Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

The Art of Decision Making

May 5, 2019

by Robert Stevenson

Back in 1920’s the life expectancy for a U.S. Mail pilot was a mere four years. Flying in bad weather was proving to be detrimental to a pilot. In fact, of the first forty U.S. Mail pilots, thirty-one died carrying the mail. Something had to be done to change the attitude of the people who were making the “DECISION” of when a pilot should fly. The pilots worked out a deal with their field managers. They said they would fly in bad weather if the field manager would be willing to get in the co-pilot’s seat and take-off and fly once around the airfield and then come back and land. If the weather was so bad, that the field manager was too scared to comply with that rule, then the pilot would not take-off. The year this rule was made, 1922, U.S. Mail pilots had zero fatalities.

American economist and social theorist, Thomas Sowell, phrased it this way: “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” When a decision is being made that involves other people, great leaders try and weigh all their options. Is there a better, easier, safer, less expensive way to do it? What alternatives are available and what will the consequences be if it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to. If you can live with the consequences, then give it a try. It is imperative to remember that decisions have consequences … maybe not for you, but for others. If “you” are not willing to take the risk personally, then why should you think it right to ask somebody else to. NEVER ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.

In all my years in business, I have learned two very important things about making decisions. 1. Ask yourself if you can live with the consequences if it fails, because if you can’t live with it – don’t do it. 2. NEVER doubt your decision, NEVER look back, NEVER SECOND GUESS, because if you do, those actions will help to sabotage your decision. The fastest way to kill a “Good Decision” ... is to second guess it.

You should also never make a decision because it is the easiest thing to do, nor should you make it based on convenience. Here are a few more things you should consider the next time you have to make an important decision:

  • Remember: All progress requires decisions.
  • Never compromise your integrity in any way.
  • Never let your emotions make your decision.
  • Understand, wise decisions seldom come from an angry mind.
  • What impact will this decision have on your family or company?
  • Don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.
  • Are you okay with this decision appearing on TV or in social media?
  • Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same thing.
  • Are the people who are influencing your decision looking after your best interests or theirs?

Making bad decisions is part of life. Decca Records decided to pass on signing the Beatles. Billionaire, Ross Perot, decided NOT to buy Microsoft for $50 million. NBC and CBS decided NOT to broadcast NFL Monday Night Football. Western Union decided NOT to purchase the patent on the telephone for $100,000. They felt it lacked “Commercial Possibilities.” 12 publishing firms made the decision to reject J.K. Rowling’s book, “Harry Potter.” But, we should all take note: Good decisions come from experience and experience comes from making bad decisions.

You are always one decision away from a totally different life; Decisions Determine Destiny, so make them wisely!

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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