Good Decisions or Quick Decisions? Why Not Both?

The quality of your life is a function of the quality of your decisions. Consistently making good decisions results in a pretty good life! By the same token, poor decisions leave us wishing we’d made better decisions.

It’s important to make decisions as quickly as possible, too. In most cases, taking longer than necessary to make up your mind leads to confusion and wasted time.

So, for your best results, your goal is to make good decisions quickly.

Try these tips for making wise decisions in the shortest amount of time:

1. Know your values. If you’re struggling to make a decision, there’s an excellent chance that you’re not clear about what’s important to you. If you’re torn between several options, think about your values and let your decision support them.

2. Give yourself a gut check. Some choices simply feel better than others. It can be helpful to take a few moments and find a quiet place where you can be alone. Think about your choices and see what your body is telling you.

* That uncomfortable, queasy feeling that we’ve all experienced is a sign that you’re probably not on the right track.

* Your gut can be a better tool than you might think. You’ve made many decisions over the course of your life. Some of them better than others. Your subconscious has gained a lot of experience over the years. It will communicate with you, if you’ll listen.

3. Get the information you need. Avoid trying to make decisions until you have any information that is critical to analyzing your options. Find out what you need to know.

4. Try tallying. Benjamin Franklin was an advocate of making decisions with lists of pros and cons. He admitted to making all of his decisions in this fashion. So make a list and see what you discover. Simply by asking yourself the questions, “What’s good (or bad) about this?” will lead you to new perspectives.

5. Get practice with less important decisions. It might be a little nerve-wracking to make important decisions quickly, so practice with less important decisions. Practice will strengthen your decision-making skills.

* Decide what you’re going to have for lunch in ten seconds or less. Choose your clothes quickly.

6. Rely on chance. If you can’t decide between multiple options and have tried everything else, why not give chance a chance? Consider that if you can’t make up your mind, all the options are probably equally good or bad. Why waste any more time? Roll some dice or draw your options from a hat.

* Making a decision is almost always better than not deciding anything at all. If you can’t figure out what to do, do something.

7. Give yourself a time limit. All tasks tend to take up the full amount of time allocated to them. If you had a school paper due in 2 months, were you working on it right away or did you wait 7+ weeks? If you tell yourself you have a month to make up your mind, it will surely take a month. Decide how much time you actually need and set a deadline.

It’s important to be able to make wise decisions and stand by them. Good decisions can be made quickly. In most cases, taking an excessive amount of time to make a choice rarely results in a better decision.

If you’re clear about who you are, what’s important to you, and where you’re going, then making good decisions quickly isn’t only possible, it’s likely.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Take Back Control with this 6-Step Process

Oh, how trying the stresses of life can be! Having situations that affect your peace of mind can be challenging. And sometimes you feel like you’ve gotten way more than you can handle. Yet still, you find a way to keep going.

It’s great when you can find the determination to keep going. But are you doing so to your own detriment? Perhaps the way you’re responding isn’t always the best.

Coping mechanisms help to keep you in the game. But after a while, you may end up crashing. The most beneficial approach involves using well thought-out strategies to keep you in control.

Try this process to respond to an especially challenging situation:

1. Stop in your tracks. If you feel overwhelmed now, it’s likely to get even worse if you keep going the way you are now! Stop right where you are and accept the situation for what it is.

* Look back at what has happened up until this point in time. Can you identify the reasons behind your downfall? Make a note of them.

2. Embrace your shortcomings. Do you have shortcomings that prevented you from staying on top of things? Be honest with yourself when trying to identify them. It’s the only way you’ll be able to move on to resolving the situation.

* Whatever you’ve identified as your shortcomings, accept and embrace them. It’s pointless allowing them to bring your mood down. You’re already overwhelmed. The last thing you need to do is put yourself down.

3. Avoid excuses. Even though you feel overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is blame it on something or somebody else. Avoid overlooking yourself as the main factor behind your current situation.

* It’s easy in stressful situations to refuse accountability. Just the tension alone is enough to drive your mind in crazy directions. Just accept it for what it is, even if it means coming face to face with your shortcomings.

4. Open up to others. Share your feelings with someone you can confide in. Simply sharing can often help to ease some of the stress off your shoulders.

