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How to be an effective decision maker

Good decision making has brought comedian Susan Calman and cycling hero Graeme Obree the success they enjoy today. Here, they share their tips on how to be an efficient decision maker.

Susan Calman

1 Never decide anything on the basis of what you might have read on the internet

While the information superhighway is a glorious thing, it’s also the source of some complete nonsense. By all means research, evaluate and consider the vast array of blogs, articles and motivational quotes available. But remember, the ramifications of any change will be felt in the real world.

2 Ask someone you trust what they think

I rely on different people for counsel, depending on what decision needs to be made. For financial advice I’ll ask my friend Mary; for anything relating to home improvement, my friend Stevie is unbeatable; and for emotional advice I’ll always check in with Corry. Find the person you trust and lean on them.

3 Make a list

I love a list and will often make some very detailed charts and diagrams to clearly set out the pros and cons of a situation. It’s simple advice but it works. In fact I’ve taken to carrying a small pad with me to write down worries as they pop into my brain. Nothing is more annoying than forgetting a really good point because you’re too engrossed in Game of Thrones.

4 Don’t make an emotional decision

Anything done when angry, sad, distressed, jealous or drunk (which counts as an emotion) might end in tears.

5 Put some distance between you and the decision

Take a weekend away, or at the very least an afternoon, from thinking about what you need to do. Go to the gym, eat a cake, read a book. Then come back with fresh eyes and a clear head.

6 Go with your gut

While my initial feeling about something isn’t always right, it generally is. My first reaction to a decision tends to be the correct way to go

7 Be confident

Once the decision is made don’t regret it. Commit completely to whatever course your life is on.

8 Feel the fear and do it anyway

Change, of any type, can be terrifying. But terror is often a good sign. If I’d listened to the fear in my head I wouldn’t have had half of the wonderful experiences I have had. Sometimes stepping into the unknown is wonderful. Take a deep breath and go for it.



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