How to break down a big decision
𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐛𝐢𝐠 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥-𝐢𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮’𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐟𝐥𝐢𝐱 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥. 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐢𝐭?
There are two ways:
𝐋𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫: Think of all funny premises, write all your jokes, practise before the mirror, re-write and re-practise, go out and shoot your special hoping the set works out.
𝐈𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞: Scribble down your joke-lets, go to clubs and try them out before live audiences, get instant feedback, chuck out the ones that fail, refine what could work better, and redo the steps until you’re confident of every joke. Then put everything together into a set.
We’re more used to linear. 𝐆𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧-𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞–𝐫𝐮𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐬𝐢𝐦𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐞𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧.
The trick when considering a consequential-irreversible decision is to ask: 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐦𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐢𝐠 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧?
By breaking down a decision what we do is understand the key variables, manage our risks, and position ourselves to be flexible.
Typical big decisions pertain to career, finances, or relationships. Let’s imagine you’re trying to decide which career to pursue. The smaller questions could be: Do I want to commit to a job? Or, do I want to go to school and upskill first? If I want work experience, what is the ideal profile of companies I should look at? Then, can I do an internship with any? And so on.
𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥-𝐢𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞, 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝐛𝐢𝐠 𝐨𝐧𝐞–𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥-𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧. Breaking it down will teach you something to apply later and will clear the decks for the big ones coming your way in the future.
𝐓𝐢𝐩 1: A good way to find out if you’re working on the right things is to take any specific question occupying your mind and see if it links back to the big decision you’ve identified. If it doesn’t, take a close look at your calendar and rearrange things to reflect your priorities.
𝐓𝐢𝐩 2: If you have no consequential decisions–highly unlikely–borrow one from the future. You will thank yourself for having done this.
If being able to differentiate between decisions is the first step, breaking down the biggest ones is the next. It gives you a bigger margin for error. So if you have a big decision to make, break it down.
I hope this post got you thinking about how to approach that big decision in your life. I’ll leave you with this question to think about: How can I break down that consequential-irreversible decision I’m considering?