Sunday, February 27, 2011


To decide is perhaps one of the toughest challenges we face on a regular basis. It could be as simple as making up our mind as to what to order in a restaurant or it could be making a life altering decision like choosing a spouse or planning the next career move. The whole process of taking that plunge to DECIDE can be simply expressed to imply that we  Do Express Clearly Ideal Definite Edict.

However, as most people will testify, decision making is perhaps one of the toughest challenges that an individual faces. When we attempt to analyze why we find it tough to DECIDE, we realize that there are broadly 3 reasons for our inability to commit to a course of action. 

The first problem is information processing and our inability to completely absorb the data. In the past there was lack of credible and timely information. Today the problem is information overload, which effectively confuses and paralyzes us when we attempt to demystify it. While we could have models to process quantitative data, we have to use judgment, gut feeling and instinct to get a grip on qualitative data. In both cases the ultimate decision making is made by an individual. Even if programs are automated to trigger decisions, the logic and the parameters are by and large specified by individuals. 

The second problem is our personal craving and inability to give up something. Every decision is ultimately a choice and that implies that there is an alternative. Far too often we are unwilling to completely let go of the alternative and so we end up vacillating between the choices on hand. We run the risk of trying to compromise between the alternatives and trying to get the best of all alternatives. It won’t be long before one realizes that a compromise always has a downside which sooner than later outlines that the compromise decision was faulty.

The third problem is the fear of making that commitment which if wrong can make us rue it for a long time. It takes a lot of guts and daring to actually commit to a line of action. Once the die is cast there is no turning back and this means that one has to live with the consequences. It is the fear of failure that overshadows the possibility of success and glory and the weak hearted prefer to remain indecisive. Ironically not taking a decision too is a decision albeit it being a forced decision.

When one has to DECIDE the key is to try and have a time frame, gather as much data as possible and analyze it and then after weighing the pros and cons and the perceived outcome make up one’s mind and then Do Express Clearly Ideal Definite Edict 

Action Point

  1. You hear rumors that a very close friend of yours has been involved in some undesirable activities. You are also aware that your friend is a very sensitive person and would easily take offense to insinuations. You want to quash the rumors or ensure that your friend is cautioned so that he does not get into serious trouble. You are disturbed and are keen to know the truth. How will you decide what to do next and what will your next course of action be?
  2. If you had a Rs.1,00,000 and had to allocate the resource amongst the following needs how and what will your decisions be:
  • Your mother wants a sum of Rs.50,000 for some major repairs to her house
  • Your sibling wants Rs.50,000  to complete his education
  • You have to invest an equivalent amount in a tax saving scheme in order to save 40% tax
  • Your spouse / best friend wants Rs.50,000 for an urgent surgery of a family member.
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