Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Nov 2017 12:14:43



By nitin bakshi,

Friends, life is all about taking right decision at the right time. “If the decision and the time to take decision happen to be right, then life is exactly what you want to make out of it, else it is to be accepted as it is without any complaint”.

These punch lines which were used several times by the all time management guru Benjamin Franklin during his illustrious time in the 18th century. He advocated the all important aspect of decision making in human life to make it more meaningful. If we have to select one out of two or more alternatives available before us, the very process by which we select the desired alternative can be defined as decision making.

This aspect has undergone so many analytical phases in different periods with several experts elaborating on various core issues whether this aspect of decision making should be termed as an art or science. We will not devaluate the subject further by getting into details of this debate. The American management expert George Terry put an end to this debate and stated that decision making is an art at the first place. Firstly it needs to be created and then nurtured carefully for providing coup-de-grace in form of great decisions during the life-time.

History has many pears when it is to rank it’s heroes as well as the zeroes on the basis of the decisions taken by them and the consequent turn around of the events that was witnessed with awe by the generations to follow. It has often been found that persons with exceptional decision making abilities have left an indelible impression for others to follow. Similarly history galore with such persons who committed blunders while taking important decisions and several generations subsequently had to suffer because of the poor decision making of these persons.

To name a few outstanding decision makers we can take example of Shivaji, the Maratha King of the 17th century, who took some courageous as well as thoughtful decisions in the most adverse conditions to change the course of the history. His first decision to establish separate kingdom for Marathas was courageous. But his decision to invite his giant enemy Afzal Khan to Pratapgarh fort in dense forest should go down as the best decision of his lifetime. The defeat of Afzal Khan ushered a new era not only for the Maratha kingdom, but also for his followers. All these decisions were taken astutely by the Maratha king by taking calculated risk.

Similarly Mahatma Gandhi proved to be a master decision maker for timing brilliantly his entry to India from South Africa. His timings to take decisions about Dandi march, Swadeshi Movement and Chale Jao agitation spoke highly about his exceptional decision making ability. His decision to choose ‘non-violence’ as the main weapon to fight against the mighty Britishers proved to be the decision for which our nation will ever remain indebted to him. Mahatma Gandhi stood firmly by his decision of non-violence even when there was criticism all over India by so many sections of freedom fighters about the usefulness as well as the strength of this weapon. But Gandhiji proved everyone wrong by sticking to his unconventional weapon to win independence and then went on to rewrite history for his the then “outdated” method of non-violence which has still been being regarded as an “out of box” idea.

Having seen some of the greatest decision makers of all time it will be worth-while to recall some of the worst decision makers of all time as well. Napoleon Bonaparte has been a prominent name in the world history and has always been regarded highly for his war-time skills. He is famous to have taken some of the greatest decisions of historical importance. But once you start taking decisions out of emotional bursts, you tend to go wrong. It was totally wrong on his part to ask his de-motivated and confused soldiers to fight the battle of Waterloo against some disciplined, fresh and motivated British army. He lost the battle and was made captive.

The explanation given above aptly proves the point that paramount importance should be given by each individual to one’s decision making ability to make most out of the given situations. It has been noticed that the important decisions taken during life-time either make or break the very existence of the decision-maker. Friends, broadly the decisions taken by any individual can be bifurcated in three categories.

Routine life facing decisions: We have to take simple decisions on daily basis. Whether to wear formals or casuals in office, what should be the menu for lunch, which channel of TV to be watched, which sari or Punjabi dress to be put on etc.. We need to take these decisions instantly, as not much importance can be given to the things which become part of our daily routine. We should be able to take these decisions quickly.

Tricky life keeping decisions: There are certain decisions which may be lesser important but they do make difference when it matters. Such decisions should be taken after thinking for a while. Few decisions such as which brand of TV, computer, motorcycle or AC should be chosen to purchase, which school to select for education of kids, where to invest small chunk of money etc.. can be categorized in this section. These decisions may prove vital but certainly are not part of making or breaking your life.

Crucial life turning decisions: These decisions must be taken after seriously thinking for a considerable period. We have to keep in mind that these are the decisions which are going to have profound impact on our life. Some decisions like which profession to choose as career, who should be chosen as a life partner, whether to go for change of job or in case of problems in married life – whether to take divorce or not etc … These are a few examples of extremely important decisions and hence such decisions must be taken after considering in detail the pros and cons of the decision to be taken.

Having scanned the relevant details, the all important question now is that whether any full-proof scientific method has at all been devised so far to help taking only correct decisions. The answer to this million dollar question unfortunately is “no”. Any official or scientific method is yet to be worked out in this regard, but following scientific ways can be used to take near perfect decisions.

l Before taking any decision understand the problem thoroughly and see that your decision is based on importance and gravity of the problem.
l Do not change your decision every now and then unnecessarily, if your decisions in similar situations in earlier cases have proved right. Take decisions only about those things which you feel deserved to be reviewed.
l As for routine matters do not waste your time and take decisions instantly based on past experiences as well as fixed routines.

l While taking important official decisions always make it a point to make concerned persons understand your decision properly. It will facilitate it’s acceptance as well as it’s implementation.
l While taking decisions take care to see that your decisions are based on rationales rather than opinions.
l All professional decisions should not be an outcome of emotional out-burst. Let it be an outcome of scientific as well as objective study.

l Important decisions should be taken after taking opinions from experts from that particular field. If possible collect necessary data, think about the alternative and then choose the best.

l Do not take important decisions hastily. But once it is taken by you, do not increase your tension by procrastinating its implementation.
l Make it a habit to keep the list of other options ready with you and then take decision. Some time it is the second option that comes to rescue.

l Always keep the reality in mind while taking decision. It is to be ensured that the decision does not have shades of unnecessary ifs and buts.
l Once a decision is taken have firm belief in your abilities and stick to it. In some cases it takes time to understand the real motive behind the decision.
l Learn from the decision that went wrong. But never ever procrastinate the decision making. It is rightly said that it is always advisable to take decision based on one’s knowledge and experience without worrying about the outcome rather than taking no decision.

l Do not take any important decision when you are either very happy or very sad. There are chances that your decision will not be based on rationales and will have tinges of your emotional mind-set.
l In case of wrong decision, do not get discouraged. If you start having an element of fear in your mind while taking decision, then it will harm your entire decision making ability.

l Do not compromise with your principles, moral values or institutional rules. You will not be able to have the satisfaction you deserve after taking an important decision.
l Always be prepared to face the consequences after taking an important decision in form of problems, obstacles or retrenchment.

Remember that successful people take 90% decisions instantly and only 10% decisions are made after taking all the necessary care. Decision taken by man either makes of breaks him, one has no choice but to learn this sublime art of decision making to the fullest extent.
(The author is Director, The First Step, Akola and can be reached at [email protected])