My Superpower? Seeing Inside People

If you asked me what one of my strengths is, perhaps I’d choose to tell you that I see things in other people that they themselves either don’t see at all, or they are surprised because so few people see it. Many others have this skill and ability, and it’s probably why we gravitate to the helping professions; jobs and careers where much of our time is spent helping other people.

If you think I’m boasting, I’m not. What I’m doing is stating an ability that I have, which is one of my strengths. If put to the test or asked for an example, I could do it in a relatively short period of time, even when meeting someone just once and within a few moments. It’s my superpower. You yourself undoubtedly have skills and abilities that have become well-developed in your job over time, so it stands to reason that I’ve developed job-specific skills too, and this is just one of them.

I’ll give you two examples that just happened yesterday. In one situation I was speaking with a group of seven people about a number of options they might want to pursue in order to become financially independent. It was when addressing the topic of self-employment that I looked right at one man and said, “You for example may have not only one idea, but three or four businesses in mind, and your problem is you can’t focus on one and so you’ve never got started. At that point I could have stuck an Italian sausage in his mouth as it opened in wonder that I’d identified his key stumbling block to even getting going. “Wow! How did you know that? It’s been my problem for years but nobody knows that!”

In the second case, a woman in the same group was sitting with her legs entwined like a pretzel, her shoulders hunched, way too much foundation on her 18-year-old face, and her wide eyes and downcast head screamed that she was shy, introverted and probably hiding acne and as a result feeling insecure. In talking with her 1:1 a short time later, I ventured that as a teenager myself, I had once had an acne problem which had affected my self-confidence but over time it disappeared and I gained the confidence to look in the mirror and like what I see. “You and I both know that there’s a beautiful face emerging and that acne is only temporary.” I said. She shifted in an instant to a talkative young woman who had great eye contact and she said, “Really? Do you really believe that? I mean some people say that but then I think they have to. Do you really believe that?” And I do.”

Now sometimes this ‘super power’ is one I keep to myself or reveal gently rather than with fanfare. There are times I’ll look at a person and tell them that I suspect they’ve been told over a number of years by someone who should have treated them the best that in fact they are worthless and will never amount to anything. And in those moments, sometimes tears start, heads drop, or heads raise and they’ll say, “Is it that obvious?” or, “How did you know that? My dad always told me I’m a loser.” They generally don’t believe me when I then go on to name several characteristics and personality traits they have that I admire and in which they might like to acknowledge.

Now on the sad side, I’ve sat listening to people tell me how successful they plan to be and drone on about their long-term employment goal or entrepreneur idea, and I’ve seen enough in a few moments to tell me that it is never going to happen. And I mean ever. While I’m not one to intentionally put an end to someone’s life-long dreams, there is often a gulf between what a person is really capable of and what they think they are capable of, even with support and advice. Sometimes it’s best to say nothing, and sometimes it’s best to tell it like I see it and then help to reconstruct a realistic plan in which someone can move forward.

And please don’t think I believe I’ve got all the answers. I’m not playing God here and telling people what they should be when they grow up or do to live their lives as I think they should. It’s only about helping them, and sometimes helping people means being honest and direct. Having an ability to anticipate how someone will likely react and delivering things they probably need to hear but don’t want to hear can actually be what they’ll thank you for later. It’s how the message is relayed more than the message itself at times; with compassion and sensitivity.

So if you are in the helping profession, do you have this super power too? I bet the more you deal with people, the better you have become at reading them; seeing the good and the potential when they can’t see it in themselves. I’m guessing you have provided a word or two of encouragement when they were so low they didn’t think anyone could like them, believe in them and see them as valuable.

Well done Superhero’s.

The Sting Of Being Released

One of the most painful and demeaning things that a person can experience occurs the day you are told your services are no longer required and you’re walked off the premises of your now previous employer.

Shock. Anger. Pain. Disbelief. Acceptance. Fear. Apprehension. Shame. Embarrassment. Uncertainty. Gut-wrenching. Numbness. Whatever you feel at that moment, it’s right for you and there’s nothing to apologize for. It can feel like you’ve had your head hit with a brick. You’re disoriented and in unfamiliar territory. And that feeling is unsettling.

If you are fortunate, the news isn’t really news at all; you’ve had some pre-warning of this moment, as in the case when a company is going through a long process of shutting down operations and moving. But in that situation, the other fundamental difference is that this is a shared experience with other employees.

