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The TRUEpath Head-Heart Decision Method

The HEART Hand

In part 1, we looked at the left or “HEAD-Hand” in this decision method, which represents the logical, reason-based side of decision-making. Now we’ll take a look at the “HEART-Hand”, which doesn’t deal  with the nuts and bolts of decision-making like the “HEAD-Hand”, but with the moral, ethical and “humanistic” values that make truly great decisions!


You’ve been taught your entire life that “life isn’t fair”. In many cases this is a true statement but we think it is also a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you accept that this is the way of the world and you are powerless to do anything about it, you are just perpetuating it, not changing it. I don’t very often hear “Life isn’t fair, BUT”.

The willingness to challenge this so-called “truth” is difficult, but it can be done! Every time you make a decision, you have the opportunity to make it a fair one that treats all parties the same, or make the selfish decision, the unfair decision, that you have been led to believe is “OK”. Probably something like “Well, life’s not fair you know! We all do it!”.

Fairness should be part of your decision calculation and be integral to all of your decisions, even when it doesn’t give you all that you want. There’s another old saying you should bear in mind when thinking about fairness: “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” That’s the true test of whether you’re walking the TRUEpath in Life.

G = Good?

What is a “good” decision? We propose that it is a decision that has positive outcomes for all involved and one that minimizes, if not eliminating entirely, negative consequences for anyone.

A good decision is easy for anyone of any age to understand: It is not “bad”. That simple instinct is built into all of us early in life however as we grow older, we try and complicate that simple truth with “conditions” such as “if”, “when”, “how”, and the biggest, baddest of the bunch – “BUT!”. Each of us has an internal compass that normally points to “good”, but too many times we allow it to point to “maybe” and that’s where we start getting into trouble.

The way to make a good decision is to listen to your 5 year-old inner self that hasn’t yet learned how to equivocate, and the decision you make will most probably be a “good” one.

H = Honest?

This is a simple one! Well, maybe. “The Truth Hurts”, is another one of those axioms we learn as we grow older. And many times, it is true. However too many people use it as a crutch to justify lying. Any just as there are millions of potential colors, there are just as many types of lies. You can tell a “white lie”, a “fib” or an “exaggeration” of the truth, but no matter what word you use, it is a lie. It is not honest.

The first problem we have to overcome in making an honest decision is the hardest – lying to ourselves. We tell ourselves all kind of lies to keep from confronting the truth of a situation. There are many reasons for this, the primary one being the “Lizard Brain” or amygdala that functions entirely on instinct and is not acquainted with “reason”. It wants us to do whatever it takes to get what we want as soon as possible and the consequences be damned!

Being honest with yourself is the first skill you need to learn in order to make wise decisions in life. Once you have that licked, then you can hopefully learn to treat others in the same manner. No matter how much it hurts!

I = Integrity?

Integrity is sometimes hard to define easily. I think it is a quality you have that results from making the right decisions the right way, as we’ve pointed out in the “Heart-hand” method. You either have it or you don’t. Other’s will make their decisions about you based on your personal integrity, but it’s more important that you see yourself as a person of integrity. You can’t fake it, you can only earn it.

If your decisions are “integrity-filled”, you’ll know that you are making the right decision. The way to get integrity is to be true to yourself, and others, make the “right” decisions even if they are not always the most favorable to you, and generally display a set of values, morals and ethics that are based on serving others before yourself. Having integrity means being able to sleep soundly at night.

J = Judgement?

This is arguably the prime factor in making good decisions. Judgement is the ability to discern the truth in a situation, and then use all of the previous values to make the best decision you can, with everyone’s interest in mind.

Good judgement is hard to define, but easy to spot. It requires work. It is not easy. It is a skill and an attitude. It is the ability to accept failure and then use that experience to improve your judging skills in future decisions. Most of all, it is about how you judge yourself. What you think about the value of your judgements will define how your judgements affect others. It requires fairness, goodness, truthfulness and integrity to have good judgement.

In other words, it requires both the HEAD-HAND and the HEART-HAND to make the best judgements and decisions possible.

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TRUEpath’s motto states:  “The Decisions you make, determine the Path you take; The Path you take, determines the Life you make”. If you “take a path” (another name for a “journey”), that assumes you have somewhere you want to go. A “destination“.

