5 Keys to Making Decisions

· October 16, 2016
When making decisions, it's important not to only thinking about yourself and your own well-being, but about what benefits those around you and for a common good as well. 

William James, the famous philosopher and psychologist from the early 20th century, made it clear through his work that regardless of the passage of time, one thing is still relevant today: making decision is one of the keys to happiness.

Happiness is like trying to keep your balance while standing on a table.  One step forward or one step back causes the whole situation to unravel, which is why your primary goal should be to make the right decisions to keep you at that perfect, balanced spot.

But we know that’s now always easy.  There are certain situations that will push you farther than you should go, which is when you experience that pit in your stomach, the fear, and the feeling like you’re losing control.

Other times your own thoughts make you take a step back. You end up stuck at some point in the past, and there, too, you lose your calm, security and peace.

Today we’d like to share with you 5 simple keys to making decisions more effective to help you be happier.


1. A new thought, a more powerful emotion

Sometimes there are very few things that end up being as powerful as learning how to change your thoughts, so you can thereby improve your emotions and perception of reality.

According to positive psychology, in order to be happy you have to believe that you deserve it. Something that seems so simple could end up completely changing your day to day life:

  • This changes your thoughts to prevent the negative or stressful events from becoming a wall, or rocks along the way.  Having a less fatalistic outlook definitely allows you to confront issues more holistically.
  • Losing your job, for example, can be traumatic.  But sometimes this forces you to start anew, and to even start projects that at times, are even more productive.
  • Breaking up with your partner, fighting with or losing a friend… All of these are also very tough situations that force you to live through certain kinds of grief, but sometimes these vital moments teach you to be stronger.

Making the decision to continue forging your own path and your own happiness is the philosophical rock in all these cases.

2. The ability to persevere

Persevering doesn’t mean simply tolerating anything, tolerating harmful situations, or getting stuck when met with adversity. Persevering also means fighting, working up strength, and most of all,  being resilient.

  • Neuropsychologists explain how the brain is designed to analyze everything negative that happens to you, and to learn from adversity.  You are stronger than you think, which is something you should never forget.

3. Pay attention, focus on the here and now

A lot of specialists in the mental health field talk about the amazing benefits of meditation or yoga.

If you aren’t very accustomed to these types of exercises, make sure you at least continue with simple habits like going out for walks, taking strolls, being silent and calm in a relaxed environment.

If you get used to being centered and calm, you will hold on to the present moment to be able to see your objectives and path where happiness lies.


4. Gratitude and humility

In order to be happy you must make decisions, and most of all, be humble. Wanting things outside of your reality that are not feasible can lead to suffering.

  • Taking things for granted and not being thankful for every beautiful thing around you means you’re wearing dark glasses that block you from your ability to be happy.
  • Your family, a peaceful, harmonious day, the health of your loved ones, your children’s happiness, the companionship of your pets… all of these are things you should be thankful for.

5. Being able to give and receive happiness

Sometimes people fall into a type of “materialistic happiness”, where each strategy, action and thought is oriented around bringing self-happiness. Slowly this deteriorates into a selfish lifestyle.

This is not right.

Happiness is like an energy that increases when shared. You have to be able to give happiness, while also knowing how to accept and receive it from others.

  • There’s nothing more gratifying than making decisions in which everyone wins and no one loses; whereby a change that you start benefits both people, that lets everyone see how life is more beautiful when the common good is shared.

One of the biggest wishes that everyone has is to arrive at that subtle and exceptional point of equilibrium in life when you tell yourself: “I’m doing well, I don’t want anything else.”

This feeling is a mix of internal peace, personal maturity, well-being and of course, happiness.

Always remember to make good decisions and listen to your heart.