Making Decisions

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Kevin Mahoney 10 months, 1 week ago.

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    Kevin Mahoney

    This past weekend I attended my grad school graduation in Vermont. While I finished my degree this past October, I had the opportunity to mark the occasion with the graduation ceremony. Graduations are a great time to reflect and celebrate one of life’s major accomplishments. While graduations are moments that call for reflection and celebration, they are quickly followed by the need to make decisions about the next stage of life. If employed, we need to decide if we are on the right career track or if a different one is better. If unemployed, we need to decide which vocation will best fit our talents and personality.

    As I pondered the decision-making process, I came across an article by Peter Bregman (2015) entitled “3 Timeless Rules for Making Decisions”. The first two rules presented by Bregman were helpful for most decisions. First, he recommends establishing decision habits to reduce “decision fatigue”. For example, always go the same restaurant on Fridays for lunch. You will not waste time or energy formulating a decision. It is predetermined. The second rule involves using an if/then routine to deal with foreseeable, but out of the ordinary decisions. For example, if my employer decides to relocate me to another city then I will take the job I have just been offered by a competitor.

    The final rule Bregman presents is helpful for the decisions that have been explored, researched, and pondered at length. Simply, “use a timer”. For the mid-career person, unsure if they should stay or leave their company, set a decision date. For example, by June 1st I will choose option X or option Y. For the recent college grad with multiple job offers, you may state “by next Friday I will decide between my top two choices”. Setting a timeframe forces us to do what many people dread. Make a decision. For most of us, the energy that comes from having actually made an important decision allows us to enter the next stage of life with optimism and clarity.

    Are there any habits that you use to help the decision-making process?

    Bregman, P. November 2, 2015. 3 Timeless Rules for Making Tough Decisions. Retrieved from



    Recently I use the Descartes Square. A square is an extremely simple technique for making decisions, which requires very little time for its use. It consists of four questions: what will happen if it happens; what will happen if it doesn't happen; what will not happen if it happens and what will not happen if it doesn't happen. Answers to these questions will serve to motivate you to make a decision. It should be noted that it is necessary to give as many answers to each question as possible since this will allow us to consider the maximum number of features of the problem. And it's necessary to write down your answers. There are other techniques of decision making, about which I write on my website. Among other things, there is a lot of useful practical information on other topics, as well as you can consult with a specialist to do your homework or assignment. I hope you will be interested.



    both good concepts


    Kevin Mahoney


    Thanks for introducing the idea of the Descartes Square. It is new to me. I like the simplicity of the square system.  I am glad you mentioned it.

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