What is your destination? Do you know? Do you ever stop to think about it?

There are many kinds of destinations. Some are short journeys to which you quickly arrive, such as an event you want to attend today or tomorrow or this weekend. Mid-length destinations require projecting yourself into the future a good ways out from the goal you’ve set your heart on, such as graduating from college, getting married or having a family. Then there are the “distant-horizon” destinations where your goal is completely out of view, a long, long way off and very hard to visualize, such as your retirement, your old age and ultimately, your death, burial and afterlife.

Whether short, medium or long, all destinations have one thing in common; to get where you want to go in your life journey, you need to know where it will end. If you don’t know your destination, with the possible exception of your final destination, you may not end up even close to where you want to go. Another way of saying this is, “If you don’t know where you are going, you are already there!”

TRUEpath’s Destinations

Here’s our take on 5 destinations in life that are universal, provide everything a human needs and desires, and will help you live a full life which will not only get you to your destination, it will provide an awesome journey along the way!

If you walk the TRUEpath in your life journey, your destinations will be…

Peace, Hope, Joy, Abundance and Love!

Can you think of any better destinations? Whoa! Before you quickly count off the “places” that would be fun to go to, the “things” you would like to have, or the “people” you want to be with, stop and think about it for a few minutes. Those destinations are ephemeral, here today and gone tomorrow. Far too many people mistake short-term “happiness” for long-term “joy”. If you are really honest about it, I think you will agree.

Since our destinations are the reason we get up in the morning, we thought we might take a few minutes to look at TRUEpath’s Destinations to see if we can discover why we think they are so vital to achieve. Let’s go in order and start with…


What is “Peace”? Peace may be defined in two ways: what peace “is”, and what peace “is not”.

  • Peace is – Harmony, Civility, Relaxation, Tranquility, and Serenity.
  • Peace is not – Chaos, War, Worry, Hostility, Sadness, Conflict, and Anxiety.

I’ll bet you can come up with many other definitions that we haven’t listed. It’s a big subject, isn’t it? But however we define it, Peace is something we all want and need. Peace is something that we know when we experience it and also when we don’t. You may be in great need of some peace now. We submit that you stand a good chance of knowing peace by following the TRUEpath in life.

Peace, or the lack of it, is largely defined by the decisions you make in life.


Hope is very often mistaken for “wishing”. You might “wish” to win the lottery, or inherit a fortune, or marry the actor or musician of your dreams, or any of a million other “things”. The difference is that your “wishes” are based on desires that are probably not attainable and are best left to “chance”. “Luck” is not Hope.

Hope is more substantial than wishes, and is based on the faith that what we hope for can actually happen. The Bible offers many definitions of Hope that may help us understand its true meaning. Here are a couple:

II Corinthians 4: 18 says, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (NLV)

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (NLV)

We might conclude that “Hope” is the realistic faith that our desires will be fulfilled. Hope is essential to humans as without it, we lose our motivation to keep going when our path becomes steep, rocky, dangerous and difficult. It is up to us to make the life choices that help make hope, reality.


What a great word! Just saying it brings us, well…”Joy”! But what is “joy”? Most people confuse it with “happiness”. Yes, happiness is certainly a part of “joy”, but happiness is generally temporary and superficial. You get happiness when you eat an ice cream cone, or when some unexpected event, like getting a raise, happens. They are all wonderful things but are they “joy”?

In our thinking, joy is very much deeper, longer-lasting and more meaningful than happiness. It is also harder to identify and find. Joy is the birth of your child. Joy is the pleasure of witnessing the magic and beauty of nature. Joy is something that remains in your memory always, and is more valuable than just about anything you experience in life. You may find it hard to put your finger on it, but if you know Peace, Hope, Abundance and Love, you know “joy”!

One more thing. You can “decide” to have “Joy” by the thoughts you think, by the love you give and to a great extent, by the day-to-day decisions and life-choices you make, today, tomorrow and every step on your life-path. We wish you much joy in your life!


Hey! What’s not to like about “abundance”? We all want it, don’t we? But we all don’t always achieve it, do we? Maybe that’s because we’re not following the right path in our desire to have abundance. Huh? Like we said, “What’s not to like about “abundance”?”.

