How The Greatest Minds In The World Make The Least Amount Of Decisions

by Paul Hudson

Entrepreneurs are professional decision makers. The decisions we make affect not only ourselves, but the entire company: the people who work for us, and the customers we serve. The same goes for anyone who can be dubbed a leader. Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Human beings are intrinsically leaders.

We all lead our own lives and make our own decisions. While these decisions may not affect as wide a range of individuals as those in official positions, the decisions you make affect the person who matters most: you.

Making decisions isn’t always difficult, but it isn’t always easy either. Some decisions are intrinsically more difficult to make – the outcomes of options are almost equal in our eyes and therefore choosing which direction to go can be difficult. Uncertainty always plays a huge role because there is always a risk that things won’t turn out the way we want them to. Plans are great… until they don’t work. No matter who you are or what you do, your life is riddled with uncertainty.

Sure, the average person makes fewer decisions than someone clearly in a leadership role, but for anyone who is passionate about anything and wants to be successful, you will need to make many decisions throughout your life. And, obviously, you want to make the best decisions you can make.

Although you can never guarantee the outcome of any decision, you can increase the chances of making the right decision. I’m not going to go over the logic that every single decision you make gets processed by – if you don’t know how to think logically, then you have a lot of catching up to do. But what I will do is give you a tip that is going to help you make decisions more easily – with a clearer mind. It all starts with making fewer decisions. Counterintuitive – I know.

The fact is that everyone has a whole lot of decisions he or she needs to make every day. What you’re going to wear. What you’re going to eat. How you’re going to get to where you need to go. Which foot you're going to take your first step with. How you’re going to sit your ass on the toilet… These are all decisions that we make.

Yet, you probably don’t put much thought into some of them. That’s normal. All the things that we do (except those things that really do run on autopilot, like a heartbeat) are decisions that we consciously make. Of course, a lot of these decisions don’t feel like decisions. Why is that? Because we’ve turned them into habits.

We usually get out of bed one way. We get to work one way. We eat one way. We wipe our ass one way. Most of the decisions that we make every day, we actually made a very long time ago. We decided some things should be done a certain way years ago and then we stuck with our decisions.

Why? Because those decisions gave us our desired results. The truth is that we don’t need to be "making" half, if not more, of the decisions that we make every day. We feel that we need to keep making them because we have been taught to believe that we need a large variety of things in our lives.

We need to switch up the foods that we eat. We need to try out different styles – different clothes, different haircuts, different makeup. We have been taught to keep changing things up. Why? So that we keep buying new things. We’ve been taught that it’s important to “experience” what the world has to offer because someone needs to make money off you.

In reality, we don’t need to keep making changes and keep making choices. We can make a decision once and then simply repeat that decision without giving it too much thought every single time we are faced with the same choice.

Human beings only have a limited amount of bandwidth. It varies from individual to individual, but each person has a limit. Once you go past this limit, you get stressed. Your mind cannot be running, thinking and making decisions constantly because it’s incredibly exhausting. The more decisions you make, the less time you have to enjoy the decisions you’ve made – not to mention everything else that is going on around you that you’re not paying attention to because you’re too busy being stuck in your head trying to figure out which restaurant you should order from.

Making decisions all the time is exhausting. Making the same decisions over and over again is stupid. If you made a decision in the past and it turned out great, then why bother going through the whole process again? Why have a million different outfits if you can have two or three to choose from?

Why eat from a different restaurant every day when you were happy with the two or three that you’ve already had? Yes, it’s nice to try new things from time to time, but only from time to time – not every damn day.

Decisions are solutions to problems. If you don’t have a problem, then you shouldn’t be making a decision. If you’re making decisions without problems, then you’re creating problems. Simplify your life, make fewer decisions and allow your mind some breathing room. Leave the decision-making for the times that you need to make important ones.

This goes double for those who are leaders, are entrepreneurs, are driven individuals. We have enough on our plates and don’t need to be actively adding more. Make a decision. Make it good. And then stick with it. It’s as simple as that.

Photo credit:  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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