03 Feb How to Make Decisions – faster and better
Invite from a girlfriend for cocktails, shit-talk, and delicious-yet-gut-bomb-ish food?
Slept in and blew off the 8 a.m. yoga class you booked when you were feeling aspirational?
Co-parent shirks his responsibilities (again) and it feels justified to erupt all over him?
You made dinner, cleaned the house, shaved your legs and Mr. Wonderful storms, in talking about himself with complete disregard for your amazing-ness?
Your boss just assigned you two MORE “need this ASAP” items on top of the gazillion she assigned over the last week that you already couldn’t do if you had two more hands/weeks/personal assistants to do it all?
So . . . bottle of wine and Game of Thrones marathon or write in journal, stretch, and plan this week’s menu?
These are micro-examples of the situations we are faced with every.single.day of our lives. It’s exhausting and our decisions can keep us stuck and frustrated, while degrading hope.
One tool you can use to cut through all the crap and live a life of your own design is filters. Filters can help you make decisions instead of the default “how I feel in this moment” gut reaction that is laden with future regret and inertia.
ACTION & THOUGHT filters
Future Self Filter:
Flash forward to the future version of you. She is exactly where you had DREAMED she would be and saw exactly how this situation played out. If you ask her what you should do, what would she advise?
Here are some beautiful, powerful, satisfied, future-you versions you can embody right now:
- 1-hour-from-now YOU
- Tomorrow-morning YOU
- 10-years-from-now YOU
- Geriatric YOU
I have a dear friend who knows every ‘80s lyric, gives the best hugs, mans a mean BBQ, and is incredibly wise. One of my favorite sayings of his is:
“Kiss your ‘60s goodbye” (Hugs, DC!!)
Meaning ... it’s all fun and games now – ‘til your liver takes a shit on you or you’re faced with wrangling the carts at Walmart in your 70s to pay the rent. Because the results of our actions now don’t surface until later, when there’s not a lot we can do to remedy the fallout.
Is It a “Hell, Yeah?” Filter:
A man-crush of mine, Derek Sivers, of www.sivers.org pioneered this one so I can’t take credit for it, but I share it here because it’s applicable in a vast amount of situations. It slices through a lot of your mental BS, quick.
Triple-chocolate brownie, salted caramel, vanilla bean ice cream sundae? Binge watch The Handmaids Tale? Charge a new set of Lululemon’s? Share some juicy gossip?
Is it something that’s simply an available option or is it something that you can make a case for a firm “hell, yeah!” to, if your future self was staring you in the face?
Resultant Feeling Filter: Let’s use the triple-chocolate brownie, salted caramel, vanilla bean ice cream sundae example.
- Option A: Eat all the things!!!!!!!!!!!! How am I likely to feel?
- Option B: Have a tea instead and add a tally to my self-control column. How am I likely to feel?
ASK: Which one do I WANT to feel?
This is also uber-helpful with thoughts. Example: I sent Amelia a lovely gift, card, text, and invitation and she never even acknowledged it!!
- Option A: She’s a selfish bitch. How am I likely to feel?
- Option B: She must have a lot going on in her life, but I hope it made her feel good when she received it (consciously decide to move on). How am I likely to feel?
CAVEAT / KICKER: You will never actually know the true backstory. Even if Amelia gives you one. It’s all what you decide to believe. Select in favor of your mental health.
Crystal Ball Filter – What is the likely result?
- Is it helping or hindering my progress?
- Is it energizing or draining me?
- Is it stagnating or growth-inspiring?
- Would I pick this if I had a choice of three options?
Using filters is a sneaky ploy to squeeze some wisdom out of a few precious seconds of mindfulness of your situation. It’s a powerful force that is moving your tush in the direction of your dream life.
Drop a comment on your situation, the filter you used to make the best decision, and the result! I am dying to learn from YOU!