3 Tips to Simplify Decision-Making

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Many of the teens with whom I work struggle with indecision. Reasons for their difficulty with making a choice include that they feel inexperienced, worry about making the wrong choice, are concerned that they will be judged poorly for their choices by their parents or peers, and they lack self-confidence.

In this post, we will review ways in which their decision-making process can be made easier.

It’s About Attitude

For ideas regarding how to make the right choice, click here. However, one of the most common fears about decision-making relates to the possibility of making a wrong choice.

The good news is that by maintaining a positive attitude many choices can end up being the right one. For example, if you are picking a restaurant, college, or even a life-long partner, by focusing on the positives of the choice once you have made it, you can help create a successful outcome. In the case of a college, you can focus on the benefits of attending a particular campus. In the case of a partner, you can focus on the good aspects of their character and the benefits of being in a romantic relationship.

Conversely, a poor attitude can make most choices the “wrong” ones. In the case of a restaurant, focusing on the absence of certain food items, complaining about a loud atmosphere, and being critical of the quality of the food can diminish the experience. In the case of a partner, focusing on their shortcomings and acting accordingly can destroy a union.

Maintenance of a positive attitude does not mean neglecting issues that might be improved. But such issues can also be addressed in a positive and constructive manner. In the case of a college experience, you might help improve difficult situations by speaking to college officials or working toward improvement through organizing fellow students. In a partnership, you can work toward improving communication or offer to attend couples counseling.

Narrow the Field

Since many choices can be shaped to become the “right” ones through a positive attitude, it is unnecessary to search for the single best choice. In fact, even if there were such a thing as a “best” choice, it might only be “best” for a short interval of time.

For instance, a particular college may fit your needs when you are applying for admission, but once you matriculate, you likely will find your interests will change, and that particular college may no longer represent a “best” fit. In the case of a partnership, both members of a relationship will change over time. Thus, a “perfect” partner who does not maintain a positive, flexible attitude in life may turn out to be far from a good fit in the long run.

Once you recognize that there are plenty of good choices, narrowing the field of choices is a good way to simplify decision-making. The field can be narrowed in arbitrary ways. For instance, perhaps you could confine your choices to a particular geographic area, particular spiritual beliefs, or base them on financial considerations. Once the field is narrowed, it is much easier to make a choice.

Listen to Your Inner Self

Many people know the right choice for themselves in their heart of hearts, but they lack the self-confidence to make the choice without regard to what others may think. One way to become more self-sufficient during a decision-making process is to listen to the subconscious.

A method to do so involves imagining a whiteboard and asking the subconscious to respond to queries through writing on the imaginary board. Once the subconscious recommends a choice, people often become more confident about their decisions.

In my experience, the subconscious often helps us make a better decision than our conscious selves because it is less prone to social influences from peers, family members, or social media. Rather, the subconscious tends to suggest the best course of action based on its knowledge and wisdom.

For instance, rather than recommending a “feel-good” choice such as applying to a particular college because your significant other is planning to attend there, or choosing to use a drug as a way of helping drown out discomfort, the subconscious Is more apt to suggest a choice that is more likely to be helpful in the long run.


Decision-making can be simplified through acknowledgement that there are many right choices based on a positive approach to life, narrowing the field of choices based on personalized criteria, and listening to the inner self as a way to boost confidence in the final choice.

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