What is worse however is a situation where you have no warning whatsoever and you’re the single target of those above you who have made a decision to cut you loose and you’re powerless to do anything about it but accept it. How you act at this moment may be out of character as your defensive mechanisms kick in and you struggle to orient yourself after receiving this life-altering news. You might find yourself saying things you’d never have thought of before; swearing and cursing, raising your voice, yelling, demanding answers, even begging for your job in a desperate attempt to keep it.

Furthermore, if handled poorly by the person delivering the news, it can be a humiliating experience if the surroundings in which the news is being delivered is a public space or an area within earshot of other staff. It’s not hard to imagine your embarrassment as you open the door to a common area after hearing the news and faces of your former colleagues are averted, tearful, smirking or just obviously uncomfortable and likewise in shock.

The setting for getting the news of being fired is much like the setting for getting hired; you don’t have much control over this and it’s chosen by the person chosen by the company to deliver the news or conduct the interview as the case may be.

Here’s some advice for dealing with such news if or when it should land on your doorstep. There are a few things you can do NOW while you are still gainfully employed. First and foremost, whenever you get a good performance appraisal, a note of praise and thanks, or positive written feedback, keep a copy at work but keep the originals at home. After all, if you are escorted off the property empty-handed, the last thing on your mind will be to get these things, and you probably won’t be allowed to touch any files or computer to retrieve these things because of a fear of sabotage even if watched. They want you gone; now.

In addition to the positive evaluations you’ve earned, you should have some way of contacting people within the company who you’ve had good dealings with. If the woman in Purchasing you’ve only ever known as Brenda could help you out significantly by acting as a reference, you might find your ties severed if you can’t call her personally outside of the workplace. In fact, all your networking contacts will be sitting on your desk and of no use to you unless you’ve thought to keep some kind of home directory.

But immediately after you get the news, I’d like to suggest two primary choices you can make – either one of which might be the best advice for you personally. I’d suggest you either dive directly into a job search, especially if you know exactly what it is you want to do next. Some people are good at dealing quickly with this loss and moving on. But the second choice is to take up to a week to do nothing. By restricting your socializing and job searching, you can get angry, yell, write hate letters you’ll never send, mope around and grieve. Avoiding others for a week might keep you from giving people the wrong impression, or alienating yourself from people who can help you later.

There are some good things about losing a job. If you’ve been unchallenged and running on auto-pilot for years, this could be the push you needed but would never have taken on your own. This is an opportunity to change directions, try something you’ve wanted to do, go back to school and re-tool yourself.

Apply for any Employment Insurance or benefits immediately. If you are entitled, they will likely pay you funds from the day you apply; NOT the day you lost your job – so get at it! Think seriously about seeing a Mental Health Counsellor and a family Doctor. Be honest and tell them about the news and get a physical/mental health look-see.

This isn’t a good time in your life. Guard against going into a shell of silence which can bring on dark places and thoughts. Stay connected and let your family and friends know. Ask for help; this is wisdom not weakness. Visit an Employment Resource Centre and tell them your story and be honest. Ask them straight up – “I need help. What can you do for me?”

Regarding finances, tighten things up where you can now. Call for lower interest on your credit cards, cut the magazine subscriptions, get a cheaper phone and data plan.

I feel for you. While getting fired and released doesn’t hold the stigma it used to, it still stings.

Stuck In A Job?

Here in Canada, a trend that is currently happening is that a large number of people are moving quickly toward retirement. This is a massive number of people, and as such, there is going to be an equally large number of jobs becoming available in the next 10 – 15 years as those people make individual decisions to give up their employment. For many it will come with some disappointment that they are no longer working at jobs they loved, while for others it will come with great relief that they can finally walk away from jobs where they’ve been stagnating for years.

One of the harsh realities for many people is that in their late 40’s and early 50’s, they come to realize that their current jobs no longer bring them the happiness and opportunities they once promised. The climb to the top has stalled, the job becomes routine, the days a repeat of previous days, and the likelihood that things will change diminishes.

Now personally, I know of 8 people who are in this situation; some are my best friends, and some are colleagues. What’s more is that I’m willing to bet that if I really went out of my way to ask other people I know, I’d see this number rise even more.

What all 8 of these people have in common is a sense of growing frustration and acceptance, and a diminishing of their capability to do anything about it. Can you identify with them? For example, one is a Senior Manager in a large corporation who is only using a fraction of the skills and knowledge he has to do his job. It’s not that he wouldn’t like to do more, it’s because his superiors are holding him back out of their own ignorance. They don’t have his training, and as things are running just fine in the company, why introduce change where change is not needed in their eyes? So just keep doing the same thing they’ve always done, running it the same way its always been done.

