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Decisions, Decisions!!!

Aug 06, 2021

Umm Muhammed Umar

While people often find it hard to make decisions, unfortunately we are forced to make decisions all the time. We all have to decide on trivial issues, such as what to prepare for lunch, or whether it’s a major decision like where to study, or even who to marry. Some people put off decisions by endlessly searching for more information, or getting other people to offer their recommendations. Some have resorted to decision making by taking a vote, or tossing a coin. NLP life coach Shafia Katkodia shared some insights on decision making with Radio Islam.

Katkodia says decision making is all about making choices, whether the choices are impulsive or well thought about and informed choices. The simple choices could be our everyday choices such as where to buy groceries to what to wear. The informed choices could be, for example, about insurance policies, marriage, work, education, etc. Decision making is a process. It is about identifying a decision, gathering information and also considering alternative outcomes.

Some people are able to decide easily, but others seem to have difficulty making decisions regarding even the mundane: What should I wear, what should I cook. They seem to mull over it endlessly.

Katkodia says decision making is an important life skill, which assists in problem solving, as it is choosing between possible solutions to a problem. She said, “And the reason some people are able to do it better is because they plan ahead, or they know exactly what they are looking for in the outcome.” She said, “they use their intuition and reasoning process, which makes it a little bit easier when they make certain decisions.” The type of personality one has and one’s circumstances makes a huge impact on what decisions one makes. When a decision is made, it has an impact on the outcome, whether they have been made rationally, or irrationally. Decisions have a direct impact on our future.

There must be a balance between intuition and reasoning. Sometimes people overplay the reasoning angle, wanting more and more information, and more consideration. On the other extreme, there are those who rely solely on their gut feeling, and decisions extremely quickly. Katkodia says that intuition is largely based on our previous experiences, and personal values. She says its more than a feeling, as it reflects our learnings from life. However, it differs from person to person. She says intuition also gives us comfort and confidence in some of our decisions. Katkodia said, “Reasoning is about checking facts. It is about using facts and figures in effective decision making.” Both intuition and reasoning are very important in decision making.

There are several factors that prevent effective decision making, depending on whether the decision that has to made involves our personal life, professional life and so on. Some simple factors that affect our decision making are:

  • There are too many choices or alternatives. This can cloud our judgment at the time of decision making.
  • Too little or too much information.
  • Uncertainty about the outcome. Sometimes consequences can be quite risky, especially if a person is going in for surgery, for example. When they know that the surgery can really relieve a person from certain problems, but the risk could be overwhelming, and that can bring in fear, and that can interfere in in decision making.
  • Too many people feeding different views, and with vested interests.
  • The complexity of the decision where lots of areas need to be investigated.
  • Emotional attachments, cultural or religious.
  • A ‘NOkay’ attitude, where a person is not concerned about the possible outcome at all.

Katkodia says that we humans love our comfort zones, and generally prefer familiar discomfort, rather than unfamiliar comfort. She says it’s easier not to change. Status quo is one type of cognitive bias, which involves people preferring things remain as they are in the current state of affairs, rather than do something about changing it because it’s less comfortable, and the outcome is uncertain. Katkodia said,” it’s a very conservative mindset. It impacts the outcome, and even opportunities that comes with decision making.” Katkodia warns that while one might fear the risk associated with change, preferring to remain in one’s comfort zone can cause one to miss out on potential benefits that might even outweigh the risks.

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