Saturday 27th February 2021

Decision. 6/51. #LifeThisWeek. 17/2021.

Decision. 6/51. #LifeThisWeek. 17/2021.

Decision making is a process of choosing between alternatives. Problem solving and decision making are distinct but related activities. Time pressure and personal emotions can affect the quality of decisionmaking outcomes.

What are the 7 steps of decision making?

Step 1: Identify the decision. You realize that you need to make a decision. …

Step 2: Gather relevant information. …

Step 3: Identify the alternatives. …

Step 4: Weigh the evidence. …

Step 5: Choose among alternatives. …

Step 6: Take action. …

Step 7: Review your decision & its consequences.

Source: various. I have included these only because of the steps.

I had no idea just how much theory there is to decision-making. I have learned something new!

D E C I S I O N S

When I first began mulling through my ideas for this post, I listed some decisions I have made in my life: here are four.

To Become a K-6 Teacher.

 

To say “yes” to my now husband.

 

To apply for a K-6 principal’s role and accept it.

 

To see our Sydney house and move to the Central Coast.

Then as I thought through some of my decision-making processes it became apparent, it is NOT always easy, nor even ‘wrong or right’ in an outcome.

Oh gosh.

What next?

Perhaps for me, it is more about understanding what goes into decision-making.

This helped me see that at times we who procrastinate ( I do at times) can perhaps look more deeply into our why!

Decisions

  1. Address the fear of success. If being constantly late with your obligations causes you to risk losing everything you’ve worked for, consider the possibility that self-handicapping is keeping you from going full tilt to reach your goals. Challenge your beliefs that those who love you don’t want you to succeed because chances are that they will rejoice in your accomplishments.

  2. Build your self-efficacy to self-regulate. Convinced that you can’t handle your responsibilities in a timely manner?  Discouraged about your ability to organize and manage your time? Practise taking on small tasks that you know you can manage, focusing on jobs that are due in the not-too-distant future. Once you see that you can plan successfully, you can extend the range and time frame of your due dates, increasing both your sense of accomplishment and belief in your own abilities.

  3. Find your thrills in ways other than procrastinating. Stop flirting with danger by working too close to deadlines.  Instead of thinking about the times you managed to avoid disaster by coming in with your work at the last minute, focus your attention on the times you actually miscalculated and got into trouble. If you know you’re a hopeless deadline-pusher, though, then force yourself to adopt your own, internally generated deadlines. Eventually, you should be able to stretch those out over the longer term.

  4. Moderate perfectionism with an action orientation. It’s great to want to achieve the best outcome possible, but not if it comes at the price of missing out on an opportunity or seeming to be no more punctual than the careless procrastinator. If you feel that you can’t overcome this tendency on your own, find a work or study partner who is strong on “locomotion” and can help you learn ways to focus on getting the job done well and quickly.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201204/the-paradox-procrastination

Looking more deeply into my decisions from my present view  i.e. at a distance from the decisions made at the time.

To become a teacher

I always enjoyed the company of kids under the age of around 6 and found I could help them learn skills and had fun sharing their lives via stories, activities and more. I like being in charge and I felt an affinity to kids’ education in the age bracket 5-12. I did want a professional job which required training after school and nothing appealed to me even though I gave others some consideration. I thought of being a librarian or a film editor. I did try learning shorthand thinking an admin role might be good. OK, I did it because my father thought it was a good skill to add to my typing. Fortunately, the Teacher’s Scholarship Offer finally arrived and I could resign from my office job post HSC. I loved teaching. Still do. There are parts of it that can be tedious and test my patience but overall a decision that was 100% correct! For me.

Telling My Story Chapter Three has more about this here.

To accept my now-husband’s proposal

I fell in love with this man at first sight. He says the same about me. At around 8.00 p.m. on Saturday 17 October 1970 when we were at opposite ends of the table at an after conference dinner. He asked me to dance. Our longing to be together was strong. He asked me to marry him only a few weeks later and I have never felt so sure about anything. Yes, I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Yes, it’s been full of many great times, sad ones, worrying too but overall, these past 50 years have shown me I made the right decision!

Telling My Story Chapter Four has something about this here.

