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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

The Art Of Decision Making

Robert Stevenson Blog - Right Arrow says one way, left pointing arrow says another way

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!


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