Blog by Anna James

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Oh, how I do wish this was a course at University! Like it or not – decisions are everywhere.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Chocolate or vanilla?

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Window or aisle?

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Coffee or tea?

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Degree or career?

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Travel or work?

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Decisions – no matter how simple – have forever plagued me. As a child, I could never choose between the yellow or the pink soft toy. As a teenager it was this cellphone or that one? Through University years it was this major or that major? Master’s degree or job? Generally, my unintentional way of making these decisions is to, in fact, not make them at all. I sit and squirm over a decision for days, weeks, months…until it comes to such a point where I leave it so long that time has made the decision for me. ‘Oh, I missed the deadline for Masters enrolments now? I guess it’s a job then…’

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Advice given to me has essentially been nothing short of what I already know – make pro and con lists, weigh up your options, etc. I know many people have success with this approach. My logic after attempting a pros and cons list? ‘Well, I don’t have as many pros for this decision as that one, so I’ll just have to create some more so that I have an equal number on each side – because there is no clear and obvious decision here so one can’t possibly have more pros than the other. I grapple with myself until eventually I usually begrudgingly get to the eenie meenie stage. And even then, the decision is made and I think ‘Oh dear. Did I make the right decision?’ Then I worry about that until either the decision actually turns out to have been the right one – or the next big decision comes along.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Sounds like a great way to live, doesn’t it?

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]I consistently blame my dad for this poor decision-making gene, as he is exactly the same.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]The only fortunate position I am in now, is that I have had to make a fair few beg decisions in recent years, and as such I have become very self-aware of this irritating flaw. If I am ever afflicted with a big decision now, I try and live by the following things that I have taught myself over the years;

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]1) If it is a decision to be made and there is a long time frame – give yourself a deadline of no more than a week.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]2) DON’T stew on it.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]3) Talk it through with people who have either had to make the same or a similar decision before. They are older and therefore (in most cases!) wiser

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]4) Make a decision as quickly as possible – and stick with it. Accept the job. Apply for Masters. Once the decision is made, don’t re-neg on it because otherwise it will go around and around.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]5) Do NOT ask other people to make the decision for you. It is just making a back-up plan so there is someone else to blame if the decision turns out to be the wrong one.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]6) In a lot of cases – there actually isn’t a wrong decision. Because we don’t live in a parallel universe. Okay so if I take this job over the other and it turns out to be not so great – who is saying that if I took the other job it would have been any better?

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]7) If you don’t have the knowledge at the time – don’t blame yourself if you aren’t happy with the decision later on. There’s no way you could’ve known you wouldn’t like it, so don’t even visit that train of thought.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]When I was deciding on whether to pursue an Honours degree or a Postgraduate Diploma, my dad gave me some advice which (although not exactly encouraging at the time) I now realize made a lot of sense. He said; ‘this decision only seems huge because you’ve never had to make any decision bigger than this before.’ While initially my response was ‘well, great dad, that’s really helpful, thanks’, I can completely see the logic. It didn’t really matter, but it just seemed to because I’d never had to decide anything that big before – it truly seemed like the be all and end all.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]So if, like me, you tend to struggle with big decisions – you’ve got my tips from above. I know that as the years pass, the decisions I have to make will only get bigger – so I have decided to master the process now.

[dt_gap height=”10″ /]…And it only took me 23 years to come to that decision!

[dt_gap height=”10″ /](Oh…and by the way, vanilla or chocolate should never be a hard decision. Chocolate is clearly superior!)