Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Making Successful Decisions” Complete English Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Making Successful Decisions” Complete English Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Making Successful Decisions

The ability to make effective decisions is a fundamental requirement for both professional success and personal happiness. An effective decision is one which brings about, more or less, the state of affairs we are hoping for. More than that, an effective decision can result in surprising but welcome changes to our lives. An ineffective decision, in contrast, has either little or the wrong effect. A though effective decision-making is so essential to all areas of our lives, from career choices through marriage to the education and upbringing of our children, we spend relatively little time considering how to go about it, and indeed often little time actually carrying it out.

Common Attitudes to Decision making

Often, you might have heard someone say, with irritation, despair, resignation or even fear, “I’ve got to come to a decision.” Rarely it is said with enthusiasm or pleasure. People have been known to live in misery and uncertainty for years rather than make a decision.

The strategies we adopt to minimize our contact with these unpleasant and frightening entities are many and varied. We pretend they are not really there—’of course, there’s only one real option’ approach. We avoid them—the ‘I’m far too busy to waste time agonizing over that approach. We put them off—the ‘don’t cross that bridge until you come to it’ approach. We hand them over to someone else, fast—the ‘my husband/Wife/son deals with all the money matters’ approach.

Hiding from a Frightening Decision

Darcy hid from a decision for many months. She discovered he husband was having an affair which he had-no intention of finishing. In fact, he was becoming steadily more committed  to his mistress and less committed to Darcy and their small daughter. Darcy know that she would have to make up her mind whether to leave him or not. She avoided even thinking of this decision. She organised an extremely busy social life for herself and her daughter. She took up a correspondence course in English literature. She threw herself in renovating their house. All of these activities can be seen as avoidance strategies. The consequences of this avoidance were severe both for her and her daughter. Her health deteriorated and her little gin became uncertain and rebellious, in turns. Whenever her family or friends tried to talk to Darcy about the decision she had to make, she burst into tears. She could talk intelligently and articulately about her daughter, the house, even the affair, but not about the decision. After eighteen months of avoidance, Darcy decided to leave her husband. She now lives alone with her daughter. Both she and her child are physically healthier and more sure of themselves. They have left purgatory and started on the path to a new life.

In this example, the important point is that Darcy chose sickness, stress and pain for herself and her daughter for eighteen months rather than take a decision. Looked at coldly and objectively, such behaviour seems crazy. But in reality Darcy was not crazy, just frightened. She saw the decision as an abyss opening up before her, not as the first rung of a ladder to better times.

Leaving a Difficult Decision to Chance 

It is only fear which makes us avoid decisions. Laziness comes into it too. If we know that there is a decision we should make which will require a lot of hard thinking and investigation of alternatives, we often put it off until finally some event Cr person beyond our control makes the decision for us. An analogy will make clear how much we can lose if we take this approach. Choice, not chance: Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant. The waiter arrives and hands you the menu. What are you feeling at this moment? Perhaps interest, excitement; above all, you are looking forward to seeing the range of dishes you have to choose from. Few people would try to evade this pleasant choice. You don’t see many people tossing a coin as they inspect the menu. You would not dream of closing your eyes and sticking a pin in the menu. You would feel you had lost out if someone else chose for you, or if only one of the dishes was available. A decision can be seen as a menu. Different possibilities for your life are laid out before you. You are the one to choose. If you don’t choose for yourself, if you don’t devote your attention to the decision as you would to a menu, then you will lose out.

Reasons for Common Attitudes to Making Decisions

We can explore the differences between choosing a dish from a menu and making an important decision to discover why a menu fills us with eager anticipation while an imminent decision provokes dread and ultimately avoidance. Clearly the consequences are on different scales. The worst consequences of a poor choice from a menu are a meal we don’t enjoy, a bill we can’t afford to pay, or a stomach upset. The best consequence is simply an enjoyable evening. The consequences of an important decision may, on the other hand, affect your happiness or success for years to come. How strange that we should devote such close attention to a menu, then, while ignoring and avoiding decisions of consequence! But this pattern of behaviour is, in fact a familiar one. We spend a lot of time in straightforward activities, where success is likely and the penalties of failure slight, while we avoid difficult tasks with high potential costs and benefits.

