Why your decision making is keeping you stuck

Several years ago, I read the best book I have ever read on human decision making and the two type of decisions we make.

One of the decision making types really doesn’t do much for you other than it helps you get through your day. The other type of decision is one that actually moves you forward in your life and your goals.

At the end of this article I have the link to the book and the author so you can check it out for yourself. I highly encourage you to do so.

Prevent Pain: One of our motivations and desires when we make decisions is to prevent us from having pain in our lives. It usually isn’t actual pain, like an injury. But it is pain from what happens when we don’t make that decision. These decisions usually are urgent.

Things such as brushing our teeth. This is a prevent pain decision because we don’t want to have bad breath and ultimately our teeth rot out. Taking the garbage out. Again, this is a prevent pain decision because if we don’t take the trash out the house will stink and our spouse might not be happy with us.

Doing the laundry, is another prevent pain decision. If we don’t do it we wont have any clean clothes. Changing the tires on our car. Following up with that email with our boss. Paying the bills.

Prevent pain decisions are simple little decisions we have to make every single day, or it can be infrequent but required when the need arises. Our life doesn’t change much when we make these decisions but they have to be made. If we don’t make them, things will eventually happen that will cause us a lot of problems.

Gain Decisions: Decisions that are driven toward producing more significant positive results in our lives and our business. Gain decisions usually aren’t required for us to make, because there isn’t a consequence for not making that decision like there is with a prevent pain decision. These aren’t urgent decisions.

Gain tasks are focusing on something you want. And like anything we want, we have to actually make time and invest resources in to getting it.

A few examples of this are writing a book, getting further education, spending quality time with our children, closing a big deal, investing in income producing real estate.  

Look at these examples compared to the prevent pain decisions and you will see a big difference. If we don’t accomplish the gain decisions, usually nothing happens, at least not quickly, but if you neglect to do them over time they could have significant consequences.

And this is what causes the problems in our lives and keeps us stuck.

We get caught up making the day to day decisions that are urgent and we never get around to making the bigger and more important decisions that will actually impact our lives significantly and move us closer to our goals we want to accomplish.

How do we start to make better decisions? To get more out of your life and to get out of the day to day decisions that are keeping us where we are, you have to plan.

Everything we do everyday can be broken down into three categories: Habits, To Do items, and calendar events. 

Habits:  Mostly influence parts of our life such as hygiene, health, eating, repeat spending, relaxing chores, emails, and rote tasks.  We don’t have to write them down, because we won’t forget to do them. These are typically prevent pain decisions/tasks.

To do Lists: Maintenance tasks that you don’t want to forget. Updating a file, sending out an email, checking in with a client, going to dry cleaners, grocery shopping, paying a bill. Again these are prevent pain items usually, because if we don’t do them it will cause us immediate pain.

Calendar: For things that are time specific: events, appointments, and anything you have to be on time for, whether it’s business or personal.

Use your calendar for Gain:

  • Anything on your calendar you will defend and protect.  You won’t skip.
  • Use your calendar to give your goals and better decisions the attention they deserve.

So if you want to get out of the constant cycle of making decisions that only affect you in the moment or the day, you have to start planning for it.

For new or veteran real estate investors, if you want to start investing in incoming producing real estate you have to make a decision to do that and put it on your calendar when you will actually make your first purchase, your second, or one-hundredth.

For those who want to spend more time with their children, but can’t find the time. You have to put it on your calendar when you will allocate time to do this.

The key and the point of the book is to get you out of the rat race of everyday small tasks, that won’t actually move you closer to your goals. Making better decisions is thinking about what it is you want to accomplish.

A goal.

And then working backwards to set aside the time to make the goal become a reality.

This is the key to making better decisions.

I wrote a summary of this book you can check out here.

But I highly encourage you to read the actual book you can access it at the link below.

Link to book: http://www.amazon.com/Decide-Smarter-Reduce-Stress-Example/dp/1118554388/

To your success and your future.