How to Make Powerful and Fast Decisions

Bridge outside the Summer Palace in Beijing, China. I went to this place on a spur of the moment, a quick decision I was happy to have made!
Bridge outside the Summer Palace in Beijing, China. I went to this place on a spur of the moment, a quick decision I was happy to have made!

Decision making can be tough. At the end of the day our time and energy are our most valuable resources. The ability to make clear and powerful decisions is therefore a gateway to reducing wasted energy on unimportant things and providing a focus towards those things that really matter. Even just the act of decision making can itself suck the life out of you if you let it. Just think about the last time you deliberated over what to eat for dinner, what movie to see, what shirt to buy, what job to take!

I was reading Derek Sivers blog (he’s the founder of CD Baby and a great writer) and he illustrated a powerful tool for decision making. Here is his advice:

Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I’m trying:

If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then say no.

Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no.

I tried this advice out over the last few days and it has been incredibly powerful. In fact, you can apply this philosophy too all sorts of things. From figuring out what to eat for dinner, what activities to do or even who to hire. As an example of the latter, I was recently having a conversation with a co-worker about a potential candidate for a position on my team.

The co-worker was wondering if a recent interviewee would be a good fit. I simply said to consider if having the person on the team would get you excited and make you say ‘hell yeah, I want to work with this person.” If no, then there probably isn’t a good fit. The co-worker was clearly not super enthusiastic about the candidate, and this simple question just made his answer more clear to himself.

I also used this philosophy to decide on whether to go out last night. It was already 10pm and I was pretty tired from a long week of work, but I also wanted to see some friends I had not connected with in a while. They were all meeting up and it was sure to be a late night. I asked myself if I would have fun reconnecting with these folks…and of course the answer was “hell yeah.” My decision was made, even though my body was pretty tired. I am glad I went.

Try this little tool out for a week and see how it improved your own ability to make powerful and clear decisions in your own life.