Abundance can mean many things. Most of the time people mean “money” when they think about abundance. Yes, money is one thing we all want to have in abundance and when handled wisely, it can be a very good thing. However when you look at the reality of having more money, or anything else you desire, than you need, or an “abundance” of it, you may change your mind.

It’s been said that “Money can’t buy happiness.” Most people would disagree with this, especially if they are struggling financially. However, according to many studies, it’s true! If you look deeper (there are many articles on this, including this one by the Wall Street Journal), you’ll see that an abundance of money is walking the wrong path to reach the TRUEpath Destinations.

So if being rich in money is not the right path, what is? Here are a few ideas you can consider that may give you a new way to understand “Abundance”.

How about being “loved” abundantly? What about “Living Life Abundantly” with abundant laughter, joy, peace, hope, love, and maybe most of all, time ? You can’t spend these abundances but you can earn them, and give them away, which gives you an abundance of pride, because you earned them, and a deep-down feeling of pleasure in helping someone else find their abundance in you! If you have an abundance of love, of passion for your work, of faith, or of those God-given qualities that make you – you, then you’ll be abundant in the things that last, that can’t be lost, and the things that add up to an abundant life! Hey! Abundance sounds pretty good in this light, doesn’t it!


This is probably one of the most used words, and also the most misunderstood words used by humans. It has dozens of definitions and it means many different things to all of the different people in the world. So, what definition works best if we are to achieve the TRUEpath Destinations in life?

For the sake of discussion, let’s use the word “love” as the ancient Greeks used it. Their definitions after all, have stood the test of time. They had four primary definitions for “Love”:

  • Agape” Love, or “gift-love”
  • Eros” Love, or “sexual-love”
  • Philia” Love or “friendship-love”
  • Storge” Love or “family-love”

We all experience each kind of love the Greeks gave us. I suspect that you might select “Agape” love last from the list since it seems less relevant to many of our lives. However, we beg to differ! We think Agape love is the best destination in life and here’s why:

You probably know this paraphrased piece of scripture by heart: “It is better to give than receive.” Well, it’s true! While the other three “loves” are important in their own right, it’s only “agape” love that allows us to transcend from “love of self” to “love for others”. It is the love of charity, the love for people that don’t love us, the love that feels better in the giving of it than in the receiving of it. In the long run, like, say a lifetime, giving your love to others will be far more valuable than all of the others combined. It is the “Love of Man for God” and the “Love of God for Man”. In the end, it is the highest love and the only one that will carry you through to your ultimate destination, in life and beyond!

Well, that’s a lot to think about isn’t it? We don’t claim there is only one way to live your life, or even one path to success, but we do believe that these five destinations will ultimately lead to your success in life. As we asked in the beginning, “What is YOUR destination in life?”

We’ve got just one more thing to add..

“Have an Awesome Journey, my friend!

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So how do you decide on how to decide?

We at TRUEpath believe that simplicity trumps complexity. Generally speaking, “Simple Works”! That is our rallying cry and the primary goal of all of our efforts in developing Decision-Making Methods, Processes and Tools. However, simple is not simple! In fact, it is extremely difficult to take something as complex as decision-making and boil it down so that it is easily remembered and used, which is the only method most of us will practically use. Of course, any method must produce quick and effective results, or it will not be relevant nor used more than once.

Toward the twin goals of simplicity and effectiveness, we submit our ideas for you to try out on an everyday basis and allow you to be part of our research team by sending us feedback on what you experienced. Together, we’ll eventually refine these methods and invent new ones, through collaboration and a closed-loop process. Let’s begin!

The TRUEpath Digital Decision Method

Since simplicity is a primary goal, creating a process to guide decision-making should be simple also. We believe that the  number “5” is an innately special number to humans since that is the number of digits (…hence “digital” in the name!) on a human hand, is easy to remember and portable. It requires no batteries or booting up and it seldom crashes although hands do take a beating at times!

This is the reason we use the number five, and its multiples, as a basis for our decision methods. To create a method that is easily remembered and simple enough for young and old alike to use, we have devised several methods based on 5 steps or 10 steps. “The TRUEpath Digital Decision Method” is the latest concept we’re studying to achieve a universal decision-making process in ten steps or less. Take a look at it and let us know what you think.

