How To Choose A Life That You Love: Making Values-Based Decisions

clarity mindset values Sep 20, 2021
flamingo floatie in a topical infinity pool

Our lives are made up of a series of decisions. These decisions are either aligned with our core values, or not, but at the end of the day, they give our lives direction and have a bearing on what is to come tomorrow. They determine who we become and how we perceive ourselves in the world. So vital is the process of decision-making, that humanity was given the free will to choose. And we can only know what is right and what is wrong for us if we have knowledge and information to make wise, informed decisions. 

Decision-making is so important that sometimes, one misguided decision can ruin not only one's life but it can also have a great impact on the lives of those around them, their community, the nation and even the world at large. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that as we develop ourselves as individuals, and equip ourselves with the skills, tools, and wisdom to make wise, sound decisions. There is a lot of scholarly literature and theories about decisions and the decision-making process, all aiming to teach you how to make them. In psychology, decision-making is regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several possible alternative options. 

With all this information, we as individuals still struggle when it comes to this part of our lives and find ourselves making poor decisions, some that go on to ruin our lives. The bottom line is with little or no knowledge at all, it is very difficult to make an informed decision. It can be very dangerous when decision-making becomes more of a lottery than an informed choice.

Many great men and women, including kings and queens, have seen their kingdoms tumble down all because they failed to master the art of decision-making. I say it is an art because it is an expression of oneself, one’s knowledge on a particular subject, and one’s boldness to make a choice and stand by it. I’m going to share 5 simple steps that, when mastered, will help you become a better decision-maker.

First, let me state that whether a decision is “right” or “wrong” is totally subjective. The moral standing of a decision made at any particular time depends on who is analyzing it and what impact that decision that has been made has on them immediately or soon. It is all about perception and this fact makes the procession of decision making even more important for the individual.

That being said…

Step 1: Gather as much information as possible 

Before making any decision, equip yourself with as much information as you can about the decision you’re about to make. It could be the various choices or options, or the impact, effects, or the consequences that each of these choices has. Before making a decision, gather, research, assess, and be in a better position than you were before to make a decision. You can never get to a point where you’ve exhausted all the avenues or possibilities surrounding a decision, but you can make an informed choice relying on work that they have done prior.


Step 2: Go back to your values

When we are living in our truth, our core values guide the choices that we make. Do you know who you are and what you stand for? If not, take the time to think about it. Then ask, “Is this in alignment with my values?” If not, look for another option. The idea behind this is when we live and work in alignment with our values, we’re more likely to live a life we’re proud of rather than one we regret.

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


Step 3: Don’t make decisions based on fear

So many of us fear making the “wrong” choice, and would rather sit on the face than make a decision that results in us being unhappy. Remember: there are no guarantees that any choice you make will turn out exactly the way you want it to. However, there are few decisions that can’t be changed or corrected. If you take a job and end up not liking it, you can look for another one. While some choices are bigger and impact your life more than others, don’t spend too much time worrying about what could happen and instead make it based on what you want -- you are the one that has to live with the outcome. 


Step 4: Make your choice

Now, it’s time to be brave enough to make the decision. Decisions will not make themselves, and it’s not always easy, but you do need to stand up and make a choice. Many successful men and women are where they are today because they had the courage to stand up and be counted, or make that decision that many were afraid to make. 


Step 5: Stand by it

Always stand by the decision you make, regardless of how it turns out. Learn to trust your judgment, and stand by it. When a “wrong” decision is made, and as a result, a glass is broken, learn to apologize where an apology is due, clear the mess and pick up the pieces and move on. The beautiful thing is that we learn from the decisions that we make. We will not be perfect overnight but it is in practicing and applying these steps that we get better and grow to master the art of making decisions.

Blog Picture: @siljehelenrodland via Twenty20