* Tell the whole story. Allow the person to understand your highs and lows. Let them see how your strengths got you this far. But also share what you think you could have done differently.

5. Organize an approach. Now that you’ve offloaded, you’ll have a clearer mind to organize an approach. You’ve stopped at this point for a reason. Now’s your chance to change direction and pull yourself out of this rut.

* Now that you’ve figured out what went wrong, try to tackle those things first. You’ll want to prevent those things from happening again.

6. Surround yourself with positive people. It’s sometimes difficult to take on challenges on your own. As much as you hate to admit it, there are others better at some things than you are! Embrace them and get the support you need to manage stressful situations.

* Use the strengths of trustworthy people to get you over the hump. Be clear about the role you want them to play. Handing over responsibility can be tough. But be mature enough to understand that it doesn’t take away from your own abilities.

Being in over your head isn’t a death sentence. In fact, it’s a perfect opportunity to be creative in your approach. Once you identify an effective approach, you can expect to handle situations more confidently.

Give yourself the chance to be in control. With positive strategies, you’ll be able to take matters into your own hands and turn them around in no time!

Feeling Blue at Work? Find Joy in Your Job With These Techniques

Despite what anyone tells you, it’s rare to love a job! Your work can come with its own challenges, even though it helps to sustain you throughout life. And sometimes those challenges seem to pull the joy out of you. But you can change all that!

You can get more joy out of your job and return to having a positive career. By making a conscious effort, you’ll soon start to view your job differently.

Try these strategies to find more joy at work:

1. Treat yourself for achieving goals. You probably find yourself dragging through day to day tasks. As they come up, you groan and unwillingly start to tackle them. But how different would it be if you start to treat yourself for completing tasks? Much different for sure!

* As you move through one task at a time, take a few moments of downtime for yourself. That may mean walking away from your desk or playing a few rounds of solitaire. Whatever it is, treat yourself to something you like.

* Bear in mind that it can become more of a crutch if it’s overdone. Be conscious enough to characterize tasks well. Answering a ringing phone isn’t a task!

2. Choose to be positive. Human beings are the only creatures with the power of choice. If you use that power to encourage positive thinking, your job can seem more bearable.

* Each morning, express thanks for waking up to a new day. Truly be grateful for that opportunity and recognize it as a blessing. Focus on that blessing throughout your day at work. It’s unlikely that you’ll take your job for granted.

* Each unpleasant task at work has some positive element to it. Consider the fact that each task you do gives you more work experience. Later on, you can use that experience to land the job of your dreams!

3. Focus on success. Just like many other things in life, time is best spent focusing on where you want to go. For everything you do at work, your aim is to complete it, and do it well. Try the approach of focusing on the successful end result instead of the journey.

* Consider how well your next evaluation is bound to look if you are successful in everything you do. The thought of positive recognition is enough to give you some amount of joy.

* Forget the fact that it’s not your dream job. Make it the job that you knocked out the park. Make it the stepping stone to a job more aligned with your professional desires.

4. Become a mentor. Sometimes experiencing work blues is worth it when you impart knowledge to someone else. Is there an intern at your office? Or do you know someone else in need of professional guidance? Why not become their mentor?

* Helping someone else succeed can bring you satisfaction. What you’re gaining through daily experience can make a positive change in someone else’s life. Knowing that is victory in itself!

It’s difficult to find scenarios that always work in your favor. A lot of times, you’re left doing the best with what you have. But that isn’t such a bad concept if you make an effort to find the joy in what you do.

Make today the day that you find joy in your job!

Discover How Being Unconventional Can Advance Your Career

Would you ever wear red sneakers to the office? A recent study found that dressing down can sometimes help people get ahead. It also raises larger questions about how conformity affects our wellbeing.

Harvard researchers conducted a number of experiments to see if violating the dress code could make people seem more prestigious. It worked. Students assumed that a consultant who wore red shoes while teaching a business seminar probably charged higher fees and had more upscale clients.

Keep in mind that this is only effective if people think you’re acting deliberately, and you’re in a setting like an Ivy League school that suggests you have significant clout.

On the other hand, conformity is an issue that comes up everywhere you go. Consider how being a little unconventional could bring you more happiness and success.