Another guy is at the top of his franchise. The only other place for him to go is head office in another city or leave the company entirely and take his skills somewhere else. His problem is very complicated with financial commitments and not being able to uproot his family and move to another town. Marital break-ups can do that to a person. And to be gender fair, I know a woman who is in 2014 stuck lacking the courage to take a big leap of faith by quitting and doing something boldly new. She’s been stuck for 5 years now feeling unfulfilled and spinning her wheels. She doesn’t want to get promoted because she doesn’t want what comes with that job, and her own job is something she could do blindfolded and in her sleep she feels.

Now I’ll tell you this; as an Employment Counsellor, I have had 1:1 talks with some of these people. They know what I do for a living and they know they can count on me to listen to them and support them if they seriously want to make a change. But I know too that I can’t live their lives, and their choices are their choices to make. Even not making a change is still a choice; a choice to keep things the same and carry on.

In a perfect world, wouldn’t we all do things that we find stimulating and interesting? We’d be paid increasing salaries as we grow, and each day when we did whatever it is that we do, we’d come home feeling good and fulfilled giving thanks for the wonderful jobs and careers we have that bring us such satisfaction. Well maybe for some. For others, a perfect world would mean we only work 3 days a week or some variation, and we enjoy the other days doing our own thing with enough money to live the way we want.

Are you stuck in a job or career where you need the money it provides and there’s little opportunity to change much? Feel trapped? Despite the outward appearance each of these people show to the world, when deep in conversation on a one-to-one basis each gets very serious and I can easily pick up their discontent. It must be frustrating to know you need a change and yet feel change is the very thing you cannot do or will not risk.

The issue in one’s 40’s or 50’s is the commitments one has at that point. There’s spouses and children, parents that need supporting, social convention that says you should have made it career-wise by now, mortgages and financial obligations, and a growing realization that only a finite number of years are left to build that retirement nest egg. With so many other people looking for work, not only would your job be filled within a week, the number of other people you’d be competing for other jobs with is alarming. And the result is keeping the status quo.

The danger in all of this is growing despondent and depression setting in; a feeling of failure and a life of unhappiness ahead. That’s what they tell me. As a colleague and personal friend to some, I feel for them. This column doesn’t come with easy fixes either. While I could dispense ideas and advice, this time around I just want to highlight the situation.


When You Disagree, Do It With Class

Right off the bat I hope you will agree with me that disagreements are inevitable, and having a view on something that is not shared by everyone else is going to happen. When you find yourself disagreeing with someone else, remember that how you handle the situation is almost as important as the outcome of the disagreement itself.

Now when you disagree, it may be where it’s only between yourself and one other person. They have a view, and you have a view. Sometimes the disagreement can be resolved by looking into facts, and gathering evidence to support one view or the other. So in the case of you believing the photocopy machine is working fine and someone else thinks it isn’t, get up and together attempt to photocopy something. When it either works or doesn’t, issue resolved.

Sometimes too, you might find yourself holding onto a view that is in the minority. Now you still might be right, but your opinion or view until proven is not shared by most of those around you. If there is a way to come to conclusive proof one way or another, that evidence can quickly get a group moving again instead of holding a debate. So if you think it’s going to rain tomorrow and spoil the company picnic, but most other people think it should still go ahead because skies at the moment are sunny, you could check the forecast and make a decision. You’ve gathered informed opinions of others based on atmospheric data, and can make an educated decision.

Sometimes however, there is conflicting evidence. So it could be that in one part of the country some trends go one way, and in another part of the country, the same trends are not happening. And as we are daily in positions to converse with people from around the globe, we are often dealing with people whose experiences to date are different from ours. In other words, what we have experienced as fact and beyond debate is not a shared experience. People in other areas have had different experiences than us, their data is different, and therefore the views they hold are opposed to our own.

You may also experience this on a micro level, where you sit around a table with people from other departments, who have different priorities, and have their own agendas. When what they want to accomplish or get out of a meeting doesn’t fit with what the rest of those assembled want, disagreements can emerge.

What generally happens in these situations is that some people immediately start to dig in. They get entrenched in their positions, and refuse to budge from their point of view, closing themselves off from the arguments of others, and are unwilling to consider views other than their own. If you are alert, you can recognize these people because they typically start counter-arguing while others are still talking. They’ve stopped listening whatsoever, and are already forming their next arguments sometimes in an attempt to bully others into compliance. The group decision is paramount to them and not the relationships of those involved.