To choose to apply for principal roles

Oh this one was not a straightfoward decision at all. I had years of experience at relieving principal roles (at two schools) in my 10 years of being a deputy principal. There were instances of parent interviews where I was so verbally threatened I wondered why “anyone” would want the role. There were also some good memories, over time and so, when faced with a difficult choice: stay as a deputy in a school where I had just been relieving principal for 2 terms or seek my own substantive principal role. It became an inner discussion of what would I want to say on my death bed...you know that one about what do you wish you had done that you didn’t. And I realised I did not want to die with regret I had not given it a go. These links below share to stories of how hard it was for me as my health suffered but I remain adamant: I did it and I tried my best…at the time.

Telling My Story Chapter Thirteen is about what happened here.

Telling My Story Chapter Fourteen shares more here.

To sell our house in Sydney to move to the Central Coast

I was unwell. I could no longer find the energy or motivation to work part-time to help keep our mortgage payments going for the Sydney house AND I had, sadly, lost my mojo for caring for our grandchildren. The obvious solution was to sell the house (we had been pondering this for some time AND my husband had been renovating room by room (and outside) for over two years. We would be mortgage free and we could move to rent to a nicer area on the Central Coast and have fewer worries. For me that is. I agreed. We did that. However, it was not a decision without many challenges for me, and even now I feel the insecurity rise from time to time about that choice for me. My husband has never waivered from the choice.

Telling My Story is in two parts (this week for part two on Wednesday) and goes some way to share how it was for me in part one. here. 

How To Make Hard Choices.

This video was eye-opening to me when I first  watched it some time back. The notion of needing to be “right” or “wrong”….or “yes” or “no” is a myth that is dispelled by Philosopher Ruth Chang in her Ted Talk “How To Make Hard Choices”.

Thank you for reading, commenting and linking up this week.

Denyse.

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Comments

  1. Hi Denyse making decisions is not always easy but I do like Ruth Chang’s approach. Sometimes we get caught up in the emotion and procrastinate for fear of making the wrong decision, rather than making a decision and accepting it may not always be right but at least you have decided. I’m still torn with our decision to move to the Coast. I love it here but I’m an hour from my family and friends so there is no ‘popping in’ to say hello. In my 63 years I’ve obviously made many decisions in my life. Some have been good but there have equally been decisions made which haven’t been right for me. I’m more cautious these days of making decisions and ensuring I look at how it will affect me and my life or using my WOTY ‘SELF’. Thanks for the link up and this prompt made me think. #lifethisweek

    • Ah Sue, I am very understanding of being torn between two places of living.

      “We” made the right choice for the time to move here and yet, some 6 years later, parts of me so miss Sydney, and the family too.

      But, it was what it was at the time and probably will stand as a decision because of how much money it would cost to even consider moving back. So, will do what I can now and that is visit more and take time to appreciate all that I have around me here in terms of nature.

      I think the older we become we are more hesitant in decision making. The notion of ‘not a lot of time’ left on our body clock could be part of it and it could be because of decisions we have regretted.

      The video reminds me too that there is no 100% right or wrong way. And that is OK too.

      Glad the topic was one that got you thinking!

      Denyse.

  2. Hello Cheryl. I don’t think anyone goes through life without thinking about decisions they have made – I know I have and do. Looking back there are one or two I regretted almost instantly, yet looking back now can see they probably were the best ones to make at the time
    There’s one I’ve never ever regretted – moving here to Australia in the early 1970s yet there’s the time I backed up The Golfers decision to accept a position interstate and ‘loathed’ the whole seven years. It was my decision to go with his decision so I really didn’t have cause to complain.
    I’ll pop back and reread your post later today also watch the video. I have some decisions to make this week so maybe this will help the process
    Take care
    Cathy

    • Oh Cathy, sounds like you do have a lot on your plate right now.

      Take care, and it was good to read of your decision-making and how there are some you regret (but as you say, went along anyway) but a major life shift of moving to Australia you do not!

      Take care,

      Denyse
      (not Cheryl!)

