“You are not the victim of the world, but rather the master of your own destiny. It is your choices and decisions that determine your destiny.”
– Roy T. Bennett
In our article titled Make Amazing Choices, we’ve explained how the 37% – optimal stopping rule can be applied to real life-scenarios. With that in mind we take a step further along this theory and try to put forward certain action steps for you to implement while making choices.
Being human is what makes us imperfect. We have our flaws. We make bad decisions, but it is important to know that we learn from these mistakes and improve upon them. No individual ever achieved success on the first go, apart from beginner’s luck, they kept on trying relentlessly. Failures are indeed the stepping stones to success. Stop seeking perfection.
Perfection – A Flawed Concept
Hard to imagine that you’d be seeing Perfection and Flawed being equated together, but it’s true. In our search for constant perfection we delay certain important decisions that could have life-changing impacts. And it’s not that we seek perfection and if unlucky we move on. No, we simply dive into our own pit of fear and disappointment once we fail to achieve our preconceived levels of perfection. This makes us less likely to learn from our mistakes and improve upon them.
With the optimal stopping rule in mind it is important to realize when to stop choosing further and when to make a concrete decision. The 37% rule is there to simply help an individual get the optimal out of volley of choices rather than settling for something arbitrary and regretting it. The fact is if we learn to make choices when we are constrained for time, we are able to get instant results. Delaying and procrastinating with the excuse of seeking a perfect answer is a myth. In today’s world no one is giving you nor asking for the liberty to make choices in your own sweet time.
Learn to rely on instincts. Forgo that unassailable standard of perfection and begin trusting on the optimal choice rather than the best. That way you wouldn’t have wasted valuable time and efforts in making a decision. And if at all you made a mistake, you don’t lose much and that’s important. With small mistakes you can make changes to your decision pattern, weigh out the necessary pros and cons and choose again. Success is sure to follow those who are eager to learn from experiences.
Overcome Your Fears
Fear is an integral part of our lives. Fear is by far the single most influential entity that stops us from doing something or trying anything new. Fear not only stops us from exploring the unknown but it also makes us nervous about the things we know. We are on edge, worried about the known coming to an end. In doing so, we simply cannot move ahead and try out new things. We rely on the choices that we’ve made so far and on things we have a general idea about. Venturing out into the unknown is something we are unable to perceive. This inability leaves us like fish out of the water.
Constantly being afraid of new things, different choices and newer circumstances narrows our field of vision. It cramps our style, because we become overly worried when making decisions and instead delay or reject the concept of decision making as a whole. If we allow ourselves to fall into this state, we lose control of our lives and the ability to master our skills. Our performance deteriorates and we confine ourselves into a darkened room with no escape.
Make your choices based on what you want rather than based on what you want to avoid. By focusing on the things to avoid we let fear creep in and chances are the overall situation could backfire on us. Giving importance to what we desire will help us work towards achieving that goal and it keeps us on the road to success.
Make Your Choices Count
- Think it through – Making instantaneous decisions shouldn’t completely be impulsive. Real life situations give you enough time to consider the obvious repercussions. That way you arrive at definitive conclusions and make the most of your decisions.
- The Want-Need paradox – Learn to focus on your needs rather than on your wants. Take the necessary time to list out your authentic needs which will prevent you from making the wrong choices. Wants are simply materialistic.
- Your best self should do the choosing – We have this impulsive, self-doubting inner child and the practical, cautious and logically thinking adult self in all of us. Avoid making hasty decisions and temper your impulse with reason. You’ll get the best outcome every time you do so.
- Focus on your goals and not on the things you want to avoid out of fear – Overcome your fears and learn to trust yourself and the decision you make, because that decision could define your life and you don’t want to be doubting yourself half the time.
- Passion trumps obligation – Don’t do something because someone told you to. Look before you leap and avoid leaping into the well just because someone said so. Tune into your heart’s desires, let them guide you ahead. Refrain from deciding based on past guilt, duty or mere obligation.
- Make your choices count – By actively choosing and being responsible for our choices we take our life into our hands. There is no third party to blame. Our mistakes are our own. And once we realize the effectiveness of our decisions we strive to make them better.
Do not wait for your choices to happen. Do not depend on someone to be your whetstone. Take matters into your own hands. Your choices are your own, make them meaningful.
“That’s the nice thing about being human. We only have one life, but we can choose what kind of story it’s going to be.” – Rick Riordan