Very often when we are in a dilemma we only think of this or that (black or white) and that's one of the mistakes. In many cases there are more options available than you might think of in the first place.
A second mistake lies in the effective time when the decision needs to be taken. While some people tend to delay a decision as long as possible (missing the best opportunities), others decide too early when not enough information is available or too few options have been elaborated yet.
So when a situation is evolving to a point of decision think of the following:
- Enough options elaborated? - Having only one option is dangerous (to do something or do not already requires a decision). If other people are involved then think of what their needs may be and try to find a win-win-solution.
An example: I remember that my father sometimes had to go to the office on weekends but he also wanted to spend time with me. Well, he took me with him and showed me his working place. I remember quality time with my father when he showed me the big computer there and I was very impressed - and it made me choose my profession.
- Is it the right/best time to make the decision? - Did you gather enough information yet, that allows to make serious and good decision? Do you really need to take that decision NOW?
An example: Buying a new computer or car. First thing to be aware of is: Do you really need to buy it NOW (is your old broken or not)? How much time for evaluation would be adequate for the size of the investment? Are you on top of the information? If you are in car or computer business respectively then the time for gathering information will be much shorter, otherwise you should maybe consult a friend who is.
- Do you really need to choose? Is there really a decision required? Sometimes you do not need to choose one thing over another as occasionally
you can get both. Be aware of options that may get you both!
Example: If you like black and also like white what about buying a shirt that has black and white stripes?
- (Re)think your core principles, values and priorities. When you find yourself often in dilemmas of the same type, you might improve the decision process by reviewing your core life principles, your core values or your (current) priorities.
An example: A long time ago I often fought with myself to do something fast or good. I finally decided (of course after suffering a lot from consequences) to go for quality and prefer quality over fast results. Now many decisions of that kind are taken automatically in my subconscious part of the brain. Of course that might not always be the optimum way and I do also choose the quick fix from time to time. But wherever a fast decision process is needed the gut feeling will tend towards your core values, priorities and principles.