Some people dont’ do well with disagreements at all. They’d rather give in and go with a view they don’t believe in if it means avoiding conflict and salvaging relationships with others. The danger here is that they don’t always share their reservations or viewpoints, and those are often the very views that the group can benefit from because otherwise they are holding back information the group might need to make the best decision.

When you find yourself in disagreement, first ask yourself how important the issue at hand is for you personally. So if the entire work group wants to order in Chinese and you’d rather have Mexican, it may be wise just to go along and order in Chinese, unless getting both is an option.

But when the stakes are higher, you may be less willing to ‘give in’ and go with the group, such as in the case of cuts in staffing needing to be made and your department being suggested as the place to start. In such a case you may find yourself more inclined to defend. It is integral however to listen to others points of view and the arguments they make and then with all the information, hold true to your position, revise your opinion as need be etc.

The key thing when experiencing disagreement is to do it with class. Listen to others, and make sure that you give them the opportunity to be heard and to express themselves. Not only will you perhaps get new data yourself, but it gives others the belief that they have been heard – and how things work out in the end isn’t always as important as making sure people feel heard and validated. This validation is especially true if people are to leave and actually implement directives resulting from what was discussed and agreed on by the majority.

One of the worst things you could do is appear close-minded; not willing to even entertain viewpoints other than your own, and impose yourself on others.

Respect for other people, other people’s points of view, and the realities in other departments, businesses or parts of the world is what we should all strive for; but that’s just my opinion!

I Planned A Workshop…Nobody Came!

It happens from time to time and for me it was yesterday.

I was scheduled to facilitate a workshop on preparing for and practicing interview skills. Now many people don’t particularly look forward to job interviews, and as its human nature to avoid things we don’t like if we can, this workshop isn’t famous for having high numbers. However, there are typically a group of 5 – 10 people who recognize the importance of learning how to interview well, especially as the stakes are so high.

But like I said, nobody showed up. Registration for this workshop is on a drop-in basis, and it makes the planning interesting. If you’re a seasoned workshop facilitator, you already understand the planning that goes into workshops and presentations, and I imagine you’ve had your expectations exceeded or not met. But if you are new to facilitating and presenting, or possibly thinking about taking on this kind of employment, you’ll appreciate my experience perhaps as a learning opportunity.

Now right off the bat, I want to state that many of the workshops I run require pre-registration. When you have pre-registration you certainly know how many you need to prepare for, and you can get all your handouts ready etc. But some of the workshops I am asked to run are drop-in by nature, and the planning for these is very different.

The workshop yesterday was one I was really looking forward to as well, because I was including a student in it that’s with us over the summer, and giving her a chance to do some facilitating under a supportive eye is something she’s asked for. So we met two days ago and went over the agenda, what she might want to take on and lead, and what she would rather not do in case she became overwhelmed due to lack of experience.

So I showed her the flip charts I’d prepared, walked her through the process from the moment people start to arrive, how the set up of the room enhances or not the participation level of those in attendance. I explained how we’d start off just getting names and desired occupations, then list any questions they dread or fear in an interview, and how after getting their opinions, I’d share with them what I believe an interview actually is in fact.

Ah, it was magical. There I was, this seasoned Employment Counsellor all in my element. After all, I was talking to her about something I love doing, so I was confident, enthusiastic and glad to be sharing this. “It’s critical to be prepared”, I said, and pulled out one of the 10 folders I had constructed to give to participants. The contents of the folder were a pen, notepad, blank sheet for notes, one thank you card and envelope, and 15 pages of tips, suggestions, definitions, strategies, an interview format to follow and sample questions that might come up.

“Wow, they’ll get a lot of stuff!”, she said. I’ll admit when I heard and saw her reaction I was pleased. After all, I’m highly aware that this person is going to be potentially entering a career where she may be doing what I’m doing and reaching others. If I can get her to plan things out in detail ahead of time so the workshop flows smoothly, and take it this seriously ahead of people arriving, she’ll be in a position to be more comfortable, and that will translate into a better experience for clients who are nervous themselves.

So the morning came and the handouts were ready in the blue glossy folders. The flip charts sequentially ready to whip out as we progressed, and the attendance sheet ready for signing in. I opened the doors 30 minutes before we were due to start and waited. Even at the appointed start time with no one in the room I waited. Sometimes clients arrive 10 minutes late. But the dawning realization got more and more certain. Nobody was coming.

