Not making a decision is a decision. There hundreds if not thousands of decisions to be made everyday, starting with should I ignore the alarm clock?
Good decision-making is a skill that comes easily to some people, not so easily to others. Choices can be confusing. Choices can make you anxious. They can cost you peace of mind, even after you’ve made the decision. Have you ever spent hours in your head trying to “undo” the choice you made?
The skill of good decision-making has become increasingly important in this day and age. So much information is decimated at a rapid rate today by way of the internet and social media that it can add to the confusion. Good decision making is needed to determine the validity of what is being thrown at us also. Because we have an abundance of choices, both with the simple things in life and the serious things in life make a choice with a clear mind is difficult enough. Add low blood sugar, illness, or medication to the mix and the decision making process slows or stops which could add frustration. Frustration can bring us into a downward spiral of confusion which can make the decision making process come to a halt.
For those who are considered to be Bipolar, “decision making” is more difficult to say the least. Part of the struggle with making decisions is related to how far you have come with accepting your diagnosis and whether you are “stable or unstable” at the time of making a decision. Those who are not stable will generally have all sorts of struggles with things such as decision making.
When bipolar symptoms flare up you can struggle with either depression or mania and “judgment” is usually quite impaired. Thought processes are generally speeded up when mania is present and slowed down during depressive episodes. When this occurs there is an imbalance and decisions tend to be “all over the place”. Not only is poor judgment experienced but there is a struggle with focusing. Poor focus can lead to impulsive actions. As one can imagine this really impacts the ability to think clearly and make a good decision.
Moods can affect the decision making process also. Good moods can have you doing the correct steps to make good decisions. If you’re on a high or manic thoughts are so fast that in reality you’re really not thinking everything through and decisions could be impulsive.
On the contrary when you in depressive state thoughts are slowed and are generally quite negative. So again the thought process is not at a level of stability thus making poor decisions could be made as you’re not capable of thinking things through as much as you should.
There are times when good counsel of friends or professionals are needed. They can advise, but at some point decisions need to be made.
Decision making skills can be developed with practice. As decision making skills are practiced confidence will build to make more and bigger decisions.
If you are in a position to make decisions for others then you should have already developed the skill of decision making as someone’s life could depend upon it.
Effective leaders have refined their decision making skills almost to a fine art. Effective leaders know how to assemble teams of people who have also refined their decision making skills to accomplish certain goals. Effective leaders don’t assemble ‘yes men’ for an appearance of a team.
In any group there will be a leader. The best leaders will not only have refined decision making skills they will also have learned to bring people together to accomplish goals. The best leaders not only know how to lead, they also know how to follow. It is true, no man is an island.
When you have the opportunity to help select a leader look at what they have accomplished. Take a close look at who they count as their associates. If they have adult children watch to see the values that were instilled in them. The leader you select should reflect refined decision making skills that best reflect your values.
Decide to make a decision, your life and the lives of others are affected.
Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and the Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) www.narrowpathministries.org and www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org