How Successful People Consistently Make Great Decisions
“Know that it’s your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.”
– Tony Robbins
When my dad first laid eyes on my mom, he decided in that moment, that she was to become his wife. This despite the fact that she was already promised to someone else, and that she lived in a different country, and her parents, rather than seeing them married, would sooner ship her off to a nunnery.
But she was what he wanted. That was the singular decision that drove his actions until he achieved what he set out to do. Winning over her parents and winning her hand in marriage.
I brought up my parents’ courtship because this being the week of Valentine’s Day, couples will want to take their relationship up a notch. That requires a decision. A decision to build a deeper connection.
And singletons will debate whether to continue looking upon their object of affection safely from afar or risk everything to gain what could become their EVERY thing. This requires a decision.
Our decisions drive all our actions. Some people are deliberate and purposeful about making them. Others make them almost unconsciously, carelessly or haphazardly. I once belong to this latter group until the results of some of my decisions led to painful consequences. What I learned is that rarely do successful people make decisions this way.
Tony Robbins himself, one of the most successful people in the world, and who made it his mission to study successful people and their formula for success, devoted a generous portion of his book to decision making.
The key things I distilled from Robbins’ book, Awaken the Giant Within, is that in order to achieve greater results, you must be aware that decision making involves some guiding principles, value alignment and a reverence of its power:
“The minute you make a new decision, you set in motion a new cause, effect, direction and destination for your life. You literally begin to change your life the moment you make a new decision.”
Let’s say you agree with Robbins, and you believe his statement to be true. Given its power and the enormity of its consequence, most people would be afraid to make the “wrong” decision.
How would you get over this fear?
Below are real life examples from my dad, a military leader, along with the guiding principles I extracted from Robbins’ book. I hope it will help you follow through on each of your decisions and achieve the level of success you intended.
Take immediate action
My dad was not one who sat on anything. Once he made up his mind about what he wanted, he immediately went after it. The sense of urgency leaves little room for overanalyzing and backing out of his commitment.
Robbins: “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
Commit fully and pursue with single-mindedness
Often people make decisions while still on the fence or with their fingers crossed. You need to be all in because without the full commitment, your emotions and circumstances will carry more sway when things get tough.
Robbins: “The hardest step in achieving anything is making a true commitment – a true decision.”
Have a clear value alignment
As I earlier mentioned, I used to make decisions impulsively and haphazardly, and then changed my mind quickly. According to Robbins, this is not what successful people do.
They make deliberate and purposeful decisions, and once the decision is made, they rarely change their minds. They strive to make the most intelligent decision possible but they don’t take forever to get there. And the reason for this is:
Robbins: “The most successful people make decisions rapidly because they are clear on their values and what they really want for their lives.”
Look upon each decision merely as a springboard
I wonder how much more we would dare and risk if we develop the experimentation mindset of Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Robbins also emphasized the value of an experiment mindset in his book: “If you didn’t get the results you wanted, learn from this experience so that you have references about how to make better decisions in the future.”
The value of what might be label as a “bad decision” is that it acts as a springboard.
Perhaps we would be better served if we don’t label our decisions as bad or good or our results as failures or successes. If you don’t like the results, the thing to do is:
Change your approach.
Change your approach until you achieve what you want using whatever life gives you along the way.
Put yourself in the driver’s seat
When making decisions, you have to have a certain level of confidence and accountability. In courting my mother, my dad knew the odds were stacked up against him yet he also knew he has the power to change the odds in his favor.
Successful people never believe that their lives are driven by circumstances nor is it the fault in their stars.
Robbins: “Know that it’s your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.”
Whether it be relationships, career or some other grand adventure, they take shape the moment you decide.
For more on decision making, please read “How to Make Smart Decisions Under Pressure” by clicking here.
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