This week I’ve been faced with a hugely important decision that will almost certainly impact the course of the rest of my life. I don’t want to say too much about it yet – I want to see what happens first – but you’ll all find out soon, I promise.
I spent a lot of time making this decision. I was on back and forth phone calls, with my friends in the living room and at my desk in front of a piece of paper. I have a system I use when it comes to making my decisions, and it really helps me approach them in a structured way and takes a lot of the stress out of the whole process, so I thought I’d share it with you guys, in case you find it useful! 😁
Of course, it’s not a perfect system, and I openly welcome any suggestions on how to improve it!
Start With Why ❓
The first thing to do is to recognise why you’re making the decision you’re making in the first place. What are your motivations to do this ‘thing’? How will this decision potentially change your life for the better? Write this all down. I find that just the act of making a note of my ‘why’ helps me put things into context when completing the next few steps of the process.
Blow Up The Earth 🧨🌍
Think through your worst case scenarios. What’s the most awful outcome of you doing the ‘thing’? Be as extreme as you think is reasonable. Come up with three truly terrible things that might happen if you decide to do the ‘thing’. If you genuinely think it’ll cause an extinction-level event, so be it. Think of the approximate percentage chance of each of these three things occurring.
Then, write it all down.
Think through these events and the chance that they would happen. If you think the potential rewards of your decision outweigh the risks you’ve just inscribed into the page, continue with the process. If you don’t, then the decision has just been made for you.
Hit The Books 📚
The next step is all about research, but you want to make sure you’re going about it in the right way. First, grab something you can write on. This could be a piece of paper, a whiteboard or your friend’s five-head – it doesn’t matter. Create two columns down the length of your paper/whiteboard/(willing) participant. One of these columns is for all the reasons why you should do the ‘thing’, and the other is for reasons why you shouldn’t.
Try to think of at least eight reasons to put in each column. If you can’t, you’re not trying hard enough. Now, number each reason, and on a separate piece of paper/whiteboard/lion pelt, write counter arguments for each reason. Both the reasons for, and the reasons against.
This is where the research comes in. For example, if you’re making the decision whether or not to move to a new city, one of your reasons for moving might be the availability of more jobs. A counter argument for this might be that there’ll also be more competition for jobs. Have a look at the statistics for the number of jobs available in your industry in both cities, and compare to the population. It might be that, when you look at the proportion of jobs available to job seekers, where you currently live gives you better chances.
My research at this stage normally involves also speaking to people outside of the decision. They can usually help me come up with more or better arguments or counter arguments than I can come up with on my own. If you can’t come up with a counter argument for one of your points, that’s fine. It’ll help nudge you in the right direction.
Now, carefully think through everything you’ve done up to this point. More than likely, you’ll have the decision made in your mind. It’s just a case of gathering the courage to actually stand by it. The best thing to do is tell at least one other person about your decision. That way they can hold you accountable, and you’ll also want to make sure you haven’t lied to them.
Now that you’ve (hopefully) made your decision, go and make a plan on how you’re going to proceed with your life. This is important whether you decided to do the ‘thing’ or not. If you decided not to, you still need to plan, because you need to change or improve the circumstances that led you to making this decision in the first place. Take a good long look at your ‘why’, and figure out what you need to do to change things.
But, there is still the possibility you’re as yet undecided and remain sat on the fence. In that case, there’s one last thing to try.
Flip A Coin 🪙
Yes, seriously. This step isn’t about letting the coin decide your fate, though. Assign doing the ‘thing’ to heads, and not doing the ‘thing’ to tails.
Now flip it.
Pay attention to how you feel when the coin lands. If the coin is telling you to do the ‘thing’, and you’re relieved/happy about that, you should clearly already be doing the ‘thing’. If you’re disappointed/regretful about the coin’s instruction, do the opposite. Simple.
But That’s Just Me 🤷♂️
Your mileage with this system may vary, and if you have your own systems, I’d love to hear about them! My inbox is always open, just drop a message to email@example.com 😊
🔍 Discovery of the Week
This week’s Discovery has to be Goodreads. It’s a service I literally found out about today, but boy do I love it. I’m starting to consume a lot more books, either aurally or visually, and Goodreads is a fantastic place to keep track of that and find more books that I’d enjoy.
📚 Book – Anything You Want by Derek Sivers. This book has very quickly become my favourite business book. It’s very short, and after I finished listening to it on Audible (which took about 50 minutes at 1.85x speed), I immediately bought a physical copy to keep for inspiration. In fact, I’ve already lent it out to a friend. The book recounts the lessons learned by Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, and has some really clear insight into the decisions he made, why he made them, and his overall philosophy. It’s fantastic. Highly recommend.
💻 Tech – Viltrox RB08 portable camera light. I bought this thing months ago, but now that I’ve started producing video content again, both for YouTube and TikTok, it’s made an appearance. It’s super powerful, super portable and has a wide variety of settings.
👨🏫 Educational Video – The metres-high mountain of mannequins in the Midlands by Tom Scott. I always enjoy Tom’s videos anyway, but what stood out to me about this one was not Tom’s telling of the story or the quality of the video. It was the story behind Mannakin. It just shows that literally any idea can be a business idea, no matter how crazy it may seem.