      • Oh Denyse …… I am so sorry…..(hanging head down in shame here) …..how could I call you by the wrong name? First rule of business- get the name correct!
        I hadn’t even spoken to anyone or read any blogs written by anyone called Cheryl. Yours was my first port of call this morning.
        Won’t do that again I can promise you
        Take care
        Cathy

  3. Thank you, Denyse, for the link to the interesting TED talk, and your decision-making examples. Some decisions do have long-term impact (e.g. marriage) and many unknowns. I think there is an element of luck that is not quantifiable and usually realized in hindsight. #lifethisweek

    • Trusting the process is one that requires some guess work alright.

      Thanks Natalie for your wise words and I am glad you found the Ted Talk of interest.

      Denyse.

  4. Hi Denyse, such an interesting topic! I know there are some decisions throughout my life that I regret and some that were good decisions for me. Some were wrong but led me to a path I might not otherwise have found and one that was good so it goes to show that getting caught up in being right is not always the best idea. These days I take much longer over decisions – even simple ones! The next big decision I’ll need to make is where to live next. We will be selling our current house at some point as though the house is fine, the location is not where I want to spend the rest of my days. So where do I want to spend the rest of my days? Decisions, decisions!

    • Oh Min, yes I hear you!!

      That is a big decision in front of you and one we thought we faced 6 years ago.

      “where to next”.

      We could only afford to rent (still the case) but we, ok “I” thought we made a great decision for renting close-ish to Sydney and near the water. Telling My Story – the one I linked here and I am pretty sure you read, shows you how wrong that was…

      We are happy enough at the northern end of the Central Coast now and have the support systems we need like medical, dental and more. However, we can’t afford to buy so our next decision may be to keep renting.

      My thought for you is “try before you buy” rent, check out services and more that are important to you and think too about access to public transport if driving becomes a challenge..and please, even though I do not say it to panic you, think about possible needs as you both age.

      Denyse

  5. I really enjoyed the way you wove your life’s decisions through your post and shared your story with us. I sometimes find it easy to make decisions but I do procrastinate as well, so maybe I’m not as decisive as I think I am. I enjoyed the video too, it outlines the processes we take every time we set out to make a decision.
    I’ve shared a post I wrote last year about the best decision I made last year and how it’s worked out. Thanks again for having us.

    • I am glad it resonated and made for a good post, Deb.

      When I procrastinate on little things…even where will I go for a coffee…I ask myself ‘what else is going on?’ because it can be that I am far too engrossed in something that is worrying me and I see procrastination as tool to help me recognise that. And then act upon what is part of the bigger picture.

      I used to get cross with myself but now I realise it’s more of a message from me and I need to listen well.

      Looking forward to reading your post.

      Denyse.

  6. This was so interesting to read Denyse. Thanks hadn’t realised that there was so much that went into making a decision. I struggled with this prompt but your post made me realise how many important decisions I‘Be made in my life.

    • Ah Jennifer, I am glad.

      It’s not until we break it down as those points are in the post that we see decision making can be quite complex.

      Ever the teacher, I tend to look for theory to match the practice!

      Denyse.

  7. Thank you for the good tips on how to make a decision and feel good about it afterward. I like the concept that it’s not necessarily a right/wrong, yes/no outcome. I think it is harder to make a decision the older I get, even a simple decision like “Where do you want to run today?” I find myself second-guessing myself more and more, with less confidence that I have chosen the right thing. I used to be more decisive. I loved your look back at several of the important decisions you made in your life. You and I both made a good decision years ago – to say “yes” to the men we love!

    • Thanks Laurie, I think we do find it harder as we age and speaking to my husband about the “why” he says we have fewer resources, and quite possibly less time in our latter years and decisions feel crucial, yet we still wait and wonder.

      At least we know we are not alone thanks to conversations via blogging!

      Yes, we both DID make those right choices back in our youth! These men of ours!

      Denyse.

  8. So interesting and I love how you’ve illustrated these points with real life examples. I think life is full of hard choices and we can only make those choices depending on what feels right at the time. I think the most important thing though is to cut ourselves some slack and understand that if that decision goes pear shaped, we need to be forgiving because we did what we thought was best at the time. I must admit, the older I get, the more I procrastinate and find it harder to make a decision! What’s with that?!