As you can see, this method requires both hands to make the best decision possible. Let’s break it down into it’s individual components in order to understand why each is important to almost any decision.

The TRUEpath Digital Decision Method


First, we break down the process into two parts, represented by the left and right hands. The left hand uses logic and reason as the “mechanics” of making a good decision. The right hand asks five questions concerning how our decisions affect others, to help determine if the nuts and bolts answers from the left hand includes the human values that produce the TRUEpath in Life: Peace, Hope, Joy, Abundance and Love. After all, while robotic decisions may be functional, no one wants a negative human outcome even though the decision may be technically right.


Asking the right question is number one, because it is the number one determining factor in reaching the right outcome. The right answer to the wrong question rarely leads to success. Let me give you an example of this:

You decide to take a vacation. Great! Now that you have made that first decision, you can continue on in your decision-making process by asking questions like:

  • How much money can I devote to a vacation?
  • Given the amount I can spend, what places fall within that budget?
  • What do I want to do on my vacation?
  • Where can I do it?
  • How will I get there?
  • Where will I stay?

…and so on and so forth until you ask and answer all of the questions that are required to actually fulfill your choice. Now that you have made your decision, you finally come to the day you have anticipated for so long! You take a wonderful vacation, laying in the sun, and doing the things that make you happy. “What’s wrong with that?”, you might ask.

The problem is that you may have asked the wrong question right from the start. Instead of asking  “Where should I go on my vacation?” you could have asked, “Should I take a vacation?” or even:

 What else could I do with my time and money that would satisfy my current  wants and needs (…that is an important decision in itself!) AND allow me to satisfy my long term needs and goals for the future, which would be far more satisfying to me over the entire scope of my life?

The problem was not taking the vacation per se. The problem was, not considering more important things, that could be far more useful and enjoyable to you over a longer period of time, such as getting out of debt, or saving money for the proverbial “rainy day” (which WILL come one day!) or maybe helping a family member or even a stranger in need.

That’s why “ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTION” is number one! If your destination is East, you don’t want to set out in another direction, do you?


If you read almost any knowledgeable author’s list of attributes needed to make a good decision, eliminating BIAS, or “Confirmation Bias” to be more precise, is found near the top. Why?

 Confirmation Bias is defined by Wikipedia as:

“The tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.”

The reason for eliminating bias in the decision-making process is simple. You can’t reach the best decision possible if you have already closed your mind to any options or thinking that are counter to the beliefs you already hold. Your decision will always be skewed and missing important information needed to arrive at the best solution or outcome.

Bias will produce the wrong answer, or a less than perfect answer, no matter how good you are at asking the right question.

C = Collaborate

You’re probably a pretty smart person if you have read this far! And if you are a smart person, you’re also smart enough to know that you, by yourself as an individual, don’t have ALL the answers or can even ask the right questions.

We all need help from others because we all don’t have the same experiences, education, and most of all, the perspective on life that others have. If we are going to make the best decision possible, we need to communicate and collaborate with others in making our decisions. This step will help you with step one, step 2 and if you are really open and honest, with all of the steps we advocate here. Be bold and courageous! Ask someone you admire and trust to share their valuable life experiences with you! And do the same for others!

D = Discover

One of the most common reasons decision outcomes fail, is that the decision-maker fails to identify an optimum number of options to choose from. Discovery of sufficient options to choose from will probably keep you from making a really bad decision. In fact, the more important the decision, the more work you need to put into identifying additional potential options.

There are some basic guidelines to follow here such as having more than two (2) and fewer than six (6) or seven (7) options in front of you. “Binary decisions“, where you choose from only two options, is a recipe for failure! There are many statistics on this subject, which I would encourage you to read, but in a nutshell, from three (3) to five (5) options will serve you better than either fewer or greater options.

We will elaborate on this important attribute in future blogs or articles.

E = Evaluate

Evaluating what you have discovered in the previous four steps, is often paid little attention or worse, none at all! What we mean by “evaluating” is better said as “Evaluating Over Time”. The “time” part is really, really important!

