In this Wisdom Note, we will continue our series about making wise decisions. As with any skill in life, making wise decisions comes with practice and experience. Many times that experience is gained by making unwise decisions. The fact is that if we learn from this experience, then we will make increasingly wise decisions in all areas of life. If you agree that God is the author of wisdom, then decisions which are made in the light of God’s word are stable and show wisdom.
Since it our desire to make wise decisions in all that we do, our 10 waypoints on this wisdom trail will help us to choose wisdom instead of folly in our decision-making. It is time for us to break camp now as we continue on our trail of making wise decisions. On this trek, we begin with waypoint 3 of 10, so let’s get started. Because of my faith walk, I will base our discussions of decision-making on Biblical principles.
3. Is There a Time Pressure Forcing Me To Make An Impulsive Decision?
Unless it is absolutely unavoidable do not make a decision if someone is pressuring you with a deadline or scarcity. Scarcity and time pressure schemes are two of the most effective and dangerous methods that are used to try and force us into making decisions. Rarely are either a good reason to make a decision. In order to make a wise decision ask yourself, “Would I make this decision now if there was neither the scarcity or limited time pressure?” If the answer is “no,” then do not fall prey to these tactics.
Proverbs 19:2, “Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.”
Proverbs 21:5, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”
Points to consider if there is time or scarcity pressures put on you to make a decision:
- Never fall prey to the “once in a lifetime” deals and the lure of instant gratification. There will always be other opportunities to make the same decision if it is a decision that you need to make.
- Don’t let the fear of missing out drive your decision. You will only miss out if you make a decision that is wrong
- When in doubt, choose not to decide at this time, which is a decision itself.
4. What Possible Motives Are Driving My Decision?
When you are faced with a decision to make and want to make a wise decision, analyze what the motives are that are driving you to make the decision. Be brutally honest with yourself. We all are masters at self-delusion and rationalizing the decisions that we desire to make. To make wise decisions, you must be honest about your motives for that decision.
Proverbs 16:2, “People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.”
Proverbs 20:9, “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin’?”
Points to consider in order to make wise decisions:
- Acknowledge that you have “blind spots.”
- Honestly assess your motives, both good and bad.
- Give others permission to speak into your life.
5. How Should Past Experiences Inform My Decision?
The best predictor of future decisions are the decisions that you have made in the past. Take an honest assessment of your past decisions and ask yourself. “Were they wise? Were the outcomes successful? Will I be pleased with making the same types of decisions this time?”
Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.”
Proverbs 17:10, “A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.”
Questions to consider in order to make wise decisions:
- What are the patterns of behavior or “triggers” on previous decisions that I have made?
- How does my family background and training affect how I make decisions?
- Have I learned from previous decision-making mistakes?
6. What Is The Collective Counsel Of My Community?
Since all of us are prone to self-delusion and rationalization of any decisions that we make, it is wise to seek counsel from those who have shown wisdom and have experience in the particular area that you need to make a decision. This may be different people for different decisions that you need to make. Be sure to seek out those that are wiser and may disagree with you and gain their insight. Be careful of receiving advice from friends or close associates that may not have wisdom in a particular area. As an example, if you have a crucial financial decision to make, seek out a wise and successful person that has a proven track record. Do not seek advice from someone that lives paycheck to paycheck.
Proverbs 11:14, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.”
Proverbs 18:1 “Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense.”
Proverbs 18:2 “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.”
Points to consider:
- Restrict those that you seek advice from to individuals that have proven successful in that area of life.
- Don’t try to convince that person of what you desire to do. Seek open insight.
- Provide all the information that is needed to this person, so that they can provide you with honest and candid feedback.
Consider these first six waypoints in your decision-making process in order to make wise decisions. Next we will continue on the trail as we explore the final 4 principles for making wise decisions.