    • Good thoughts here Sam. Yes to cutting ourselves some slack.

      I have had to learn to do that because it sure wasn’t helping me to stay in a regretful mode. Mind you, some of my poor choices come back to me from time to time & generally they are related to financial choices.

      I then need to let them go once I become aware I could slip back into the negative space that does my mental health no good!

      Great to see you back for a second week in 2021!

      Denyse

  9. Hi Denyse – I think our blog posts are on similar wavelengths today – mine’s all about the consequences of choices (decisions) because there will always be an outcome to what we decide – positive or negative and there are outcomes even if we procrastinate or put off a decision. Life isn’t stagnant and we can’t hold back the tides. Even the choices/decisions that we wonder about (your house sale) often have positive consequences that we don’t see (the reduction in stress, the freedom of being able to choose to work or not, the lifestyle of living somewhere nice etc).

    I’m getting better at going with what my heart says – not what my risk-adverse, second guessing self says – and life is sweeter today than it ever was (and my husband and I knew we were “it” within weeks of meeting too – no regrets there…..)

    • Oh I love knowing you and your husband knew “it” was right to be with each other and marry, like we did!

      Leanne, I so need to become far less engaged with regret about choices made which have had a trickle down effect on our financial situation. Fortunately I recognise this much much earlier than I used to and can let it slip by. It’s take time and practice but it’s been worth it.

      Oh yes, each moment that goes by I need to remember I can never get that back! Living with both impermanence and in the present moment is becoming more familiar to me as I live this way more fully.

      Denyse.

  10. Going to listen to the podcast now – thanks for sharing. I think step 6 is normally our undoing. We can do everything to move forward but not actually move forward. I also think we don’t really see the full picture, which clouds how we view a decision….or making another one if we don’t like how our first decision pans out

    • Drifting resonates for me. Big time. (From the TEDtalk

    • Trying to get it right the first and only time is probably where it fails for us! Who knows. I just know now, that I can feel better about choices made via decision making if I say to myself “for the time and what we knew, then it was right”

      And Lydia, we cannot go back even as much as it might help! Every moment cannot be returned .

      Glad you are back!

      Denyse.

  11. I might need to action this Denyse because I’m back thinking about the work thing again. What I want to pursue / should pursue etc…

    • Shall I say “meant to be” that this popped up for you today? Lots happening emotionally in your life right now so take that factor into consideration. But then again, when IS a good time? No idea, really.

      Hope your Mum’s recovery proceeds smoothly. I could not care for a parent, and I take my hat off to those who can. And do!

      Denyse

  12. What a great read Denyse. You look so radiant in your youth. A beautiful smile which you still wear today.

  13. Hi Denyse, I’m pretty good at making decisions normally, but with big life changes I sometimes delay the inevitable. Like leaving my last job. I knew I had to quit for months because it was a toxic environment that was making me so stressed I was ill. But the fear of leaving a permanent job was so great I delayed it far too long. Same with separating from my first husband. Similar reasons, but I also had kids to think of. But I’ve never regretted marrying my second husband. Like you it was love at first sight! Thanks for a great read, regards Christina

    • We now have 4 of us here claiming the love at first sight being right and that is terrific!

      Christina, my work life and the fact I needed to keep working to pay our mortgage ended up being the reason I had my health breakdown. I only wish I could have admitted to my husband and GP before things went far too pear shaped for me to continue as principal.

      However, there was also pride and loss of ‘face’ to admit I could not cope with the many and overloaded structures of my work place so it is inevitable that so conscientious workers like we are, do have the health breakdown to allow us to stop. Sad isn’t it? I know it is still no better in education some 19 years later.

      I am glad you have your husband and his family who seem to be a great support to you both.
      Denyse.

  14. Gather the information is sometimes the hard part – when there is nothing to guide a right or wrong because it’s just a choice with equal (if different) outcomes.

  15. Your life stories are so interesting. Decision making is a long and tedious activity for me. I take it really long and analyze pros and cons thoroughly before taking any decision.