And this is a great lesson to learn. So I laughed with our student and told her that despite no one showing up, the advanced preparation should always be exactly the same. All those folders and flip charts can be used next time around and so they don’t go to waste. While disappointing, it’s also not doing any good to take things personally. After all, it’s not like we advertised, “Interview Workshop starring Kelly and Allana – come one come all!” Had we done this, it may have been a personal slight. Like I said earlier however, not many see a voluntary workshop on interviews as a must see event. For many, it’s like not thinking you need any dental work, but making an appointment just to see if they can find anything new.

Oh and lest you think the lesson ended there, it didn’t. What we did after cleaning up is talk with our colleagues and find out where we could help out. Unexpected help is always welcomed around here, and even if no one took up us on our offer of assistance, there would be other work to do. Sometimes just going up to a client in a drop-in resource centre and saying, “Hey I’ve got some time, anything I can help you out with?” gets you busy.

Failing anyone needing or wanting help, there’s always planning and revising existing presentations to be done. Good workers take initiate and keep busy. I learned that years ago.

Get Going

Some of the best personal or professional advice you can give yourself and act on is to get going. Start. Now. Be it small or large, a baby step or a full stride, get going. No matter what your short-term or long-term goals are; or even if your short-term goal is to figure out your long-term goal, get going.

Nothing happens until you do something. And the key word in that previous sentence is the word, “do”. So many people – including myself in that number – have at one time in their lives (or far too often in some cases) been guilty of never moving past the stage of thinking. The thinking stage is characterized by statements such as, “I should think about losing some weight.” “I should really think about what I want to do with the rest of my life.” “I should give some thought to my retirement.”

Sadly for some, nothing more really ever happens. The result of not acting and doing anything to move beyond the thinking stage can be long-term depression. With issues of weight, a person notices their body isn’t what they’d like it to be, so they think about losing some weight. If they don’t move beyond this stage, they can start to mentally beat themselves up for not taking action, then console themselves with comfort food, which makes the problem worse, and still the ever-present urge to lose weight remains. While the cycle continues, over time weight actually increases, and so does the poor self-esteem, and voila…poor self-image and regret followed by depression.

Jobs and careers are much the same way. We don’t come with a pre-defined career into this world. And this lack of pre-defined role often leads others to ask us what it is we would like to do. Hence the, “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” question. My inner clown always wanted to answer this question with, “Older.” Hey, I could never be wrong. Do you notice the question uses the word, “want” as in “want to be?” And there’s the sticking point for many people; they simply don’t know what they want, and without knowing this, they can’t move with confidence towards some career or goal. The result? Inaction.

And much like doing nothing about losing weight can lead to poor-self image, doing nothing about moving forward with a job or career can lead to depression too. While some pressure comes from other people in the form of questions like, “Why don’t you do something with your life?”, the real motivating pressure has to come from yourself. How bad do you want something requiring change?

So let’s assume for a second that you haven’t figured out what you want to do career-wise. Nothing wrong with this; you’re normal. Really you are. But like I said at the start of this piece it’s time to get going. The first thing I want to share with you is that THERE IS NO SINGLE CAREER THAT ALONE WILL GUARANTEE YOUR HAPPINESS. There are many jobs and careers that you would ultimately find rewarding and fulfilling. Stop putting pressure on yourself to find that single career.

So if you like serving people, you might find customer service fulfilling, or being a Cabdriver, Nanny, Employment Counsellor, Teacher or Fitness Trainer. All those jobs move others forward to their goals. If you like to entertain others maybe you’d be a good Musician, Magician, Comedian, Singer, Film Maker or Comic Book Writer. One of my colleagues does an activity with her groups called ‘Rock Star’. Being a Rock Star is a job, but how many jobs surround that Rock Star that might be fulfilling to someone who craves that kind of life? Some groups come up with 40 or 50 jobs like Agent, Roadies, Bus Driver and Sound Technicians.

Do Something. Make a phone call and speak with a Career Counsellor. If you know what you want to do but don’t know the steps to take to get there, a Career Counsellor can help you with this. Here’s a tip: instead of planning forward, (as in what’ the very first step?), plan backwards. See yourself in that ultimate role. What were you doing just before you arrived there? And before that? And before that? Working backwards, you end up where you are today, and now have each step before you. And guess what? All that thinking produced your map. Follow it.