The time scales of a menu choice and an important decision are of course very different. Most menus can be read thoroughly in a few minutes. A few important decisions can be dismissed even in a few hours. We find it difficult to sustain our concentration-and focus on the matter in hand. It is easier to rush the decision, and then forget about it.

Another fundamental difference between a menu-choice and an important decision is the amount of information you need for each. When you look at a menu, you already know most of what you need to make a good choice. If there are any dishes you do not recognise, a waiter can describe them you readily. If you have to make a decision such as whether to buy a particular house there are many and varied questions which need to be researched and answered before you are in a position to decide. Small wonder that we find this sort of decision daunting.

No one will criticise your choice of meal in a restaurant. The consequences affect only you, providing you are paying the bill. No one else is in a position to pass judgment on you, since you are the best judge of your own taste. When it comes to making decisions, however, we frequently come under fire from our friends, family and neighbours. ‘Back-seat decision, makers’ abound. We may be told “Everything would have been fine if you hadn’t decided to change your solicitor/take a part-time job/send your son to public school.” This kind of comment is very difficult to cope with, particularly since it could be true.

A Positive Approach to Making Decisions

It is clear that we have good reason to try to avoid making decisions, in the sense that we are correct in regarding the process as difficult and risky. Yet, it is also clear that we need to overcome the problems that decisions pose not by evading the issue but by mastering effective decision-making. Every tittle you rake a choice, you are asserting your individuality and power. You are actively taking charge of your life and determining its course, rather than passively awaiting the pushes and shoves of fate. Even apparently trivial, commonplace decisions, such as choosing what to cook for dinner, how to arrange the furniture, or which channel to watch on TV, are tiny assertions of freedom. Even their decisions offer us a chance for change and development.

Here, the concern is not everyday decisions, although the ideas developed can be applied to minor decisions as well as major. Here, the focus is on the most frightening decisions of all, those decisions whose effects will play a large part in shaping the rest of your life. These are the decisions which might make you reach for one of those executives’ toys, where a steel ball hangs suspended on a wire between several magnetic plates. We flick the ball and let its random jerks determine our choice, another denial of responsibility, and another missed opportunity to exercise power over our lives.

Hopefully, once you have read this composition, you will restrict the use of these toys to choices such as whether to have a bath now or wait until the 9 o’clock news. You will neither be irritated nor frightened at the prospect of making a decision, since you will have at your disposal a positive strategy for making the most of every decision that comes your way.

Discovering Your Own Attitude—The First Existence

How can you tell whether your own attitude to making decisions is based on fear and avoidance, or on assertiveness and determination? Naturally your attitude may vary from one decision to another. You may be very comfortable and confident with decisions in one sphere, troubled and insecure about decisions in another. In many marriages, for example, the husband will make important decisions as a matter of course at work, but rely entirely on his wife to make the decisions about their social life, their holidays, even their children. So, it is useful to consider your own decision-making pattern. As you read this you will be aware mat you have already made, or had made for you, many critical decisions. You have been educated within a particular system, you may be married or divorced, you may have children, you live in a particular part of the country with a particular daily routine.

One of the themes of this composition is the importance of organised thinking in making reasoned decisions. We have come to regard pen and paper as invaluable tools for organised thinking, so many of the exercises involve writing. It is helpful to see suggestions, ideas, arguments, pictures written or drawn

before you. Writing things down helps you to become separate from your ideas and to judge them with a degree of objectivity It also stops you pretending to yourself that you have ‘already thought of dozens of reasons why it isn’t a good idea’. How many dozens. Write them down and find out.

The first exercise in this then, involves pen and paper. Write down five major decisions that have been made which affected your life. For each decision write down who made it. Now write down who really made it! Then write down who was most qualified to make it.

Don’t spend too long on this. Often it is impossible to work out who was best qualified to make a decision, especially if you are still close to that decision in time. The list probably demonstrates three things. First, many decisions which were important for you were not made by you. Secondly, the real decision-makers are often behind-the-scenes people, who may never tell anyone to do anything overtly, but who maneuver them into a choice nevertheless. Thirdly, it is extremely difficult to judge who is most qualified to nuke a given decision even with the benefit of hindsight.