Have you ever made a decision you regret? Come on now, tell the truth! Of course you have! We all have. What was the likely reason for that regret? Probably making the decision in a hurry, even when you didn’t need to.

We humans are an emotional species, aren’t we? Emotion is a needed social tool to express our feelings and while generally a good thing, they often get the better of us. Managing emotions in the decision-making process will in large part help determine its outcome. Well-managed and you stand a good chance of a good outcome. Poorly managed and you will likely suffer the consequences!

As a rule, use this saying: “24 or more!” That simply means, put off your decision, if the situation allows, for twenty-four hours or more in order to lessen the negative effect of heated emotions. I’ll bet you’ve put your mouth in gear before putting your brain in gear more than once! The same applies to responding to an email too quickly and sending it to far too many people!

Evaluation of our options, over time, will produce better outcomes. Simple.

You should now see why we refer to the Left-Hand steps as “mechanical” in nature, as they can be counted off in the order given for almost any decision type. The result will probably be a pretty good decision if you haven’t cut any corners. However, we don’t want to stop there because what may be a great decision for us, may not ultimately be the “right” decision for others – or us. The Right-Hand steps we’ll cover next, can determine success or failure for us all, and most definitely, including you! Stay tuned!

ABCsDo you remember learning your ABCs as a child? You probably used a “meme” to help you do so. Sing it now –

ABCDEFG,HIJKLMNOP,QRSandTUV,WandXand YandZ-Now I’ve learned my ABCs, tell me what you think of me!

The ABCs or “Alphabet Song” was an easy way to remember your alphabet and you probably have used it well beyond your childhood when you had to sort or alphabetize a list or for some other reason. This is a good example of a “meme” which is defined as “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”

“Memes” can be used to help you remember many things and could be used to help people learn and instantly recall how to make wise decisions and choices in their everyday life. I have been on a search for decision memes for a while now and something caught my eye or ear recently that brought to mind the ABCs song so I thought I would use it as a model for creating an easy to use meme that would piggy-back on this ubiquitous little ditty. Here goes!

A = Ask (…the right question)
B = Biases (…eliminate them)
C = Collaborate (…seek advice)
D = Discover (…risks, rewards, consequences)
E = Evaluate (…all options for at least one day and night)

Now, you may have noticed that I stopped with 5 letters/steps and may be wondering why. You may also notice that we use the number “5” and higher orders of five in other methods and processes throughout our website. The reason for this is based on a belief that the numbers 5, 10, 15 and 20 have a strong attraction for all humans, in that most all of us are born equipped with ten fingers and ten toes, also known as “digits”. So even before mankind invented math, we were all “digital”!

Five is an easy to remember number and hopefully you have the full complement of digits on your hands (unlike my Uncle Broadus, a carpenter who had several unfortunate incidents with power saws and was missing a few digits as a result!), that you can use as reminders of simple lists or ideas. With this in mind, we will always try to use lists of 5 or 10 to express memorable memes that hopefully will spread like a virus around the planet.

Now for a short explanation of the ABCs of Decision-Making.


An easy way to visualize and understand this first step and its importance is to think about taking a vacation. That’s a nice thought isn’t it! When you decide to take a vacation or trip, you probably start by stating a preference for your destination. That decision is likely the result of an image in your mind of how wonderful it would be to go there. That image could come from a photo, video, magazine article, story of a friend or colleague, or perhaps even a previous visit you made. So far, so good. We have at least one destination in mind. But is one enough?

If you stopped at this point and went online and purchased your tickets and booked your hotel, you might be setting yourself up for a less than expected experience. Why? Because you may have chosen the right answer for the wrong question. Let’s explore this seemingly simple decision a little more closely by ASKING a few more questions, such as –

“Can I afford to take a vacation or do I have sufficient resources to do so?” After all, you probably have other people to consider and their preferences, affordability and time availability. Do I have other financial obligations that need to be taken care of first before my pleasure? What requirements such as time, passports, vaccinations, security risk and other questions need to be answered before making a decision?

But more than these rather obvious questions which are made after the fact, shouldn’t you ask a more important question that might take precedence over your original question? I’m referring to potential questions  like; “Is a vacation, no matter how much I might want or deserve it, what I need to do or is there some other pressing need that I should consider before expending the time, effort and expense of taking a pleasure trip?”

