Decision-making is a fine art. Many people struggle with the decision itself; where as other have a difficult time coping with the decision they have made. The balance of the two requires experience and courage. In my opinion, based off of my experiences, studies, and readings, I believe that I would be a very strong candidate for someone to look to for guidance in the conflict resolution process. However, to minimize errors the decision maker needs to act accordingly to the mentoring.
With good guidance nothing can truly be accomplished unless the person can empower themselves to make a tough decision, and this is what will limit their decision making errors. For my guidance I will give and example from my personal experience on how I made a tough decision and the steps I took to becoming completely satisfied with my choice. The steps can be broken down into separate sub-sections.
These sections would include evaluating the initial options to resolve the conflict, consequential effects of said options, the decision itself, then finally the aftermath of the decision which should resolve the issue at hand with minimal errors. For most people, the decision of which university to attend is a very time consuming task, that requires a large amount of analysis of certain variables that will impact the gratification of your four year experience greatly. It was no different for me either. However, unlike most people I also had to evaluate another set of variables that had to do with athletic opportunities, not only academic.
To those who may not know the athletic recruiting process is very timely. My journey starts back during my junior year of high school when I was legally allowed to speak with college coaches and different universities. At the time I was just elated to be on the radar of the coaches, but then realized the ramifications of making the wrong choice. By my senior year I had a very solid idea of where I would go, and which schools had expressed interest in my talents. These including the following schools: Penn State University, Pepperdine University, Rutgers University, and the University of the Pacific.
Each school had its advantages as well as disadvantages, so I had to really evaluate all of my options. This lead me to my first step in the process of avoiding decision making errors. My initial option analysis gave me an early idea of what I believed was what I was looking for, and that is a crucial step in making a decision. As a decision maker you have to know what outcome you really desire before you can make an accurate assessment and then decision. This is what actually led me to limit the list to just four schools instead of keeping my options so wide that I would be unable to truly get a feel for every team.
So as simple as this step seems, if you don’t know what you desire than its difficult to make your initial analysis of potential results. In my example, I had an idea of my goal, which was to go to the university that was able to challenge me academically as well as give me the tools to reach my athletic peak. The tougher portion of this process is definitely in step two. Projecting future outcomes usually is a very biased activity, swayed towards the positive possibilities. In our minds we all see the best outcomes for ourselves, yet it is paramount that within this step you must think as negative as possible also.
If you tell yourself that everything about the outcome will always be positive, you are just setting yourself up for failure. For myself I had to think of things such as extreme weather change, missing my family, proximity to my family, different cultural normalcies, etc. , but they only helped me shape a clearer vision of what I wanted as a result of my future decision. What helped me in this step was visiting the campuses of each of the schools and meeting faculty, and other athletes and figuring out what their perspectives are of the university.
In some situations this is not a viable option, so once again I will state the importance of really making sure you imagine as many negative outcomes as well as positive to ensure you truly know what your options are. By this point in the process you have an idea of what you want, and the variables associated to each of the choices you have. The decision itself is the culmination of the analysis and future projections you made. For me the main variables in my decision were how far away was I from my family, and then is the weather somewhat like what I am used too. In my mind I always ad a favorite option and after all the time thinking about what everything would be like, I realized University of the Pacific was going to be the best fit for me. It is relative close to my family, yet far enough to become my own person and not have to rely on the comforts of going home all the time. Also the climate is somewhat similar to what I was used to in Orange County with exception to the winter and summer months. Lastly, the academic services I would be provided are what set it over the top of all of my other choices. The coaches were elated to have me committed and now I thought the process was done.
The decision had been made, and my initial issue of which university to go to had be solved. However, now and still to this day, I am living with my decision, and like many decisions there have been wonderful times and there have been a few miserable times. These few miserable times are what convince me that I have made the right decision for my college degree. This step varies in length. Like I stated earlier I am still living with my decision three years earlier, but some people who are stuck a dilemma such as PB&J or ham and cheese wont have to deal with lingering effects.
The best way for me to execute this final step effectively is to keep an open mind. Having your mind made up and following a step-by-step plan is very efficient and simple, however in our complex lives you cannot always predict sudden changes that can greatly impact your current situation. Consequences do not always have to be negative and following this process will lead you to satisfaction. However if there ever is a time where you do make a quick decision there is always the opportunity to start this process over and reevaluate the options you have to help you make your decision.
For me the negatives out weigh the positives, and leave me feeling very content with my decision. I use this process daily and also try to help others with there decision making process. I unfortunately have dealt with consequences though. In my entire volleyball career here at Pacific, I have yet to be healthy for an entire season, and this has greatly impacted my psyche and overall experience here. With these negative consequences though, I have learned many things, and grown as a person.
It is unfortunate at times to think you have made the wrong decision, but optimism is a tricky little guy that can secretly guide you without you realizing it. In conclusion, I hope I have given you a path to help you decrease the errors being made in the decision making process. I think of all the things that I listed within this paper keeping an open mind is most important. Regardless of the quantity of analysis you have done and other things you have experienced, if you go into it already discounting it, and not seeing it as a viable option you are doing yourself a disservice.
You never know what you could be missing if you make a sudden decision without thinking about the consequences. It could turn out for the best, but most likely without following through with my process it could be an unfortunate outcome. I will leave you with these guiding words from the Buddha, “Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed. ”