In this month’s article, we’re going to be discussing when ‘not’ to make decisions. I want to address ‘making decisions’ but crucially when ‘not to’ because whilst we generally think about making a decision as being a good thing we’ve made up our minds. We’ve made that commitment. We’ve given ourselves certainty but actually, there are also some downsides to deciding too soon and one of the key things is your emotional state. Do not make a decision when you are in a bad emotional state about something.
It’s really important that you don’t make any major changes or commit to any sorts of decisions until you have got yourself away from the emotional impact of what is going on around you or in your family environment or in your work environment. When we are in a state of fear or anger we tend to make less good decisions because we don’t see the bigger picture and take on board all of the other pieces of information that might have been really relevant and helpful in decided to make a decision. You must always get yourself into a neutral state of mind before you go ahead and make a decision. I say ‘neutral state of mind’ because equally being in a hyper positive state can also be bad for decision making because it might cause us to look at things through rose-tinted glasses and to maybe take risks or to make decisions we would not have made before.
If we’d maybe have a little bit of cynicism in our thinking we’ve got to get that balance just right between being quite negatively motivated or quite positively motivated. The best emotional state for you to be and when you are making a decision is actually going to be more of a neutral state because then you’ve got access to both the positive and the negative sides and come way things up accordingly another time when it’s important to avoid making a decision is when you do not have time pressure on you yet to have to decide if you do not have time and pressures around making your decision and take longer because sometimes you might make the decision and then have all this time afterwards where officers you go that might have also been an option for me I could’ve also done that but now I can’t change it because I’ve already decided and set the wheels in motion into doing something else.
If you have the luxury of time right now ‘decide nothing’ because what you’ll get throughout that period of time is other ideas and other options that show up that you might not have tapped into had you have already decided like when we decide something I’m going to draw this for you when we are in a position where we don’t know what option to take and we have all of these different outcomes and possibilities that the universe can offer to us and there is quite possibly an infinite number of outcomes from this complicated situation that we’re in as soon as you decide one so soon as you’ve decided one of them you’re going to cut yourself off from all of the others that might have been available to you but you did not know about yet because even though I’ve maybe drawn. I don’t know different things on there actually there could be a hundred and twelve different things if you’d given yourself more time to decide these other ones might have started popping up as well and may well have been more appealing than the one that you’ve chosen.
If you have the luxury of time do not push yourself into making a decision any sooner than you’d need too. Give yourself as much time as possible so that you can really give yourself access to all of the information that is out there that you maybe don’t even know exists. In NLP, we talked about an internal vs. an external check when we are decision-making what that means is that internal is when I just know it within myself I don’t need to run it by anybody else. An external check is when I absolutely have to go to other people and find out what their perspective on things is because their perspectives might influence me in some way. Very often, I’m someone who’s quite good with an internal check. When I’ve decided something I know it within myself I might be quite happy with like my own reference points and feel very comfortable moving forward taking certain actions based on decisions that have come from inside only. However, I also acknowledge that there are times when actually just running what I know I’m gonna do anyway past somebody else and just getting some external verification even if it’s not someone who’s an expert in what I’m thinking about doing sometimes having someone else say that’s a really good idea or have you thought about this because is enough to make me go huh okay maybe I should rethink that.
For example, a couple of years ago I bought a car which is a hybrid car so it’s part electric and part petrol yes with the electric side of it I had been thinking that I would get an electricity source in my garage so that I could leave it on charge in my garage overnight but there wasn’t currently any power going to my garage. I went down this whole path of exploring how do I get electricity installed in a building that currently doesn’t have an electrical supply turns out is actually quite tricky long convoluted and probably incredibly expensive ah I was still in my mind quite certain that that was the way forward. I happen to mention it I wasn’t even going for an external shake but I happened to mention it to someone who said well you could have an electricity supply put into your garden and then when if your car is not at the garage and it’s parked outside your house you could be charging it up then that’s going to be way cheaper than getting an electricity supply installed in a place where they’re currently isn’t one and you can get special kinds of plugs that are fit for the garden and they’ve got covers on blow up so when I heard that I was like yeah that’s like a way better idea.
Why didn’t I come up with that? The reason why I hadn’t come up with it is that I’d already decided and as soon as I decided I cut myself off from all of the other things but I could have come up with and all of the other ways in which I could have come to solve that problem. Sometimes having an external check even if you are not normally an external checking kind of person is actually a really good thing. It can do no harm to run your ideas and your decisions but like past someone else even if you’re not normally someone who requires that because you might get those extra few golden nuggets of suggestion or advice or just something sometimes it’s annoying that sometimes it’s also quite useful to have someone make you question your decision because if you as my dad used to say if you don’t know, don’t though like you’ve got to be fully committed to the decisions that you make and if something makes you stumble or unsure then maybe there’s a reason for that, maybe that, gut instinct is actually trying to tell you something and quite possibly the most important time when you should not make a decision is when you are making that decision because you believe you have no other choices and no other options.
There are also times when people make a big decision, a life-changing event and they may do this because they had to believe that they only had one option and it probably wasn’t true. When we are stuck and when we can’t see the wood for the trees, it feels like there are no other options. The key thing is in those circumstances is that you speak to other people who can inspire you and give you different ideas that you are open to the ideas that they might give you that you are open to the help and support that they can offer you and that you make an agreement to give things a little more time because if you make a decision to do the only thing you believe you have left to do, it could end up being the wrong thing and it could end up being not actually true that it was the only choice that you had and then you know maybe things can never be the same again on the other side of that it’s a definite time to avoid making a decision is when you believe that you only have one choice because the chances are there are other options you just don’t know what they are yet. You may need some help in finding them at a particular time if you are one of those people please consider reaching out to get some other help, support, advice, inspiration and ideas.
By Gemma Bailey