Maybe a vacation shouldn’t be your first question and maybe it is, but thinking about and asking the RIGHT question is the only way to get to the RIGHT answer or outcome you seek. So the first step should always be “Am I asking the right question?” After all, getting the right answer to the wrong question might in the long-term put you on the wrong path to failure rather than success. In other words, “STOP & THINK ABOUT IT!” By just stopping to consider or reconsider the decision you are setting out to make, you’ll be far ahead of most people that never give it a thought and end up dealing with the consequences.

B = BIAS and why it is so important to be aware of and to eliminate.

What is “Bias” or more to the point when discussing Decisions, “Confirmation Bias“? Wikipedia defines it as: “… the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.”

This is step two for a reason, which is that when you start the decision process with existing biases, you’ve already “poisoned the well” so to speak. Another way to say this is that you cannot arrive at the “best” decision if you have ruled out certain information or options because they don’t fit your personal view of life. You have thus precluded perhaps what could be the right decision for you and others by only considering one point of view – yours!

This is a subject that literally requires a book to discuss at length, and many books acknowledge this “trap” and present methods for eliminating them. But a book, no matter how good, won’t do us much good here as any good meme is short and easily remembered by definition. Otherwise it wouldn’t be popular enough to pass from person to person like a virus, which is what we decided to do when we asked the right question, which is, “How can we best help people everywhere learn to make better day-to-day decisions and life-choices so they can achieve Peace, Hope, Joy, Abundance and Love in theirs and others lives?

We’ll be posting much more detail on each of these 5 steps and on “bias” in particular, as we accomplish our mission. In the meanwhile, I would encourage you to learn more about Bias and how to make better decisions by eliminating it. We would like to leave you with this one take-away thought to consider in regard to bias:

If you aren’t willing to be totally honest with yourself, and others, by identifying and removing your personal biases from your decisions, and knowing that the outcomes of those decisions will not be the absolute best for both you and others that might be affected by your decision, why start at all?”

By including your biases, you’ve likely doomed yourself to failure at the beginning of the process and there is no reason to waste your time and effort by moving to Step 3 or beyond!

I know that sounds brutal, but it’s true. It’s not easy and it’s not popular but we think you’ll find the success in whatever it is that you’re seeking by doing the hard work of eliminating bias in your decision deliberations. Make the decision to avoid bias!

C = COLLABORATE! Seek advice, knowledge and perspective from others!

Collaboration, which also implies “Communication”, is of tremendous value when seeking to make the absolute best decision you can! After all, none of us has all the answers, even though that sometimes is hard to admit!

The real key for this step is two-fold:

  1. Discover New and Valuable Information we don’t have.
  2. Gain Perspective from the experiences of others than have “Been There, done That!

While information, or data, is certainly important, in my mind, perspective is the most valuable in that with greater context come greater understanding. Information in the form of facts and figures is a requirement of any good decision, however understanding how those facts and figure relate to others or a particular situation cannot be over-emphasized.

We believe that finding one or more “mentors” that you can tap for advice and their wisdom, is a key factor in achieving success in life, business or whatever endeavor you tackle. The key to being mentored is to not decide on a mentor who is just like you or that thinks like you do! What would be the point? One of the major downfalls of many people is surrounding themselves with facsimiles of themselves. This produces an “echo chamber” where only a limited number of opinions or options bounce off each other and prevent other options that could be the missing link in a successful decision outcome, from being discovered.

Like rooting out and eliminating biases in Step 2, it takes courage and boldness to challenge your own experiences and assumptions. One way to prevail in this is to identify and ask people you respect and admire to counsel and guide you. You’ll probably find that most people are willing to help if you treat them with courtesy and respect, even if, and perhaps especially if, their opinion is different from yours!

Even better, be a mentor and help others make the right decisions!

D = DISCOVER Options, Risks, Rewards & Consequences!

Bring out the inner explorer in yourself! Seek out and find all of the options for potential solutions that you can. The more you find, the better your decision will be. (…generally this will be at least 3 and no more than 5 or 6 so as to have enough but not so many as to cause “paralysis by analysis!)

