Decision Making

Today I want to talk to you about a key skill to become an amazing human and optimize human. And that skill is decision making. Now, if you’ve ever heard me talk, you know that one of the foundational pieces I talk about is a key skill that we must all develop is the ability to make the right decisions. In fact, the one thing that I’ve come to know is that your life is like a mosaic. If you’ve ever seen a mosaic, where there’s like a big picture and then you zoom in on that big picture, it is just made up of a bunch of little pictures, your life is very much the same way. If we zoomed out of your life and looked at that picture, and then zoomed in and looked at all the little pictures, the quality of the big picture is in direct correlation to the little pictures, which is how you make decisions.

My goal today is to give you a very simple understanding and tool to become a better decision maker.  To do this, first, I want you to understand something. There is a difference between choices and decisions.  A lot of times people trade them like synonyms, like they mean the same thing. And I endowed myself with the ability to create definitions for words that suit me because my job is to communicate ideas to people. 

If I go across the street from my office, there’s a brewery, it’s called the Lawrence beer company. If you’re ever in Lawrence, Kansas, you should go in there and try the waffle fries. They’re amazing. So if I go in there, there’s a menu, right?  And the menu is all my choices. And there are some very healthy choices like salads and bowls. There’s also some very unhealthy choices like waffles fries, chicken sandwiches and cheeseburgers.  So my choices are what’s on the menu, those are my options. What I select is what I decide upon. See, that’s what I want you to get first is that choices are options, decisions are selection. If you think about it, and you want to make the best decision, to make the best selection, you’ve got to be aware of all your options and to be aware of all your options, you need to slow yourself down into what I call conscious decision making. 

That leads me to my next point.  When you think about decisions, the selection of options, I believe there are two types. There are disciplines, and then there are habits. And the way I like to describe this is that disciplines require manual effort, meaning you have to think about it. Whereas habits are just decisions that are made automatically. And you know, the things that I’ve read is that by the time you’re about 35, about 95% of your thoughts, feelings and actions, ultimately, your decisions happen below your level of consciousness. They happen at the level of what’s called your programming, which is like the software of a human being. What I want to teach you is a very simple skill, to bring this process into your awareness because awareness creates choice. Ultimately look at your options and make the right decision and make the right selection. If you’re like me, when I grew up, my parents’ car  didn’t even have a CD player.  It was a radio and radios back then had channels and stations.  Stations are like 99.7 or 105.3.   And then channels are AM and FM, right. So this is the decision making tool that I really want you to take and use. It’s wonderful if you’ll get yourself to use it. But there are two versions of you: the already me, which is the AM, and the future me, which is the FM.  To get good at decision making is to analyze your choices and make the right selection. I think it boils down to making yourself aware of which channel you should tune into. 

I’ll never forget it was probably three or four months ago. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my family and we were playing Apples to Apples, which is an amazing game, if you’ve never played it. And everybody was into it and everybody was having fun except for me. Because all I could think about was an email that I had told someone I would send and I forgot.  It was just sitting there like ruminating through my head.  So I was physically present but mentally hijacked.  And see at that moment, which channel do I need to tune into?  The already me.  See, there was magic unfolding in front of me.  Playing games at our house is like one of the best things that we do. It’s something that we all enjoy, we all engage in. And quite frankly, I wasn’t going to stop what we were doing to go send an email, there’s nothing I could do about it at that point. So that’s when we turn into “already me”.  We need to be present to the magic that’s unfolding in front of us. There are other times like if I go back to that, that analogy or that story about the menu at Lawrence beer company across the street, there are times that maybe I need to tune the future me.  I don’t know about you, I’ve never woken up in the morning and gone and looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “Gosh, I’m so glad I ate that cheeseburger and fries last night like that just so completed me I feel so good.”  That’s never happened. I’ve never been grateful the next day for a piece of cheesecake. There’s all kinds of things right, that we wake up in the morning and we regret. And that’s the time to tune into the future me.  If you’re sitting there looking at the menu and you’ve got all these options float forward into the future me and think about what is the decision that the future me will thank me for?  See, that’s the channel that you want to tune into, is the FM, the future me. 

I hope that you will get this and again, as I mentioned disciplines and habits we need to raise your decision making.  First, what are my options and then what am I going to select into your consciousness.  We need to raise it into your awareness. Awareness creates choice. And once we’ve done that, then which channel are we going to tune into? The already me, do I need to be present?  Or the future me?  What’s the decision, the selection, that the future me would make before? 

I trust that you’ll use this. I trust that this is helpful. I hope that you’ll share a story with me on how you ultimately use this but check it out. I think it will work for you.