Being Unconventional in General

1. Think for yourself. To keep things running smoothly in the workplace or anywhere you interact with others, you may want to adapt your conduct but hold onto your beliefs. You can fill out lengthy forms for office supplies until others are ready to simplify the process.

2. Celebrate diversity. The disadvantages of conformity can be minimized by being inclusive and respectful of others. Wish the best for people even if they make different choices than you.

3. Take risks. Dare to innovate. Mistakes provide valuable learning opportunities. Be the first to try a new time management app or propose an unusual marketing approach.

4. Practice active listening. You can have more confidence in your decisions when you take the time to understand the people around you. Pay attention to their needs and expectations.

5. Try new things. Take a break from ordering the usual lunch special to try a new item on the menu. Ask the summer interns to make at least 3 recommendations on making the training process more effective.

6. Question assumptions. Studies show that most people tend to think they conform less than they really do. Evaluate your true motives.

7. Build support. As you advocate for changes, team up with like-minded people. Persuade others by showing them what they have to gain.

Being Unconventional in Specific Situations

1. Bend the dress code. Office wear evolves. Even if red sneakers are out of the question, you may find that black leather sports shoes are acceptable and comfortable.

2. Check facts. It’s common for people to doubt their own conclusions when others think differently. Research your position before you let yourself be swayed. You may confirm that you were correct. In any case, you’ll be better prepared for the next project.

3. Encourage children’s questions. Conformity is part of how we learn to speak and feed ourselves. On the other hand, give your children the opportunity to strengthen their own reasoning. They’ll be better equipped to deal with social pressures when they join the workforce.

4. Accept accountability. It’s easy to doubt how much impact individual actions will have on big issues. Take satisfaction in knowing that you’re doing your part to fulfill your company’s mission and make life better for your customers. It may inspire you to go beyond your job description.

5. Stand up for principles. Above all, be yourself at work as much as possible. You’ll enjoy greater peace of mind and find it easier to connect with your colleagues.

It may be okay to go along with the crowd as long as you’re true to your values. Listen to your authentic self and find the balance that works for you. You’ll increase your chances of developing a rewarding career and leading a more meaningful life.

Discover Greater Happiness by Forgiving Others

People can be cruel. They say and do the meanest, most damaging things. Having been a victim of unkind treatment, you’re probably reeling with anger. You feel like forgiveness is the least suitable response you can give.

Surprisingly, however, forgiveness is the quickest and most lasting way to get over the anger and hurt! But how can you just forgive someone who has hurt you so?

Achieve true forgiveness and gain peace with these approaches:

1. Confront the issue. It’s very easy to want to block negative situations out of your consciousness, but that approach may be causing more anger than you know!

* Take a hard look at the issue. Say aloud, “This happened to me.” Doing that may cause some of the feelings to resurface. But when you’re done crying, you’ll likely be free from tears going forward.

* What happened was a thing of the past. It happened, and you’re still here to tell the tale. Is it really worth affecting your peace of mind? It’s probably time to move on with your life!

2. Consider your involvement. Perhaps you didn’t consciously trigger a reaction from the other person. But there could very well be something that affected them. They just chose to address it in an unhealthy and unhelpful way!

* It’s really not about playing the blame game. One human being has no right to offend or hurt another. If you were offended, take a look in the mirror before deciding how to deal with it. You’ll likely recall scenarios where you may have wronged someone as well!

3. Wear the offender’s shoes. Consider how it must feel for the person who now realizes that they hurt you considerably. After the initial emotion passes, they start to feel regret for their actions.

* It’s always a good idea to try and switch roles. See it from their viewpoint. If you’re yearning for someone’s forgiveness, you’ll likely rejoice when you finally get it.

4. Consider the impact of anger on your life. When you hold on to the anger and resentment, it starts to eat away at you. Whether or not you know it, your happiness ends up being a fraction of what it could be. Anger negatively affects your quality of life!

* Do you find yourself being short-tempered with loved ones and friends? You may feel your reaction is justified. But if you think about it, you might see that you overreacted.

* Take some time to consider why you’re so angry or maybe sad. Grudges almost always bring and sustain negative emotions that can affect you long-term.

Once you try these approaches, you’ll experience the benefits of forgiving those who offended you. You’ll see how useless it is to allow the negative emotions of holding on to your hurts to drag down your quality of life. In fact, you’ll likely want to go back and forgive everyone who has ever hurt you!

