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Effortless Decision Making

Anytime I have ever made a really important decision in my life and the results were favorable, it was generally because I went along with a strong feeling that I had that wasn’t based on much concrete information.  Generally, lists of Pros and Cons (and other similar methods) don’t usually work for me when I have a choice to make because I prefer to use my intuition.  (That’s the N in my INFP.)  From my observations, I find that a lot of people agonize over whether or not they a making the right decision and spend a lot of time poring over the facts to no avail.  Intuitive decision making tends to be less painful and quicker, but requires a little risk taking. 

I’m not saying other methods don’t work, I’m only saying I don’t prefer to use them.  So, if making a Pros and Cons list works for you, stick with that.  But, if you are interested in using a more intuitive approach here are some steps that I take. 

Go With What You Are Drawn To

There’s probably a good reason that you are attracted to it.  Something about it has gotten you interested, trust yourself and go see what it is.  In my experience, what we are drawn to is generally what is right for us at that time.  Besides, would you ever go after something that repels you?  Or, that you felt apathetic about? 

Feel Your Way Along

Earlier this year, I tried out indoor rock climbing for the first time.  I was in a class where the instructor had us climb blindfolded (not on the very first time!) and, oddly enough, I found it to be easier.  When I was climbing and using my eyes, I would look at a hand/foot hold and think to myself “I can’t put my foot there – it’s not big enough.”  But when I had no eyes, I also had no judgements.  I simply felt my way up the wall, putting my feet and hands where I could, based simply on touch.

If we give too much authority to our eyes, sometimes we miss things along the way.

Which One Can You Not Accept?

This is for really difficult choices.  When you are faced with two choices and neither of them seem particularly appealing, decide which one you cannot accept and choose the other.  Many times, in this situation, one of the choices really sucks and the other one you are simply afraid to do.  Deciding what you can absolutely not accept in your life leads you to the right decision – even if it’s something you are afraid to do.

Trust Yourself!

Making decisions based on intuition ultimately requires that you trust yourself and your feelings.  It’s the difference between using your eyes to do everything and using your body to feel your way along.  Take the leap!  Why would you lead yourself astray? 

“Our attitude must be like that of the mountain pine mentioned above…It merely tries to feel whether it should grow more toward the left or the right, toward the slope or away from it.” – From “Man and His Symbols,” M.-L. von Franz

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  1. Trust yourself – I like that. For me, though, I try to do this with a good evaluation of what I’m getting myself into (the pros and cons). That said, usually when I do something based solely upon gut feel, I am pleased with the results. Is this saying I typically over-anlayze things before doing them? Maybe I need to be more like you, Amanda, and trust myself. I think this will not be easy to do, the whole change thing… But, I’m going to work on it. Sometimes I still think it’s good to analyze what your doing, but I can definitely do more trusting in my life, and more quickly get to where I want to go.

  2. Tavis Tavis

    Paralysis by analysis is a phrase that best describes the mental fence we all straddle when making tough decisions. The paralysis is the fear of going forward with or into the unknown. Its a deep but all be it human trait to fear the unknown but revel in the constrasting emotion of success when the analyzation of those fears led you to a decision. Its not the fear its self that drives the decision making process but process of making a decision drives that fear. I have made decisions not based on the analyzation of my situation but out of the ” neccesity” to make a decision. This in its self caused a many bad decisions due fear of not making the right decision.

  3. Amanda Linehan Amanda Linehan

    @Lance – Yeah, it can be hard to let go and just take that leap sometimes, but I find that it’s often worth it.

    @Tavis – Great to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by. I like what you said about the process of decision making driving fear. It’s a terrible cycle.

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