Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes (Oscar Wilde)

images-31Experience is a word we hear a lot in life, especially in the business world.  You need experience to apply for a job, get funding to start a business, or get promoted.  Experience, per se, however, is not exactly what we are looking for.  What we really mean is, we want someone who will make good decisions on the job, and we think the best way to get that is to hire/promote/fund someone with “experience”.  I know what you’re thinking–“Chris, this is just semantics!  I’m not going to spend my precious time reading this post–it’s almost NFL draft weekend and I need to study up!”  Well, trust me for a minute and read on.  Besides, don’t waste your time trying to guess on the draft–even the guys who get paid to do nothing but analyze it have atrocious track records

The words we use are incredibly important and, in my opinion, underrated.  I will write more about this in a later post, but suffice it to say that more precise word choices lead to more precise thinking, which leads to better decisions (or, at the very least, less second-guessing your decisions).  So, let’s start with making sure we all agree on what the word decision means.  Once that is clear, we can move onto how to make them.

Tony Robbins talks about this–‘decision’, from the Latin root, means to cut off from.  Think scissors, incisors, they all have something to do with cutting.  (Interesting quote from Victor Hugo on this:  “Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.”)  When you think about the word this way, it has a scary feel of finality to it.  And that is exactly the point.  The word cut, in all of it’s forms, is final.  You can’t “uncut” something, even though R-rated movies released on DVD would like you to think so!  Those are, more accurately, “precut”, but I digress.  A statement that you make about an activity you will take going forward is not a decision if it does not make you absolutely count out other options.

This sounds scary but it’s really not.  We do it all the time.  When you go to a restaurant, for example, it may take you forever to decide what to order.  Most likely, you tell people (or your friends and/or spouse tell people) “I can never decide what I’m going to order!”  If that were true, that means you always leave the restaurant hungry, never having eaten.  Is that true?  Heck no!  The truth is you can always decide what to eat, and you know you can because you do it every time you go to a restaurant.  It may be slow, it may be ugly, and it may bring your friends to the brink of homicide, but it (eventually) happens every single time.

I used to be one of those “long time ordering” in a restaurant people.  Not only was it painful, but I usually ended up regretting my choice a little bit and second-guessing myself (and maybe even beating myself up about it).  Once I switched to the idea that “I’ll peruse the menu once, decide, and don’t look back”, I seem to be much happier with my choices.  I’m not sure if I’m actually making better ordering choices or not, but I’m happier and so are the people who went out to eat with me!  Try it yourself, note how it goes, and then start looking for other places to do it in life & business.  Start small, like ordering meals, but be final about it to start working your decision-making muscle.  Let me know how it goes in the comments!

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