Learn to freely forgive others and give your mind the rest it deserves for a peaceful, truly happy life.

Develop Mental Toughness Through Physical Fitness

Although different aspects of your being operate independently, they’re still connected. At some point, they come together to create the best being possible. That explains why your physical and mental states are co-related. Balance in one area is easily transferred to another.

Are you experiencing situations that put a strain on your mental processes? Do you feel stressed out and unable to make decisions? Mental toughness can be difficult to acquire, but it’s much easier if you focus on achieving physical fitness first.

By ensuring your body is strong, challenged, and fully tuned, you can encourage mental toughness and realize awesome physical achievements.

Try these strategies to strengthen both your mental and physical fitness:

1. Make your workouts uncomfortable. It’s important to challenge yourself. Instead of doing what you know you can, test your limits. Keep changing the game so you build determination.

* Develop an indomitable spirit by jogging outdoors during winter instead of on the treadmill. It’s easy and comfortable to use the treadmill. Running outside in cold climates tests your limits. It also allows you to feel confident in your abilities when you succeed.

* Fitness challenges help you transfer that confidence and determination to other parts of your life. Uncomfortable life situations can really take a toll. But you’ve already overcome fitness challenges. Now, you can use those victories to equip you with coping mechanisms for mentally challenging situations.

2. Participate in physical competitions. Competitions are usually intimidating, especially if you have a formidable opponent. But as you participate in more competitions, your self-esteem develops at the same time.

* Invite someone who is better at a challenge than you to a contest. Having that person as an opponent helps you readily identify your shortcomings and strengthen your skills.

* As you compete, you come to terms with your abilities. And although you may be less impressive than your opponent, you can truly develop an appreciation for the level you’ve reached.

* In all your competitions, avoid allowing pride to push you beyond your limits. You probably want to prove that you’re solid competition. But avoid doing so at risk of hurting yourself physically.

3. Take part in speed training. You may have other strong suits that don’t include being fast on your feet. But you’d be surprised how much speed training can help you mentally. Practicing sprints and trying to shorten reaction time can help you work more efficiently.

* When you develop a quick reaction time, it’s easier for you to make good decisions under pressure.

* Speed training also helps you to work quickly and accurately. It’s great if you can speed through tasks. But it’s even better if your accuracy level is always high. Develop an effective combination through speed training.

Take the time today to acknowledge the connection between your mind and body. They support each other on a day to day basis. Be sure your mind functions optimally by keeping your body in tune. Your professional life and personal life will both benefit.

Choosing Between a Career Advancement Opportunity and a Job You Love

It’s probably the biggest decision you’ll make in your life. Choosing between the most enviable career and a job you love can be quite difficult. One part of you thinks about the advancement and recognition. The other part thinks about living with true peace of mind.

Now that you’re at this crossroads, you’ll need to come to a decision soon enough. As difficult as it is, now’s the time to weigh the pros and cons of both scenarios.

The thought process might be as simple as making some straightforward considerations:

1. Consider additional responsibilities. Taking on additional responsibilities can come with its challenges. With the career advancement opportunity, the expectation may be for you to put even more effort into your work. Are you ready and willing to do that?

* The question isn’t whether you are shying away from work or not. The mere fact that the great opportunity is open to you speaks to your work ethic. But where’s the point at which you can no longer take on more work?

* Do you have the training and experience to take on everything being asked of you? Inexperience is hardly a reason to shy away from a job. But if your skills best serve the job you love, you may want to stick with that one.

2. Determine which job facilitates balance. A job that facilitates balance ensures you have enough time each day to take care of other aspects of your life. This is important if you want to perform at your best.

* Does compensation help to create balance? Perhaps in your case it does! Having sufficient earnings to take care of other elements of life is important.

3. Consider your commitment. At this stage in your life, what are you prepared to commit? Are you at the point to give every ounce of energy to a job? Does one of the jobs require more than the other?

* A job you love is easier to commit to. If it makes you happy, you’ll readily commit as much energy as you can to it. But is that also the case with your “dream job?”

* It’s important to consider if years down the road, the job can give you the same amount of fulfillment. Is it possible that the excitement can wear off? And do you see yourself being less committed if that happens?

