How to make sound decisions

All of us make decisions big and small, every day. How do we know when to stick with them and when to change them? According to Type theory, we all take in information preferring either what we can grasp with our five senses (S), or what we intuitively see as a possibility (N). When considering our observations, we make decisions preferably based on either analytical reasoning (T) or our values (F), respectively. Which of the process we spend more time on, the information gathering or the decision-making, is a different story.

The development of our preferences for both taking in information and making decisions goes back to which modalities we used when forming our personality, and which results we received. We learned to either trust our senses or our intuition, and to follow our head or our heart. Sometimes our preferred behavior got us into trouble, so we adapted and learned to follow the other course. This will have been effective, but not resonating with our soul and sense of purpose.

Of course we all able to use all four modalities throughout our lifetime depending on the situation, yet we will tend to go back to the one preference that has never let us down. Knowing which you prefer (real-time, practical senses vs. possibility and intuition; logical analysis vs. values and impact on people) can help you approach decision-making processes with greater ease. For a decision to be sound and lasting, it ideally has to go through all four channels. What are the facts if they cannot be applied to a great vision? What is the bottom-line result worth if it cannot be put to benefit people?

Here's an example from "This day in history" about a famous instance of information that was taken in, a decision that was made, then recanted, and eventually validated after all:

On this day in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory. Copernican theory of a sun-centered solar system conflicted with the teachings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which essentially ruled Italy at the time. Church teachings contended that Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence.

Today, Galileo is recognized for making important contributions to the study of motion and astronomy. His work influenced later scientists such as the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who developed the law of universal gravitation. In 1992, the Vatican formally acknowledged its mistake in condemning Galileo.

If I may close with a little moral: if you know your decision was wrong, don't wait 359 years to rectify it. ;-)

Til next week, have a good one!


Image by Bill Abbot, flickr, Creative Commons license