Lessons learnt from Bad Decisions

We all have made the right decisions in our life. We all make the right choices in our career. And we are so proud of them. For years, we reminisce over them and feel grateful for all the right paths and ways that we choose. But have we felt equally grateful for all the bad decisions we make… Nah! Often, we keep regretting for all the wrong decisions and they haunt us for years, don’t we? How do we process such heavy choices that we make…Can we just say to ourselves, we win some, we lose some, like in any romcom movie?

I love this idea of believing that we never totally lose but we only gain more wisdom, experience, and opportunity to unlearn for the years to come. Sounds ideal however whenever stumble upon a roadblock in life or in career, we simply must rise from the ashes and dust it off! What choice do we really have apart from going through this circle of fate and reality? We cannot avoid making such bad decisions however we can certainly work towards changing our perspective and reducing the effects of such bad decisions.

Psychologists believe that we make thousands of bad decisions in our routine days. Some of these decisions may cost us money (like bad investments, loans, overpriced luxury car, etc.) Some may scar us with a lifetime of worries or nightmares (like whether to take up a certain career option, getting married or no kids, etc.). Some may be relatively trivial (like making a sandwich dinner or a plate of lasagna).  

There are several factors that contribute to poor decision making and some irrational choices that you make with strategies that can uplift your spirits and set you on a mindful path:

1. Lack of Knowledge: It is difficult to decide when you are ill-informed or have no knowledge. Decisions are a result of a simple toss of a coin. When you have no education of all the aspects and consequences of that decision, one tends to engage in a series of bad decisions.

2. Less Experience: Practice does make a man perfect as perfection is simply a myth! But experience does count! Your performance, results and outcomes improve with repeated practice and when you add real experience, your probabilities to win over bad decisions multiplies. Experience acts as plan B – a way to operate with a net.

3. Overconfidence: By closing your paths with egos and overconfidence, you simply get blinded and closed to learning and growing.  When one becomes overconfident, one starts making more mistakes. You have more bad days to regret, and overconfidence thus creates domino effect on all aspects of that decision.

4. Irregular habits: Take an example of a person who prefers to smoke in stress. He struggles with the decision to quit smoking day on day. What works jubilantly is not the nicotine patch but the discipline and a stringent set of habits. Science studies have shown that one should do something consistently for 21 days to make a positive habit. And when one creates a powerful habit, you make lesser mistakes.

5. Lack of self-awareness: Sometimes decisions go bad and leave a real heartburn as they come straight from our gut! There are times when our head warns us but our instinct rules over the head and leads us to a pool of regretful steps. And sometimes it goes the other way. If you keenly listen to your gut instinct, your values and beliefs, your cognition, it brings a sense of clarity that goes a long way. Short term desires and impulsive decisions should be circumvented for safeguarding your well-being and interests. For which, one should be fully aware of oneself.

6. Make poor comparisons: You always go for that better deal for those groceries or merchandise bought on an e-commerce platform. However, how would you understand that you had an equal value comparison? Consider this example: A better deal at a remote location saves you close to Rs. 100/- You feel triumphant to get a good deal while comparing the other option in a close by store. But, if you go around the town fetching for a right bargain, you end up spending more on transport than that additional bargain that you would receive on your purchase. While making such choices, we often make comparisons with unequal options.

Although these bad decisions do have unparalleled consequences on our lives, we cannot waste our energies in self-doubting or self-pitying yourself. There is no scorecard that accounts all the mistakes or simply nobody is handing trophies for an exceptional management of mistakes. However, by not dwelling on these mistakes for too long and optimizing your lessons and strategies from your last mistake, you set yourself on a path to a better well-being and peace. Mistakes have a power to turn you into something better than your before. Like the famous words of Albert Einstein, “Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried something new.” Let your biggest mistake be your best teachers!

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