Decision Making


Do you jump into things without thinking? Or are you the type who over analyzes everything and has a really hard time making decisions? Maybe you're somewhere in between or do a little of each from time to time. No matter what your usual style of decision making is, there are ways to help you figure out what's best for you in any situation!

Figure Out the Pros and Cons.

Because every situation has good and bad things about it, you need to consider the whole picture! Say you've been offered two different summer jobs - one at a fast food place and one at a summer day camp. You've got to choose by the end of the week or you'll lose both jobs! What should you do?

  1. Make a list of the pros and cons of each choice. Get a paper and pen and make a real list of what's good and bad about each of the choices you've got. There are no right or wrong answers here, this is totally your opinion. If you were really trying to decide between the fast food place and the camp you might start by writing:

    Fast Food Place



    1. Free chocolate shakes 1. Being inside all day
    2. 2.




    1. Working with kids 1. Same work schedule every day
    2. 2.
    Add as many items to the lists as you can, then...
  2. Compare the lists. What do you see? Are there obviously more pros to one of the choices? Are there obviously more cons? Is this a surprise to you? Don't just go by the number of items on each list... take a look at how important each one is to you, too. One very important "pro" might outweigh 4 insignificant "cons." For example, your boy/girl friend already has a job at the sleep-away camp so the only way to see them during the summer is accept the job (important pro), vs. you heard the camp is kind of dusty (unimportant con).
  3. What if both choices are just about equal? Looks like you're not any closer to making a decision than you were before you started writing. In a case like this getting someone else's opinion might help. Ultimately, this is your decision, so weigh everything then trust your intuition. (That means you make your decision just because you have a better feeling about one of the choices.)
  4. Choose! Often when you go through the process of comparing choices and making your decision, it turns out to be exactly the right choice for you at that moment in time. So don't be afraid! Choose. Remember even if you don't always get what you expected, life is for learning, so you will always get exactly the lessons you need.

Still Can't Decide?

Some people can't decide anything. They might look at their choices, make lists to compare them then still be unable to choose. They are "stuck" and cannot move forward in life. If you feel "stuck" don't worry. There are things you can do to get unstuck!

  1. Be tough with yourself. Tell yourself that you only have one day to make up your mind. Think about the decision as much as you want for that day. At the end of the day you might feel like you still can't decide but you've promised yourself that you would so you've got to do it. It might help talk to someone you know who can listen without telling you what they think you should do. It's okay to ask them what they would do, but you still have to make the decision yourself. And you can do it. Besides, what's the worst thing that can happen? You make the "wrong" decision! Then what?
  2. If your decision turns out to be "wrong" for you. This happens to everyone once in a while. Sometimes it's no big deal (at a restaurant you chose the chicken instead of the pasta and you didn't like it). Sometimes it is a big deal (you chose to go out for cross country instead of swimming and you had a totally horrendous season). Whatever it is, think of it as a learning experience rather than a screw up. Then figure out how to get out of the situation in a responsible way! Before you do anything, especially before you just say "FORGET IT!" look at the consequences. What will happen if you do this? What will happen if you do that? As long as you yourself take care of business by talking to someone who can help you (not just someone to complain to), you have a better chance of changing the situation so that it works better for you and any other people involved.

Heavier Decisions

Some decisions you make are way more important than others. Like whether to have sex or not with a certain person. Or if you should try a certain drug. Or whether to take a ride with a driver who just had a beer. In cases like these, your decision could possibly impact your entire life. That's why this kind of decision making requires a different kind of soul searching.

  1. What are the risks? What might you gain? For situations like these you need to figure out what you are risking and what you might gain. For example, if you are considering having sex, the possibility of pregnancy, STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases), and even AIDS are definite risks. On the other hand, you might gain a new level of intimacy with your partner, and a new sense of maturity about yourself. You also might gain a bad reputation.... Get the point? You have to stop and figure this stuff out before you jump into anything important and life altering!
  2. How could this decision impact your life in the future. Imagine you've made your decision, now picture yourself living with that decision next week. Next month. Next year. In 5 years. Do you see it making a difference. Are you comfortable with the difference it made?
  3. Talk to someone you trust. It can really help you sort things out to talk to a friend or two before you make up your mind. Sometimes an older brother or sister can add some insight and help you decide what is best for you!
  4. No set of rules that applies to everyone. We all mature at different rates and can't judge ourselves by anyone else's standards. What was good for your mother may be no good for you! What didn't work for your brother might work for you.
  5. It all comes down to personal values. Everybody has their own set and you need to stay in touch with who you are, what you believe in, and want for yourself as you go through life.



Good luck with your decision and if you need help write to Hey Terra!

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