We all learned from childhood on that “Decisions have Consequences“. This is a true statement and one that you should always bear in mind when you start to make any decision. The problem is that far too many people either forget this or ignore it all together, which generally results in a big, negative, surprise after the fact.

The Discovery process is about being aware of and identifying all of the Risk, Rewards and Consequences for each of your decision options. I don’t think it is necessary to elaborate on each of these attributes as they are generally well known and self-evident, however suffice it to say that this step shouldn’t be short-changed unless you are willing to live with the consequences of a bad decision. That would kind of defeat the purpose of this exercise, wouldn’t it?

E = EVALUATE the previous 4 steps and the information you gathered to make a great decision!

Evaluation is the process of comparing multiple options, advice, perspectives, risks and rewards, over time, and finally any expected outcomes or consequences, to arrive at the best decision possible. It also implies taking the time to fulfill the entire process with as much reason and logic as possible and without emotions if possible.

I’ve found through the experiences of a lifetime, many of them with less than satisfactory outcomes I might add, that investing a little time at Step 5 can help avoid many negative outcomes while making successful decisions more often.

The reason for this is simple. Decisions made in haste are generally poor decisions. This can be due to short-circuiting the decision process, but most often its because of the negative effects of emotions that are unduly weighting one side or the other.

Commit this phrase to memory: “Wait 24 or More!” This simply means to put a little time between you and your decision. The old adage “Let me sleep on it.” is quite true and valuable. Another adage says: ” Act in haste, repent at leisure.”

The bottom-line is that if your decision allows, wait a day or two before making your final decision. You’ll take emotions out of the equation and be pleasantly surprised how many times you’ll find:

  • The need for the decision has passed.
  • The decision itself has changed or the environment you are making the decision in has somehow been altered.
  • New and important information has come to light.
  • New insights and options have presented themselves.

Whatever you do, unless upon pain of death, don’t make fast or rash decisions! Ruminate, contemplate, evaluate and process all of the things you learned in the first 4 steps and always seek to make the wisest decision you can!

Remember your ABCs and make your next decision a GREAT ONE!

5 Simple Steps to a Better Decision!

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Q: What activity do you do the most each day which is only exceeded by breathing?

A: Make Decisions!

It is estimated that the average person makes over 35,000 decisions a day. Most are automatic and incidental but there are probably at least several dozen that could be important over the long term.

You will make thousands of decisions today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, ad infinitum. You would think that something you do this often would be as important as anything you might do on any given day, but it’s generally not, is it? I’ll bet you hardly even think about the decisions you make most of the time. That’s OK, you’re in good company. Most people don’t even give a second thought about the decisions they make, even though they arguably are the one thing that determines whether you are happy or sad, rich or poor or live a fulfilling and successful life or not.

By now you might be asking, “What’s the RIGHT WAY to make a decision?” (drum roll please!) THERE’S NOT ONE RIGHT WAY!  Decision-Making methods and processes are just as numerous as paparazzi around a Kardashian! There isn’t one right way but there are many wrong ways. Let’s start with our worst practices and work backwards to see if we can identify some “Best Practices” that can help you with your next decision.

There are as many types of decision methods as there are decision-makers. Here are just a few. See if you spot yourself in one of them!

