Proactive Decision-making

Often decisions are a surprise.  They pop up spontaneously like a fork in the road, seemingly out of nowhere.  They usually have a deadline that leaves one scrambling to meet it.  You have to quickly find a friend who knows something about this topic (like Google), get input and take the plunge.  There’s always  a nagging feeling that some important factors were overlooked.

When you understand that life, business or engineering decisions follow a pattern, continuing as a “reactive” decision-maker is foolish.  Although it may take a while to discern these patterns, when a decision “pops up”,  a  pattern can be matched and the decisions that I will be face can be anticipated.  You can be “proactive” when attacking these decisions.  This gives plenty of time to gather the appropriate information (which also follows a pattern) and produces both better decisions and greater peace of mind along the way.  Even when events beyond our control throw us into a new situation (e.g. a major illness diagnosed),  checking the pattern can help to quickly respond to the new circumstances.

There is great power in proactive decision-making.  Like any other new  habit, you’ll have to apply a little effort until it becomes second nature.  You just need to decide to start your journey toward becoming a proactive decision-maker.

(Originally posted by John Fitch, January 29, 2008)

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