4. Write down your expectations. It’s important to connect with what you expect from your job. Dedicate some time to writing down the things that you need your job to offer you. This list is an important factor in making your decision.

* Do you want to feel comfortable discussing ideas with co-workers?

* How about an opportunity to show your creative side? Even with a career advancement opportunity, being able to give your creative input can help to create a comfortable environment.

Determining the direction of your work life is crucial. It requires a lot of thought and consideration of what’s really important to you. Considering all the factors helps you choose the job that contributes most to your ultimate happiness and satisfaction.

Build Togetherness in Your Family With These Simple Approaches

Does it seem to you that growing up means growing apart? Now that your family members are busy with their own lives, it’s hard to keep in touch. The togetherness you once shared seems to be a thing of the past.

However, family life is still important, and you can rebuild your family bond and maintain that closeness, even when you’re far apart.

Start the rebuilding process with these simple strategies:

1. Have a weekly conference call. Treat your weekly conference call like any other essential meeting. Once it’s scheduled, only unforeseen emergencies can postpone them.

* Right now, you might think that weekly calls may be too much. You might have very little to share with your family members. But you’d be surprised how the mind adjusts when you know there’s an expectation from others!

* Commit to taking an active part in the meeting. Ask questions. Show genuine interest. You’ll feel the warmth and love of family when you eventually hang up the phone.

2. Make a big deal out of birthdays. Sure, birthdays happen every year. After a while, they seem less important. And that’s when you start to lose that togetherness. Make a special effort each year to treasure birthdays of your family members.

* If you normally send an email, plan to send a card via snail mail. Make the purchase a few weeks before the birthday to ensure it gets delivered in time.

* Write down a few good wishes. Allow them to see how much they mean to you.

3. Resolve issues in a family setting. If there’s an issue with one of your siblings, bring everyone on board. Use a family setting to help resolve issues among smaller groups of family members. It helps to make discussions impartial.

* If face-to-face isn’t an option, jump on the phone with your parents and the rest of the gang. Lay the issue out there and get honest feedback from the others.

* Be willing to accept harsh feedback from family members. If your actions were inappropriate, they’ll be the first ones to tell you.

* Being in a family setting allows you to come to terms with the need to apologize. Having loved ones supporting you can help to steer the direction of the resolution.

4. Make family decisions together. Regardless of how far apart you are, there are some decisions that need everyone’s input. Sure, they may be less important to one of you. But if it’s important to one, it’s important to all.

* Everybody’s input is important. Perhaps you’re the youngest and feel like your opinion isn’t worthy. But give it anyway. It’s part of being a member of the family.

* If something affects the family, it’s only fair to allow everyone to have a say. And while you may be miles apart, a one-sided decision may have a negative impact down the road.

Your family is your own little army. The members are here to protect and defend you. They epitomize unconditional love. Regardless of everyone’s circumstances, it’s important to embrace the family you were born into. Knowing they’re around makes life so much easier!

Are you Reacting or Responding?

Reacting and responding might appear to be synonymous, but that’s not the case. Reacting suggests a lack of thought and consideration. It’s emotional and impulsive. Responding is addressing the situation thoughtfully with consideration. It’s intelligent and keeps the consequences in mind.

How many challenges have you created in your life by reacting instead of responding? At the extreme, our prisons are full of people that reacted without considering the long-term outcome. Relationships are especially sensitive to this same phenomenon. Have you ever said something in the heat of the moment that you later wished you could take back?

Imagine how responding effectively could change your life for the better!

Follow these strategies to ensure that you’re responding:

1. Learn to notice your emotions. Overreaction can be avoided by simply noticing that you’re emotional. If you notice the initial circumstances that lead to a poor response, it can be quite easy to nip it in the bud before an even more challenging situation is created.

* Emotions are much easier to control earlier in the escalation process.

2. Step away. It’s not enough to say to yourself, “I’m angry.” It’s far more effective to think, “I’m angry. I should watch my words until I’ve had time to process and calm down.”

* In nearly all situations, there’s plenty of time to think before responding. Time is a resource. Use it to your advantage.