  • Gut-Instinct” – this is seldom as good as the person that makes decisions this way thinks it is. While there is certainly a place for human intuition, I wouldn’t want to make a life or death decision using this method. Far too many people do and they generally make the evening news. Do you really want what’s in your gut to make a decision for you? I didn’t think so!
  • Coin-Flip” – Statistically, a flip of the coin produces a 50% probability over time. However, it can also provide less or more than 50% on any particular set of flips. But the reliability of it coming up heads when you need it to – at the “decision-point” which is a finite moment in time – is not  enough to base a decision of any importance on. Also, it is a “Binary” decision that contains only two options. “A” or “B”. In decision-making, only having two options to choose from is likely not going to provide the outcome you are seeking. Three is the minimum number of options that you should seek and more, within reason, is better. This method is the kissing-cousin to that “Gut-Instinct” dude.
  • Scarlett O’Hara” – As already noted, procrastination taken to the extreme results in poor outcomes. However, there are times when a little procrastination is a good thing! IF (notice the emphasis), you have a time frame to make a decision in that has a little wiggle-room, waiting 24 hours or even more, is generally a wise move. This gives all of the information, advice and your risk/reward analysis, to ruminate and simmer so that emotion can be drained out of the process. Emotion, while sometimes a motivator, often clouds a reasoned decision and creates less than optimum outcomes.
  • Well-Diggers” – Yes, most people that dig wells find themselves in a hole. Seriously. Researching a decision is a smart thing to do. It is encouraged! However, there is a “sweet-spot” in acquiring decision options and facts that beyond which, decisions get much harder to make. “Paralysis by Analysis” is the term most often used to describe a person that can’t make a decision because they’ve identified too many options. They can’t see the forest for the trees – OK, I taken the hint. No more metaphors! You get the idea.
  • Social-Media” – The “Wisdom of the Crowd” is often touted as the magic new method for doing about anything these days. And while it is a good idea to get some widely divergent thinking about your decision from others, abdicating your role as King or Queen of your life to a bunch of nameless minions is not the best way to make decisions, particularly personal ones that need more nuanced replies than your probably comfortable sharing the information necessary to who knows who in who knows where.

The 5 Simple Steps to a Better Decision

“In all things, moderation!” This wisdom has many fathers including the Bible. It is generally a true statement and one we can use to take the “good parts” from each of the decision personas we’ve identified above and combine them in a decision-making method we call, “The 5 Simple Steps to a Better Decision“. It goes like this:

    1. OPEN YOUR MIND! – Watch out for “BIAS“! This will gum up the works for sure! The way to remove bias from your decision process is to (A): OPEN YOUR MIND! and (B): Be HONEST WITH YOURSELF! – If you can’t be really, painfully, truthfully honest with yourself, you’re going to introduce your biases into the equation which will skew the decision, and it’s outcomes, from the get-go. DO NOT go to step two until you can get past this point. If you don’t, why do it? You’ve already made the decision in part before finishing the entire process!
    2. CLIMB YOUR LADDER! – Imagine that the top of your head flips open and out comes a ladder that extends upwards into space! The “ladder” is how you gain the second part of your decision process – “PERSPECTIVE“!  You have to climb your ladder, pull out your binoculars, and take a good 360 degree look around at all of the potential factors that might impact your decision for the worse. As you now have this incredibly open mind and are filling it with all of the facts, figures and other stuff that is generally known as “INFORMATION”, you will be ready to proceed to the next step, prepared like a Boy Scout for anything that comes your way!
    3. OPEN YOUR EARS! (AND CLOSE YOUR MOUTH!) – My mother told me, “the reason God gave you two ears and one mouth is so you can listen twice as much as you talk!” She was right. Ask someone you admire or trust for their advice or experience in making your decisions like yours. Then SHUT UP and LISTEN! You don’t have to agree. You just have to listen and be grateful! Now you probably have some more information that you didn’t have before, perhaps some wisdom and a different way of looking at things. These are good things! You are now ready to proceed to step 4.
    4. ON THE OTHER HAND! This implies the “ONE HAND” in which you hold one or more possible decision cases that you’re pondering. And in the “OTHER HAND”, you have several more countering options to your one hand. You need to have two hands full of NON-BIASED, PERSPECTIVE-LADEN, ADVICE & WISDOM with THREE OR MORE OPTIONS before you go to step 5.
    5. TAKE YOUR TIME! – Go ahead. Hit “Reply All” when you email your spouse about how stupid your boss is because you were mad and wouldn’t take a minute to make sure you weren’t sending it to your colleagues including your boss! Now do you wish you’d waited to make that decision? Yeah, I know. Been there, done that… The final best practice is to “WAIT 24 or MORE” before making your final decision, if your time constraints allow it. Not only will cooler heads prevail, you’ll probably find some additional information or a changed situation that can either help you make a better decision or avoid a really bad one. Time really is on your side.

There you have it! While this simple method isn’t a panacea for making absolutely perfect decisions every time. It should help you make better decisions as a rule. In fact, if you can count to 5 without pulling your shoes and socks off, you can make better decisions. Give it a go and let us know!

Here’s the method in pictures in case you need them.


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