But what as I said earlier if you haven’t got a master plan and don’t know what would be interesting for you to do? Stop thinking there is only one ultimate destiny for yourself and doing nothing for fear of making the wrong choice. So who really cares if you take a job as a Perfume Counter Salesperson and that’s not it? Do it to the best of your ability and think about what’s both good and bad in the job as you see it. Then try something else. In each job, learn what you like and don’t.

The average person goes through 8 different jobs as an adult and 3 major career changes. And that’s just the average. That means the average don’t get it ‘right’ the first time, but it was maybe what they needed at the time. I for example consider myself to be a very good Employment Counsellor. But had I started in this role at 23 years old, I wouldn’t be as good as I am today without doing many other things first.

Get going!

A Proven Way To Improve Your Life

Should you be extremely cautious of anyone guaranteeing your life will improve if you only follow their advice? ABSOLUTELY! Right up front, I’ll tell you there’s nothing to buy, this isn’t a scam, and at the end of this read, you will I trust get the point without getting stung.

Although I’ve posted blogs before on this topic, I want to put a different spin on it today; something you can actually do from this day forward and I’m willing to bet things will improve. Okay so what is it I’m in danger of building up too much and not revealing? Why it’s decision-making.

Simply put, if you made different decisions in the past about the big things, your life would be very different from what it is today. And honestly, if you had made different decisions about the little things, the big things might have ended up differently too. But the key isn’t to lament the decisions you made that went wrong, the key is to make better decisions now; today and each day in your future.

Ah but how to make good decisions when you’ve got a history of making poor decisions? That’s a necessary and good question to pose. The answer is to put off making decisions until you have gathered the information you need in order to make an informed choice. When you make decisions without the facts, it’s like flipping a coin and you may make a good decision or it could turn out badly.

A practical example would be helpful I’m sure. Let’s look then at the issue of buying a car. Some will walk into a showroom with no intention of buying on their visit and leave having made a purchase. What happened? Well, the allure of a new problem-free car, all shined up with that new car smell, and a time-limited discount on financing…it’s all too good to pass up. After the sale however, the buyer notices that the service schedule calls for service every 8,000 kilometres, and each service runs about $250.00. Then the fuel economy isn’t what they’d hoped for, and while it has some of the technology like bluetooth and satellite radio, those come at an additional cost after a 4 month free trial period. The deal starts to look less favourable, the radio subscription and bluetooth aren’t continued, and it’s too costly overall to run. But hey, it looks great in the garage!

The same advice is what I’d suggest about school and upgrading education. Suppose you’re drawn to the appeal of being a veterinarian. Taking care of animals is what you’ve always been good at; taking them for walks, scratching their tummies, and looking after the neighbours when they are away. So you pay a private school money you took on loan to take a Vet course, and after taking the 6 month course that seemed to promise so much, you get a certificate that no Vet practice will recognize. No, to work in your area as a recognized veterinarian, you need to have a 2 year University degree from a provincially recognized institution.

In the example above your money is gone, as is the six months you invested, and so too is your trust and your hopes. Now you’re bitter. On the other hand, it would have been prudent to call up a few Vets and ask them if they recognize certificates from the school you are considering taking a course. If they continually say they don’t, don’t invest your time and money. If they do, take the course with confidence.

In short, it’s this information gathering, commonly referred to as research that is critical. While some people will scoff at doing research because it takes too much time and they don’t know where to start, the same people generally make poorer decisions. Get into the habit of not bothering to do research before making a decision, and that pattern will continue and your small decisions go badly followed by the bigger decisions.

Ironically, it’s often easy for people to recognize when their friends are making bad choices based on little information. Take a person whose telling their closest friends that they are ready to have sex for the first time. “What do you know about him or her?” is often the first question asked. In other words, “Have you done your research?”

One last example concerns home buyers. Some people go out, get attracted to the granite counter tops in the kitchen and the soaker tub in the on-suite bathroom and the high ceilings and put in an offer because they don’t want to lose out to another buyer. They skip the home inspection because they think that’s an unnecessary expense, and they when doing a minor renovation find mould in the walls, and the whole kitchen they fell in love with has to be ripped out and brought up to code. Research, research, research.

To sum up, doing research until you have enough information to make an informed choice will improve the chances of making good decisions. Even the phrase, “an educated guess”, actually refers to people who based on their experience and research, make guesses summing up all their past experiences and knowledge to date which increases the likelihood of being right more than wrong.

The best decisions are made not on the spur of the moment or emotion alone, but when research indicates one choice is wiser than another.