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It pays to think – Why taking 5 to contemplate will get better results

By Tim Fuell - April 11, 2014

Every decision you make has an impact on the things that follow. A sliding-door moment, a what-if, influence of fate… whatever you call it, making that decision, however small, could have far-reaching consequences, so it pays to make sure that the decision is made to the best of your ability.

Acting on a hunch or a gut-reaction can be great and very often is the right course of action, but it does pay to stop, take a step back and just think for 5 minutes before you rush head long into something. In the modern era, 5 minutes may sound like forever, but actually it is your decision that is forever and a 5 minute delay is very rarely going to make or break a deal.

Image courtesy of patpitchaya - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of patpitchaya – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Taking 5 means just giving a decision the once over again. Think about all potential implications. The new deal may sound great but can you realistically meet the demand or will it leave you too stretched on other things that in the longer term it will be detrimental? Will you tying up with that partner leave you isolated from other potential partners and deals? Are there others around you who may have a better insight to help you make a more informed decision before you commit? These are some of things to consider in that five minutes, but once you have made the decision remember these important tenets too:

You won’t get it right every time

As US TV’s Dr Phil says:

“Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.”

Even after taking 5, that may not be long enough but dwelling on making a decision can often be more damaging than going ahead with it. Don’t put off for the sake of putting off and keep in mind that even the best make mistakes, but learning from those mistakes and making good whatever the fall-out from them is will actually help you make better decisions in the future. It is a constant learning curve.

Once it’s made… move on

Of course, it is important you learn from any decision you make and understand the feedback as the repercussions unfold but as former US President Harry S. Truman is quoted as saying:

“All my life, whenever it comes time to make a decision, I make it and forget about it.”

What’s done is done. You can’t reverse time, and trying to change a decision will cost you more valuable time than it is worth in the long run. Make sure you learn but don’t dwell on it.

Don’t rush into decisions. Remember one decision could push two or three potential other options further away. It’s like dominoes, once one topples, there may be no going back, so taking five minutes before committing to a decision could just save you from heading off down a one-way street.