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3 Ways to Make Decisions When You Are On The Fence



decision making

You’re trying to figure out how to answer a question but you simply can’t. There are options and then, there are more options. You can’t eliminate a single one because they all seem so good, feel so good but at the same time, you know you can’t take them all. Well, I know what it feels like so I have made a framework which you can use to make decisions when you are on the fence.

Here are 3 ways to make the tough decisions when you are sitting on the fence:

1. From chaos comes order but from order comes chaos

Life has a great sense of humor and by that, I mean that life is not a straight line, but a continuous circle where the journey is the one that matters. So you can, and probably will, end up at the same place where you started but you will be a different person. Your motivation will be different, your reasons for doing and being will be different and the way (and why) you do or don’t certain things will be different.

With this in mind, order will come only from chaos but that order won’t last. It will become chaos again and that chaos will become order again… you get the point. The journey is the one that matters because that is where you grow.

If you are on the fence right now, consider where you currently are on the journey. If you are currently in order, it’s time for chaos or some turbulence. Knowing this, you should take the option which brings you chaos in life. That might be a big move to another city, starting your own business or basically anything that upsets your life (makes it more chaotic).

If you are currently in chaos, it’s time for order so you should take the option which brings order in your life. That might be staying (and committing) to that relationship, making that habit last or not travelling for 100 days in a year. Remember, both of these are needed for growth in life and both of them will pass. You just have to take the one which is next in line.

“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.” – Dale Carnegie

2. Simply do what is before the word “but” (even if it makes you hungry)

If you ever need to make a decision and you use the word “but,” you should simply do the thing you said before the word “but.” I had an option to work for one year for a non-profit a couple of years ago BUT the salary was almost non-existent (50 EUR/month).

I knew that it won’t be enough and that I will probably be hungry by doing that for a year but, it was about working for something I believed in. So my option was: “I believe in the vision and I want to work on that BUT if I do that, I won’t have enough money to buy food.”

So I did what I told you above – I chose the option before the “but.” And yes, I was hungry because there were days where I didn’t even have money to buy bread. I lost 23 kgs (50 lbs) in 6 months because I couldn’t always eat.

How did I justify this to myself? I simply got lean and that was great because I managed to reframe hunger into something beneficial for me (getting lean). So if you have an option and there is a “but,” just do the thing before the word “but.” It will make your life simple BUT not easy.

3. Do what is in your 1%

This is something Mark Manson talks about in his work. You can divide everything there is in this world in two categories: Things you don’t care about and things you do care about. Things you don’t care about should take around 99% of the things happening in the world and around you. It means that you don’t care that your neighbor didn’t say hello this morning or that your muffins got only one chocolate sprinkle instead of two or that you are wearing a white shirt instead of a blue one for the family reunion.

It means that you don’t care about the things that are not crucial to you. They are completely meaningless and you are indifferent (flexible) towards them.  And then, there are the things that you actually care about.

This should be only around 1% of the things in the world and around you. These are just a couple of things you are willing to live for and also willing to die for. This concerns your life vision, your dreams and your life’s meaning and existence.

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn

So when you have a decision to make, consider if the thing you are making a decision on is something you care about (1% of everything) or something you don’t care about (99% of everything). I don’t care if I wear a red, blue or black shirt or if I will walk to work or take a taxi/share ride or if I will take a vacation in Croatia, Spain or Greece. I’m totally indifferent toward those things.

But what I care about is my writing and the quality of my work – there is no compromise there. This way you save your energy for decisions that matter in your life, that 1% which you actually care about.

Do you struggle to make decisions? If so, which one of these perspectives will you implement to help you? Let us know in the comments below!

Bruno Boksic is an expert habit builder who was covered in the biggest personal development publications like Lifehack, Addicted2Success, Goalcast, Pick The Brain. If you want to build life-long habits, Growthabits is the first place to visit.


5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life



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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?



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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why



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With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person. (more…)

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5 Things You Can Do to Fend off Boredom and Stay Focused



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Curiosity is human nature and it’s only natural that humans will lose interest in a topic after a while. This has been a topic that has been extensively explored among children, teenagers and adults by a psychologist with similar results being reported from each of the categories. Human’s minds are therefore prone to boredom, making it important for each professional to spend some time to understand the factors that drive boredom and strategies the individuals needs to use to overcome boredom and focus on their profession and development. (more…)

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