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.