hard way” is better than no wisdom at all…

    • Thanks, Floyd. I have learned a lot of wisdom the hard way. I have enough bumps and bruises to show it.

  • I really like your idea of just focusing on two or three options, Bernard. I tend to think of a million options and get overwhelmed. This idea will be helpful to me!

    • Barb, I am the same way. I will have a million options and overwhelm myself to the point of getting nothing done.

      • Ditto:) I can tend to be the same way. Your advice is golden, Bernard.

  • Good tips Bernard – especially not allowing our emotions to overtake our decision-making ability. one thing that I find tricky is intuition which can feel a little emotional sometimes. Once I make up my mind or as I’m making it up, I usually get this gnawing inner voice which tries to take over. Determining if it’s my emotions, rational inner self or intuition is sometimes a challenge.

    And as you say, sometimes we do get overwhelmed with all the information and knowledge out there to make a decision. I guess when we decide something finally, we should do it with courage and belief in ourselves. And doing it based on our values never hurts either. Thanks for these reminders.

    • Vishnu, thanks for adding to the conversation. I am in the process of simplifying my life by cutting back on some of the information I take in. In the last month I overwhelmed myself with too much information on a project that I am working on. I had to step back, refocus my thinking and narrow my options.

      • I like that. ‘Simplifying by cutting back on info.’ Yeah.

        • That’s a great point, thank you for taking the time to add to the discussion, Arlen.

  • The decisions I need to make to better my today and empower my tomorrow include deciding to just revamp my office, make a list of blog goals and do a duathlon. I need to make the commitments and then make them happen. What really helps me in these areas is to pray about them first but then to enlist others to give me ideas and to even help me with the projects. Knowing others are depending on me is a huge motivator since I want to be seen as dependable.

    • Kari, thanks for commenting. I need to follow your lead on revamping my office area. It is easier to make things happen when you have people to help you with projects.

  • I’m in the process of looking for a house to buy. Now I’ll admit, the first house I’ve seen is still the top on my list, but if it winds up being the one I buy, I’ll have a thorough inspection done first and all the paperwork will be double-checked by a professional.

    • Dan, that is the way to do it.

    • Thank you for sharing, Dan. And good luck with the house searching.

  • Hey Bernard, did you write this or did I? :-)

    I made a bad decision purchasing a piece of real estate (a town home) too. It’s taken me several years to recover. Like you, my decision was made in haste and with limited knowledge.

    Another good idea for better decision making is simply to “sleep on it.”

    Many things I thought were a good idea ended up being tossed to the wayside once I let the “impulse” of acting subside. It’s amazing how a night of sleep can change your mind.

    Really enjoyed this post Bernard.

    • Thanks, Larry. I feel your pain. You mentioned sleep on it, I wrote a post last year titled overcoming the storms and one of my points was ‘sleep on it’. I should have taken my own advice.

  • Isn’t it amazing how our emotions lie to us? How often has there been something I just had to have, only to have it be a bust? Great thought Bernard!

    • Thanks for commenting Tom. If I had a dollar for every time my emotions lied to me. They lied to me a few times today, but I didn’t give them any air time.

  • Map

    I really like your idea of just focusing on two or three options, Bernard.

  • Living and making decisions out of our values or principles. Yeah. That clicks. Thanks, Dan and Thanks, Bernard.

    • Hello Arlen,

      Those are wise words. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  • Nice article presented with a good example. While you make a decision there are lot of things to consider. If you end up making a decision without considering any of the important aspects, you may sometimes end up in big problems, from where it may be difficult to return.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post. That’s true, in deciding we have to consider and think about the important aspects. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • Getting all the info possible and not letting my emotions rule has been a tough lesson I’m still learning. Sometimes I can let excitement cloud my better judgment and make me think I have all the answers. Slowing down, taking my time and spending time with God all help me be open to listening to good advice and moving me past my emotions so I can think clearly.

    • I’ve also had to learn that lesson, the hard way:) “slowing down” is sometimes the best thing we can do. Thank you for adding to the discussion:)

  • #3 resonated with me. Surrounding myself with wise people has made such a huge impact on my life in so many different ways. Great post, Bernard!

    • That’s a huge point. We become like the people we associate with on a regular basis. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.