Deciding Once

As Seth Godin tells us, “Disneyworld is stressful”. Decisions require energy, so if we want to conserve energy for that which matters, we should try to minimize the number of decisions we have to make.

A lot of people say this. Many are familiar with Steve Jobs’s clothing. It’s obvious that Magnus Carlsen and Warren Buffet are good at evaluating choices then committing to decisions; they invest most of their life energy in a few significant, meaningful decisions made on the job.

But how can we do this in our daily lives? After learning about the magic of fewer decisions, why is it still so challenging?

There are two intertwined steps to deciding once. The first is prioritizing which decisions are truly important. In addition to cultural standards (marriage, college, career), we may have personal goals like blogging or exercising daily.

The second step is committing to the decisions we make. Following through and executing the daily ritual, acting out our values. To set ourselves up for success here, we had to understand what was and will be most important to us (yesterday, tomorrow, and 10 years from now).

Both of these steps are difficult in the tumult of the real world. Of an ever-shifting economic, sociopolitical, and personal landscape. We age, we change, and the world changes around us. It’s really hard to predict the future, and that’s what we have to do every time we make a choice.

Experience improves our decision-making abilities. We decide something, it turns out horribly, hurts us, then we course-correct. Books and stories can help too, but we won’t gain as much without personal time, effort, learning, and real investment.

Deciding once takes seconds. But getting to that point takes a lifetime.

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