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed your detailed process in making decisions – and then the concrete examples. I definitely fall prey to the “fear of success” coupled with tremendous self-doubt. I try to overcome these obstacles by researching and analyzing ad nauseum 🙂

    We are currently in the process of deciding on a major move. We are tired of the cold winter months (currently windchill is about -10) and crave consistent sunshine and warmth. We have contacted a realtor in Florida and will take our first home tour of the neighborhood in April. Yes, we will friends we have known for decades, but our comfort zone is no longer comfortable.

    Ultimately, I make decisions by taking baby steps – and trying to live with no regrets.

    • Oooh! That is a biggie but you are doing it right, step by step. We moved to this area for its more temperate climate and less traffic, Whilst I miss access to some things and people in the city they are less than 2 hours drive.

      I can sure see that you would be OVER the cold and need to have consistent climate in your future Molly. I look forward to reading how it’s working out once you actually get there to make plans!

      Thanks for sharing your very detailed decision making process. We always hope the more time and effort we give it the better it will work out. Fingers crossed helps!

      Denyse.

  17. Sometimes I feel as though rather than make decisions I gravitate towards them or fall into them. To move up here was the biggest one I recall making – and even then, when it came down to it, there wasn’t really a decision to make. I do have one rule though – no regrets.

    • Oh Jo, I hear you on the no regrets but unfortunately that does not come easily to me even though I know the theory! My husband is like that.

      I know I think too much of what was or could have been and being more aware of that now, considering what life has thrown me in the years since we moved, I am far more accepting of my role in making the choices.

      Good for you I say, I am striving to be better!

      Denyse

  18. Hi Denyse, There is a television show in the US called “Th.is is Us” I know it is popular, although I have never watched an entire episode. But as I read through the 2nd tier examples of making a decision, especially talking about procrastination, fear of success, cutting work too close to deadlines, I thought, “This is Me!” I really appreciate they way you structured, layered the steps to decision making and then finally used the example of your own life. It is something like the construction of a house, the foundation (the steps) the bones or boards of the house (the definitions) the guts of the house, in a way, electricity, plumbing, etc.(showing those steps in your own life decisions) and the pictures from your life that connect with those moments. A cohesive picture of a life (of a home). I think this post, especially the definitions and steps, is something I am going to need to come back to. Thanks and blessings, Michele P.S. It is late, 11:55 p.m. EST, so if my comment sounds goofy, we can blame it on the lateness of the hour!

    • No matter what the time, I so appreciate your words and thoughtful ways you have just used to explain and describe what you have taken away from this post of mine AND the processes.

      Yes, in yours and my life as now “older” not elderly women we have had many decisions to make over time haven’t we?

      Love seeing your name in the comments.

      Denyse.

  19. I’m always procrastinating over decisions so worried I will make the wrong one. Some decisions are minor and easy to make, right or wrong, they don’t have a big impact on life but I find ones involving money a lot harder. Currently need new window coverings and don’t want to buy something and then regret it. Not really a life changing decision though 🙂

    • Maybe watch the Ted Talk Veronica.
      You will feel less like you have to get things RIGHT only.

      I hear you though on financial restrictions and understand well the decision making conundrum. Take care and let us know how you go!

      Denyse.

  20. I read your post on Monday but I’m only now having a chance to comment! Decision-making is so interesting, isn’t it? I’ve seen so many clients with anxiety who agonise over decisions because it has to be the ‘right’ one. One of the things I always tell them is, you never know if it’s right or wrong – and it’s only in hindsight we know whether something works or not. And even then, who’s to say a ‘wrong’ decision was not helpful? I remember one time when I was trying to decide between two jobs, my supervisor told me something – nothing is permanent. And that has always stuck with me. No matter what – however shitty it might be – we have the choice to change it. And as far as possible, I keep that mantra in mind with most things.

    • How good is that reminder: Nothing is Permanent.

      Thanks Sanch, I loved reading your well considered response. We do “act” like it’s this or that, or yes or no as a decision like it IS forever, but if we can remember the buddha’s and others words…

      Impermanence is all. Nothing is fixed*. Nothing is forever…good and bad and all that is in between….

      *not meant to be lift story! Sorry.

      Hope you are buzzing up and down very very soon.

      Denyse.

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