Mari Williams: How to Make Better Decisions
Mari Williams: How to Make Better Decisions
Leadership Specialist, Podcaster & Author Mari Williams asks the question many of us may be thinking following the pandemic’s forced reset on our lives and asks – How Do I Make Better Decisions?
You make around 36,000 decisions every day… but mostly without realizing.
If you think about the fact that any one of those decisions could change the whole course of your life… it could become quite terrifying. Deciding to go to that seminar might inspire you to start your own business; deciding to have a hot chocolate again (again…) could lead to you having a heart attack in 50 years’ time; deciding to pop to the shop whilst you’re passing could lead to you meeting the love of your life. Who knows where deciding to read this article might eventually lead you?
So here’s a question… how often do you think you actually stop to make a conscious decision?
Probably only about five to ten percent of decisions are consciously made – and I’d argue that ten percent is probably a generous estimate for most of us! Our lives quite literally are our decisions, and yet we pay almost no attention to them, because they are decisions made unconsciously. We are 95% run by our unconscious minds.
Now, that in itself is a good thing. Our unconscious minds can make decisions at warp speed – we’d never be able to make all of those decisions consciously. But if someone’s unconscious mind isn’t working as well as it should be… there might be problems. It’s something that can and does happen. Sometimes it’s down to a wobbly childhood; sometimes it’s later traumas that are to blame. Sometimes a big decision someone makes goes wrong, and they decide they are simply un-trustable.
If you struggle with decisions, don’t put yourself into a tailspin. Spending more time worrying and delaying decisions isn’t the way to go. Just make sure your unconscious is on your side – feeling good, and up to the job – and then you can leave it to get on with making decisions on your behalf without worrying too much. Just check in for the really big important decisions when you have to.
So… how do you do that?
Firstly, you have to find out whether your unconscious is working well for you. Ask yourself these three questions:
- Do you feel that you make good decisions, the results of which make you happy?
- Are you happy with where you are in life? In your job, home, family life? Are you moving towards your dreams?
- Are you happy with every aspect of yourself? Are your behaviours and beliefs moving you forwards, rather than holding you back?
If the answer to any of those three is no… somewhere, you’ve an issue you ought to address.
Our unconscious minds want to protect us, and so create behaviours and beliefs in us that they ‘think’ will be of benefit to our safety – which in turn affect our decisions. So, although you may think you have thought a decision through pretty well, or it ‘feels right’… it may be that your decision was based on a negative process your unconscious was running. When your unconscious is working poorly, what ‘feels right’ is often wrong.
Let’s use an example:
Imagine a professional person, rising up the career ladder, who then puts their career on hold to have children. They enjoy having the kids, and love their time at home; however, there comes a time when they want to return to work. But they notice they aren’t as confident as they used to be; they see roles they should apply for, but find themselves applying for jobs lower down the scale. They tell themselves they fear they may have forgotten how to be a professional, and don’t want to look silly. They tell themselves they feel like their brain might not work as well as it used to… and any number of other excuses.
Why would they suddenly know less than they used to, or be less capable?
It may be they’ve always been slightly lacking in confidence, or always had a bit of Imposter Syndrome ticking away in the background – things they always ‘managed’. But now they’ve had a break from their straight career path, getting back on and ‘managing’ those issues again feels huge and scary. Their unconscious might be protecting them – but it’s not doing them any favours. It’s holding them back, rather than helping them to move forwards. I’ve experienced that feeling myself, so I know how debilitating it can be – and I know that unchecked, an over-protective unconscious can totally derail a career, or a life.
So what can you do?
I’d recommend seeing a professional therapist about clearing that unconscious baggage. Your lightened unconscious will naturally smarten up its attitudes, and give you cleaner decisions.
If you aren’t ready for that step, then simply pause for each decision and double check with yourself. Start small. Practice with decisions like whether to have tea or coffee (or hot chocolate…), and build up to bigger decisions. Decision-making is a skill – it can be learned.
There’s a simple decision-making formula in my book – that will help you, too.
Achieving your dreams isn’t nearly as many decisions away as you might think – especially if your unconscious is making the right ones!
**Did you find Mari’s guide on how to make better decisions useful? Has it got you thinking? Check out her guide on how to take back control of your life here, and read more from The Mind Architect in her book, now available to order here.**