3. If you find yourself reacting, breathe. The simple act of focusing on your breath can quickly diffuse your growing emotions. Despite what you might believe, you can only think about one thing at a time. If you’re truly focused on your breath, you have to calm down. It takes practice to have the necessary focus in challenging situations, but it can be done.

4. Recognize the gift of being a human being. Arguably, most animals are simply reaction machines. They don’t have the capability to pause and consider the best course of action. A dog sees a rabbit run and he chases it. You have the option of considering all the possibilities. Reacting quickly rarely results in the best outcome.

* We can’t run fast. We don’t have claws or fangs. Our brains are our greatest tool and weapon. Think first.

* When you react, it’s reflexive. When you respond, you’re making a conscious choice.

5. Use emotion to your advantage. Being emotional about an issue is simply a measure of how meaningful it is to you. Give the emotional issues in your life your full attention. However, it’s questionable that strong negative emotions have value beyond this function. Negative emotions exist to inform you that something is potentially wrong.

* It’s then up to you to objectively examine the situation and make a thoughtful decision.

6. List your options. Sitting down and making a list is almost magical. When you’re focused on finding all the possible solutions, you’re likely to discover there are some good choices available to you. You’re unlikely to find the best solution without making an effort to find it.

7. Consider the consequences. It’s human nature to think short-term. The frequency of bursting waistlines and low account balances are evidence of this fact. Think further down the road.

* Saying something unkind might feel good in the moment, but consider having to deal with the aftermath. Quitting your job might relieve your discomfort today, but what about next month?

Reacting too quickly is rarely the best option. Responding appropriately is a key factor in creating a successful and enjoyable life. If you’re reacting, consider making the effort to respond to life’s challenges in a more intelligent and thoughtful manner. You’ll be glad you did!

Are You Being Guided by Your Intuition or Your Ego?

It’s not always easy to tell if our choices are coming from the right place. However, if you follow your intuition, your life is likely to be enjoyable and meaningful. Follow your ego and you might be successful in many ways, but you’re likely to find yourself wondering why you’re not as happy as you think you should be.

Learning to determine whether you’re being guided by intuition or ego can make a huge difference in your life. While there are no hard and fast rules to make the distinction, there are tendencies that can serve as a guide.

Consider these differences:

1. Ego-based decisions are grounded in fear and self-preservation. If you decide to go to medical school primarily for reasons of financial security, that’s ego. If you decide to not ask out the beautiful woman that lives on the corner, that’s ego.

2. Ego-based decisions typically have emotion connected to them. A choice made from a place of intuition just feels “right” and often comes out of left field. You might be mowing the grass and be hit with the idea of becoming a dog breeder. The resulting battle in your head is your ego fighting back.

3. Ego-based decisions consider external results. Are you writing a book in order to have a bestseller, or are you writing a book because you’re fascinated with the idea of writing a book? Are you taking an action to gain certain results, or does the action itself provide sufficient satisfaction?

4. Ego-based decisions involve rationalization. Your ego is wonderful at convincing you that its choice is the right one. “I’ll never get that job. Imagine how disappointed I’ll feel when it doesn’t work out. People like me are destined to only be supervisors, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I can still have a decent life.”

* It’s really just a rationalization based on fear – fear of success or fear of failure.

* The ego tries to justify itself with facts, figures, and logic. Intuition doesn’t require these tricks to compel you. If you’re using logic to convince yourself of a course of action, you can bet that’s your ego squawking.

5. Intuition doesn’t judge. A thought or decision arising from intuition doesn’t involve judgment statements about right or wrong, good or bad. Intuitive thoughts feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful. There’s a universal truth to an idea that arises from intuition.

6. Is the expected gratification coming from within or is it external. Would you make the same choice if no one would ever know? Would you purchase that BMW if no one ever knew you owned it? Or do you simply love German automobiles and love the idea of owning a precision car? Are you driven by money and admiration or by personal satisfaction?

While the ego can be very limiting, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s wrong. Remember that the ego’s motivation is largely based on self-preservation. Your ego believes that it has your best interests at heart. Ignoring the ego can be challenging. It uses fear to influence you. It’s only natural to avoid fear and seek comfort.

The trick is to realize when fear is holding you back from something bigger and better. Sometimes fear is keeping you from doing something foolish. Think before choosing which voice to follow: use these tips to help you make a decision that will bring you true happiness.

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