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Life asks you questions, you answer with decisions, then the consequences whisper to world who you are.
After a long correspondence with a long missed friend, I dropped all the subjects that I was thinking about writing and decided to write how important is the effective decision making.
For all students and young professionals, it is crucial to take your time and think before arriving to a final conclusion about any subject. But early stages of your life are especially important, since they affect greatly the later years of your life. It is possible to briefly summarize this process as following:
1) Think about your goals and what you want to accomplish. A lot of times, we lose our way with miscellaneous things while we try to reach our final goal, especially when this goal is not clear. Thinking about what you want to accomplish and reminding that goal to yourself constantly will help you to stay focused despite the drug-like effect of the monotone daily life.
2) Think about your strengths and constraints in order to make a game plan accordingly. Life offers us a lot of tools, but not all the tools at the same time. We often have strengths, like your skills, be it professional or personal, but also constraints, be it financial, time related or simply lack of knowledge or certain skills. For example, there is no meaning for someone in trying to succeed in programming without any programming background, nor in any other professional field without the required degree, knowledge or a somewhat relevant background. Your relevant knowledge and skills will help you to get to your goal, and along the way, they will flourish even more with your hard work and determination.
3) Take action. After long hours of planning, you need to put your plan into motion, without further fear and worry regarding consequences. This often translates to the application process for various positions or starting to create the work product that is required at the end of your path leading to your decision.
4) Try getting insider information. You don’t need to retrace a path that was already discovered, so it’s better to consult people, through official or unofficial means.
- Official means. Getting information from a company or institution directly, through those who represent it. If there is a formal interview process regarding a position, although interviews usually cause a lot of stress in a lot of people, try seeing them as opportunities to get a taste of the work environment and the people that you will work with. If there is no interview process involved, try to contact someone with direct representation power of the relevant company or institution.
- Unofficial means. You can, and should, also consult those who have experience, either because they did what you want to do / worked where you want to work or they have some expertise in your field of interest and can share their perspective. LinkedIn is a good starting point for that. Technology, being a blessing and a curse at the same time, allows you to look at LinkedIn or other professional social media to reach out to people that has a common point with you (either alumni of your school or alumni of the place you worked in), since those with whom you share something are more likely to help you. But it’s also a curse, because a lot of employer today consults social media for getting information about potential employees before the interview process. So it might be a good idea to update your profile regularly with accurate information.
That said, don’t forget that you are the one who needs to make the final decision, so don’t rely on others’ advice, positive or negative, too much. Because they might drag you down, by deprecating your expectations, or give you false hopes, by exaggerating your skills and chances.
5) Final Decision. After bringing the process so far, there is still a final push that you need to make. This phase might be the hardest of all, because since you can’t possibly be present at multiple places at the same time (at least not yet, though I don’t know what future will bring in that regard), you need to eliminate all options before you, except one, and continue your path with that option. But, be warned, this step has the potential to cause a lot of joy or a lot of regret.
6) Try your best to be happy with your decision. You probably thought that I would conclude with the “Final Decision” phase, but in fact learning to live with your decision and its consequences, whether by enjoying it to the fullest or not hating it as much as possible, is at least as important as taking the decision itself.
Life is not a simple game where you simply win or lose, there is always more ahead of you to mess or correct it, so just embrace what you have / get and keep looking forward.
Cover image: http://husheducation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Choices-pic.jpg