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Decision Making – Why It’s Important To Listen To Yourself

By January 7, 2015Blog
Decision Making

Goals and Decision-Making Go Hand-in-Hand

It’s the new year!  You’ve got some new goals, a fresh outlook, excitement and hope.  In your endeavour to achieve your goals you will be required to use your decision-making capacity.  All decisions matter, the small and the big, because every decision has a multitude of ripple effects on our life and happiness.

We can make those decisions based on our own instincts, based on information we’re receiving from external sources, or based on a mixture of instincts and external information.

Which method do you use and is it making you more confused or helping you to make the right decisions nearly every time?

Something I see in my coaching practice is that people can get themselves into more of a mental dilemma by relying too much on information they’re getting from the web, books and well-meaning loved ones.

By overly consuming too much external information (so easily done in this information age) we can ironically become even more confused.  Even worse, we can feel unable to easily tap into our own gut instinct about what we should do.  Worse still, we may not even try to tap into our gut instinct.

3 Reasons Introspection Based Decision-Making Leads To Success

1. Only you can ever know what’s truly best for you

As a coach it’s vital to get people to think for themselves because they have the answers within and they, as Carl Rogers insisted, are the expert on their life.  How could anybody else tell you exactly what the right thing for you to do is, as they write an article or record a video blog, when they have no information about you or your situation?  The best advice is that which gets you to find the answers for yourself.

2. As subjective human beings we cannot possibly be objective

We see the world as we see it because of our life experiences and the perception we have, i.e. the lens we look through.  That lens is determined by a number of factors such as our personal beliefs (correct or not), our experiences, our motivations, our current emotional state, the physical environment around us, the non-visible environment around us (e.g. electromagnetic fields) and much more.  Take all of that into account and you can see why the reality, and indeed the right decision, is different for every human being and constantly changing for every one of us.

3. The “research” may not be as clear cut as they suggest

We’ve all read daft things like, “Research shows that if you sleep with your back to each other then you’re having relationship problems and you’re not satisfied within your relationship.”

Suddenly, some poor soul we’ll call Joe, who is already concerned about his marriage, wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about his relationship, jumps on the internet for helpful advice and comes across something like this.  In that negative emotional state, Joe can easily be drawn into the research’s “findings”.  In that incoherent emotional state it’s unlikely that Joe is in the right mindset to thoughtfully look beyond the statements made by the author of the article.  Therefore, Joe will be easily drawn into worrying about his and his wife’s sleeping style and what it means about their relationship.  It also means Joe may make some bad decisions about how to handle this situation and his marital problems in general.  Remember:

  • Articles in papers and magazines are often written to sell. The more sensational or intriguing, the more money that can be made or at the very least, the more attention the writer can garner for him or herself.
  • These articles are frequently written with just a snippet of the full picture and often, little attention has been paid to how many participants took part in the research and how fairly they represent a cross-section of the public.
  • As is often the case, other significant factors are overlooked or even purposely ignored in order to favour the author’s desired outlook.

Going back to the sleep study, perhaps the only reason you and your partner have your backs turned in bed is that you’ve both been exhausted over the past few weeks and cuddling wasn’t as much of a priority as restorative sleep was.  Or maybe you both prefer facing outwards for easier breathing and fresher air.  There could be a number of non-disconcerting reasons for you and your partner’s sleeping style yet the author might have you, or Joe, believe that it’s a sign of underlying relationship problems!

Decision-Making Based On Introspection Is Vital

So remember, (A) you are the expert on your life, (B) everyone’s view is subjective so there isn’t one size to fit all, and (C) question everything by using your own inner references when making decisions for your own life and happiness.

Consume information but never at the expense of neglecting your inner reference store and internal guidance system.

Even if you feel totally lost right now, you have the answers inside you, and only you can truly know what the right decision is for you.