Decision making – What resilient people do when they make the wrong choice

‘Quiet please… please be quiet… quiet… QUIEEEEEEEEEET… SHUT UP!!!!!!’

Suddenly the heated debate came to a halt and all eyes were on me.  I could feel a bead of nervous perspiration form on my forehead.  I only asked a simple question and you’d have thought the survival of mankind as we know it depended on the answer.  One at a time I looked each person squarely in the eye and said…

I’m fortunate in my work as a professional speaker on ‘Achievement Thinking’ to see a little of the world and a few years ago one client invited me to speak in Milan.  I decided to stay over an extra day after the event to do some site seeing and soak in a little of the local culture.

My hotel was on the outskirts of the city and I wanted to visit the city centre.  Being in an adventurous mood I chose to travel by public transport.  Luckily the bus terminus was a couple of hundred metres from my hotel.

My plan was to visit Milan Cathedral first.

By the way, my mother was Italian, I’m not fluent in Italian but good enough to understand what someone is saying and be understood.

So off I trot and after a few minutes I arrive at the terminus and there, bang smack in the middle, is one solitary bus.  I approach the conductor and ask (in Italiano, of course), ‘Could you please tell me the best way to get to Milan Cathedral?’

‘You’re on the right bus,’ he replies, ‘I’ll tell you which stop to get off and then you’ll have to take the tube for a couple of stops.  When it’s time for you to get off the bus I’ll give you further directions then.’

A woman clears her throat and politely interrupts, ‘Aherm, aherm, surely he’d be better getting the 584 bus which takes him just a couple of streets behind the Cathedral?’

‘No, no,’ squawks a man sat two seats away, ‘He needs the 79 bus then he only needs to travel one stop on the tube and that brings him directly in front of the Cathedral.’

‘You’re wrong, ’booms a voice from behind me, ‘It’s the 69 bus you need to take not the 79 so when you get on the tube one stop later you’ll arrive at the front of the cathedral.’

Five more people join in the debate and suddenly I feel like an episode of the Jeremy Kyle show has broken out around me.  All I need now is to participate in a DNA test to complete the experience.

After what seems like an hour but was in actual fact a few minutes the ‘discussion’ becomes very heated with each person as passionate as the other as to which is the right and/or easier route to take to the Cathedral.  The noise becomes unbearable as the group almost comes to blows.  I couldn’t contain myself and found myself saying…

‘Quiet please… please be quiet… quiet… QUIEEEEEEEEEET… SHUT UP!!!!!!!’

Suddenly the heated debate came to a halt and all eyes were on me.  I could feel a bead of sweat form on my forehead.  I only asked a simple question and you’d have thought the survival of mankind as we know it depended on the answer.  One at a time I looked each person squarely in the eye and said…

‘Thank you very much, I appreciate you’re all wanting to help.  I’m a tourist, I’m in no rush so it doesn’t really matter which route I take as long as I get there safely.’

I listened to their opinions and… made a choice.

The work we do, business and life is all about the choices we make.  Do I eat cake or shall I have some fruit instead?  Do I save or do I spend my hard earned cash?  Do I say something to this person about their behaviour or not?  We’re making choices all day long.

If we need to make an important decision often we ask for advice and, if we ask more than one person, often we receive varying opinions to achieve the same thing.  We already know there are usually many different ways to achieve the same thing.

Quite often we know the answers already, we just need our decision to be validated or to acquire permission to do something.

Now here’s something I’ve learnt in life, please read it then make up your own whether it serves you or not and if it does make sense use it.

Whatever you choose to achieve or not achieve in life, the responsibility is yours.  Listen to what others have to say, learn from their experiences and make up your own mind.  Choose the action you take and then take responsibility for your success or lack of it.

Give yourself permission to get things wrong.  If you make a decision that costs you dearly, do your best not to beat yourself up about it, learn from it and move on.

I’ve managed to keep my business afloat since 1989 and a little while ago, using the principles I use in business, I lost 100 lbs (45 Kgs) of unwanted flab.  Did I make mistakes along the way?  Sure, and I’ve learnt from the experience.

When I was in Milan the route I chose to take may have taken me a little longer than another route.  Along the way I took a wrong turn or two but got back on course and eventually arrived at my destination and more importantly I arrived safely.

Two things occurred to me about resilient and successful people.  They all had help, they all took advice from someone, they listened to what was said and then… made a choice.  They made a choice on the course of action to take and they took responsibility for their choices and actions.

Think about the successes you’ve had and I bet somewhere along the line you had help.  It might have been an introduction to someone, a suggestion of where to go, moral support or whatever and ultimately it was up to you to make a choice and take action and action you took.

All, if not most, resilient and successful people are failures.  WOW!  Now that IS a bold statement and it’s true.  You see, before they achieved their goal they made mistakes along the way, they failed.  ALL of them are still making mistakes after their successes they’re just managing those errors as best they can with what they’ve got, guess what… they’re just like the rest of us.

Are you ready to take responsibility for your own achievements and success?  If so, hang on it’s going to be a great ride.