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  • Writer's pictureStephan Mardyks

Back to Square One: The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Are Making - Decisions You Won’t Regret

How to Make Decisions You Won’t Regret

Back to square one text

I have an honorary degree in bad decisions.

Okay, not really, but have you ever wondered why we sometimes feel like our choices are the wrong ones: made at the wrong place and time? Sound familiar?

Well, it could be that you are making one (or more) of the 3 biggest mistakes that lead to decision regret. Let’s dive into them and talk about Alex’s journey!

1. Listening to other people’s opinions

“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” - Oscar Wilde

Alex had been feeling unhappy in his job for months but was paralyzed by the fear of being judged by his coworkers and family if he quit without another job lined up. So, he didn’t take any action and continued to plod along at work, unhappy and unfulfilled.

It’s so easy to become paralyzed by the fear of judgment from others. Sometimes, we grant too much power to what our friends, family, and colleagues might think about a given choice. Their unsolicited opinions press upon us until we second guess our own inner voice.

Don’t get me wrong - seeking wise counsel can be invaluable. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to trust your intuition over the noise of crowds. Quit worrying so much about what others think, and be confident enough to follow your own North Star.

The small voice inside of you (and it’s not always words) should be the loudest voice you hear. Learn to tune out the judgments and follow your heart.

2. Losing track of time

“The biggest mistake is you think you have time... Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.” - Buddha

Even though Alex knew deep down that he wanted to start his own business, he waited and waited to make the decision. He let opportunity after opportunity slip by.

Time kept on passing while he was waiting for the optimal timing to capitalize on a growing market. All the while, he could have had his business up and running – experiencing growth.

Picture of a wave

Timing is everything when it comes to decision-making. Some choices made too late are like a surfer who missed the wave. You’re left behind in regret, watching all the opportunity wash away.

Other decisions happen too soon ─ jumping ahead of the optimal timing by making impulsive choices. Patience pays off when big decisions are at hand.

The key is landing at just the right time ─ not behind, not ahead ─ but catching the wave at its crest. This means thoroughly understanding market trends, advice from mentors, and economic cycles... anything that might impact when a decision should be made.

Strategize on timing like a surfer studies the tides. Your success will build momentum.

3. Lacking in communication

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” - Attributed to Albert Einstein

When Alex finally worked up the courage to give his notice, he failed to clearly communicate to his boss and colleagues the reasons and thought process behind quitting. This led to confusion, speculation, and tension surrounding his departure. This also led to additional anxiety and questioning himself on whether or not he made a good decision.

After making a big decision, many of us fail to properly communicate it. We assume others understand our reasons and vision.

In the absence of crystal-clear communication, people will start making up their own stories. Misinformation and confusion spread.

Once you’ve made a decision - especially one that impacts others - communicate early and often. Be transparent about your reasons and thought process. Make it simple for people to grasp. Convey the “why” before the “what”.

In the end, Alex realized he should have ignored any judgments, strategically timed his transition, and clearly communicated the rationale for his big career change. Once he had finally made the change, he knew it was the right decision.

No more backtracking to square one. No more regret. No more 3 a.m. “what-ifs.”

Start trusting yourself. Lead with conviction. Celebrate what happens next.

What immediate applications can you find for this in your life?

Let's Get Moving!

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