How do you make important decisions in your life ?

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Many people see decision making as some sort of analytical process that, if properly conducted, ensures that it will lead to good results. They believe that if they think long and hard enough, they will achieve great results from their decisions.

Some of us then begin to look for a magic formula that will allow us to make better decisions. They do aptitude and personality tests hoping to come up with a magic number that will tell them, “You should be a butcher, a CIA operative or a circus clown,” How about “You shouldn’t marry this person,” or “You should add a little more cheese to your poutine.

If that was the way to go about it, don’t you think we would have figured it all out by now?

When we look back through history, we can see that many well-known personalities have developed ways of doing things that are just as unique to them. For example, Charles Darwin would often pause in his scientific thoughts and start writing down the pros and cons of a situation in his notebook. Ben Franklin would list all the major elements that influenced his decision, assign each element a number from 1 to 10 according to its importance and evaluate the probability of each element by attributing a number from 1 to 10, then multiply the importance rating by the probability rating and start thinking.

Like productivity [1], I think that decision making is deeply personal. It’s about assessing what is valuable to you. There is no better job, no better car, no better life to live: “Value is in the eyes of the decision-maker.”

The truth is that no matter how hard we try, we still can’t take a better decision, even if we are told what to do, simply because it forces us to delve into our values and then reconcile our emotional needs with our material needs.

So, instead of desperately looking for a sort of magic algorithm that will tell you what to do, think about these 4 principles that will help you take good decisions in your life.

1. Don’t fall for it

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