I went to a networking event this week in Nashville and listened to a great keynote speaker, John Thalheimer. He spoke about our decision making processes. This was a great speech that really made me think. According to John’s research we, as Americans, make somewhere between 500 and 36,000 decisions per day. That is a huge range. But when you really think about it, we do make thousands of decisions per day. It really starts just waking up. We make a decision to get up, hit the snooze button or go back to sleep. What we eat, shower, shave, get dressed, what to wear, it is an endless sea of decisions. The fact we make so many decisions why would a decision seem difficult? Shouldn’t we be great at decision making with this kind of practice?
I believe there are two types of decisions, voluntary and involuntary. The involuntary decisions our reptilian brain makes for us. Our heart pumping blood, lungs breathing air and kidney/bowels disposing of waste. We don’t have anything to do with those decisions. Our brain makes those decisions based on our health.
Voluntary decisions are made both consciously and subconsciously. Subconscious decisions are made from our habits. We make these decisions without conscious thought. Tying our shoes, brushing our teeth, even driving a familiar route to work or school are decisions made from our habits subconsciously.
It is the conscious voluntary decisions that cause us success, failure, loss of sleep or elation. These decisions are also created in our habits. It is our environment in which we live that creates our decision making process. Our education, rearing as a child, experiences, relationships and beliefs shape the way we decide to proceed or not to proceed. For example in a sales process, a conservative, married, Christian engineer will make a totally different decision about a product than a liberal, single, Atheist artist will make a decision about the same product. Even if the need from both for the product is exactly the same. It is these environmental influences that shape our decisions. Sometimes too much information can cause analysis paralysis in some decision makers. This is also true of travel. The more places a person has been will shape the way they decide on things.
If you are set in your ways and unable to explore other options and opinions, you may make some bad decisions versus a well-traveled open minded person will make. After all it is your decision to decide to be a better decision maker. How do you make decisions?
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”—Tony Robbins
Image by Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net
Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, grandfather of 2, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, employee benefit specialist, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger, author and team leader with over 31 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.