All these three things point to the importance of your taking charge of decision-making. You do not want, I presume. to be manipulated. Neither do you want second-best decisions to be made about your own, and one and only, life. So, rather than hand over responsibility, explicitly or implicitly, to someone else, whose competence to make such a decision will more often than not be open to doubt, you must make the decision yourself. Of course, you will take advice. We shall discuss this later. Having gathered as much information as you need however, you will make a choice. Then it will be your own mistakes that you live with, and every mistake will help you improve your decision-making ability.

That is not to say you will do everything in your own way without involving other people. Some of the best decisions are made by couples who have learnt to work together to achieve a goal–on no account to be confused with committees. who have learnt to work together to achieve nothing. The reins are in your hands, but they can be in more than one pair of hands at once. Here we want to stress your own importance. It’s your life—you are the one to make or mar it.

Discover Your Own Attitude

The first exercise may have enlightened you about your general attitude to decisions. This exercise is concerned with determining your attitude to any particular decision.

Think of a decision you must make in the near future. (If you can’t think of one, that probably tells you a great deal! Since the normal course of our lives imposes a whole series of decisions upon us if you can’t think of one which is coming up it suggests that either someone else is making the decisions for you or you aren’t practised at recognising decisions for what they are). In either case, write the decisions down. Now tick the word in each of the word-pairs below that best describes how you felt as you wrote the decision.

keen | indifferent

interested | bored

hopeful |despairing

calm | wavering

determined | wavering

If most of your ticks were for the second word in a pair. your attitude is negative and you probably won’t be able to make that decision effectively. If most of your ticks were la-the first words, you are well set to begin on a bit of effective decision making.

Effective Decisions When You Don’t Feel Effective

You have already taken the first step to ensuring that fear or irritation does not compromise your decision-making. Yet: have recognised your attitude. You have recognised that you don’t feel effective. You will be alerted to your own desire to avoid or rush the decision. You cannot change your attitude by an act of will. But you can engage in effective decision-making despite your attitude. The steps can be followed whatever your attitude. They are practical. They will be harder to follow if you do not enjoy making decisions. In addition, as you make more and more decisions using the approach described in this composition, your attitude will change as a consequence. Because you will have a strategy for tackling decisions, you will be less frightened. Because you will have seen how the effectiveness of your decision-making affects your life, you will be less bored. For the very fearful, however, here is just one exercise designed to make starting on that process a little easier.

Starting to Change Your Attitude—The First Exercise

Decision-making is important but the lack of it is not life-threatening. Write down one good decision you have made, and one disastrous one. Then list the consequences of each. Try and choose decisions which you made sufficiently long ago to know now of just about all the consequences. Here is an example:

A good decision—to change my job from teaching to accountancy.

Consequences—more interesting work, good social life attached, much more money, travelling rather a chore, nights away from home, less security, more status, less time for my children, afford nice house, nice holidays.

A bad decision—to move to Newcastle.

Consequences—miss our friends, schools bad. cannot afford to move back South into a nice house, cold weather, cat run over.

The first point is that you will have already noticed that it is virtually impossible to guarantee you know all the consequences of a decision. Even if you put down decisions you made decades ago, you will have realised that they may Avian have effects on you future life, as yet unanticipated. So we can learn from this that there is no such thing as the best decision (or the worst decision). Do not spend any time at all ‘editing for the best decision. Just spend whatever time is available on making a competent one. You would have to have a crystal ball to predict everything your decision will entail. If you develop the skill of reasonably quick, reasonably competent decision-making, however, on the whole your life will be more the way you want it.

The second point which follows from the exercise is that, self evidently, even your bad decision was not the end of the world. Probably even as you wrote it you were thinking that it was not so bad after all, that if you hadn’t made it you would never have met John/seen Austria/been able to laugh at misfortune, whatever. People do die from decisions, of course, all the time. But you are even more likely to die from failing to make a decision. So, it is unlikely that single, or even a series of bad decisions will ruin your life. On the other hand, if you practise the skills and attitudes discussed in this composition, the quality of your life may be enhanced.


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