Saturday, February 19, 2011

5 Steps to Make Effective Decisions

You wake up in the morning, no idea what to do for that day, open your e-mails, check your facebook account, sleep some more, go to work/uni/school, do something to act busy, wait for the time to clock out, go home, watch TV, speak to some people on the phone, then sleep.

The example above is of a person who is not decisive. When they woke up, they didn’t DECIDE what they had to do, they didn’t DECIDE what their plans for the day would be, they didn’t DECIDE how to control the multiple variables that surround them so that they can lead a productive life.

Decisiveness is the characteristic of a productive Muslim – because only by making effective decisions will you be moving forward in your life. The more you linger, and let shaytaan play with your mind, the more you’ll be slowed down and become unproductive.

Master the art of effective decision making. The moment you lose grip of this art, others and circumstances will make decisions for you. I know that making a decision isn’t the most easy thing to do, especially since you’ll be responsible for the consequences of your decision. I know that it’s too comfortable not to make any decision and is actually very convenient to let others decide for you (after all, you can always blame others if things go wrong!). But is this how a Muslim should be? Is this why Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala) created your brain, your heart, and created logic, emotions and reason for you?

If you’re still not sure, here’s a 5 simple step method for making effective decisions:

1. Think!

You’ll be surprised how many people don’t think before they decide! And by thinking, I don’t mean spending few minutes staring at the ceiling waiting for a revelation to come! Thinking means brainstorming, analysing, drawing from your experience of how best to go about a certain course of action and really taking the time to measure the implications of your decision.

2. Research/consult

You’ve done the thinking part, now you’ve tens of questions… no problem, do your research! Look around, ask around, and consult others, bounce ideas from family/friends and really exhaust every possible means of understanding the implications of your decision.

3. Istikhara

SubhanaAllah, Allah is so merciful to us, He knew that it would be hard for us to make decisions easily, so he opened a special lines of communication for us to Him when it comes to decisions.. it’s called Istikhara prayer! Just read this hadeeth carefully and understand its meaning:

On the authority of Jaabir Ibn ‘Abdullah he said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) would instruct us to pray for guidance in all of our concerns, just as he would teach us a chapter from the Qur’an. He would say ‘if any of you intends to undertake a matter then let him pray two supererogatory units (two rak’ah naafilah) of prayer and after which he should supplicate:

‘O Allaah, I seek Your counsel by Your knowledge and by Your power I seek strength and I ask You from Your immense favour, for verily You are able while I am not and verily You know while I do not and You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allaah, if You know this affair -and here he mentions his need- to be good for me in relation to my religion, my life, and end, then decree and facilitate it for me, and bless me with it, and if You know this affair to be ill for me towards my religion, my life, and end, then remove it from me and remove me from it, and decree for me what is good wherever it be and make me satisfied with such.’

You’re asking Allah – the One who knows everything about what’s best for you… if you’ve true yaqeen (certainty) in your dua, do you think Allah will make you take a “bad” decision? Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, the one does istikhara will not regret! Imagine someone saying to you, I’ll give you a formula, if you follow it, you’ll never ever ever regret any decision you make! Will you take up the offer?!

4. Decide/Action

You’ve thought about it, asked others, and most importantly asked Allah for guidance (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala) via an Istikhara prayer, now what? ummm.. DECIDE! Take action! And jump into your decision full force taking every conceivable first step you can make, so that you can’t reverse your decision! You wanted to open a business, and taken the above steps, NOW open it and invest your money! You wanted to propose to a particular person and you’ve done the above, pick up the phone and call her waly now! Make the decision and act upon it quickly before shaytaan comes to whisper in your mind and puts doubt.

5. Dua/Tawakkal

You’ve made the decision, taken some actions… it’s not over yet. Make dua and have trust in Allah. You may have made the right decision, but to follow through a decision correctly needs lots of dua, and trust in Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala) so don’t give up! And don’t regret decisions you’ve made after doing all the above, you only have 2 possible scenarios: either you’ve made good decisions and things are working great, or you’ve made a decision that challenged you which you can either learn from or you’ve learnt to overcome!

Yes, making decisions isn’t easy, but instead of dodging them and suffering the consequences in this life and hereafter, develop your decision making muscle by making decisions daily using the above steps – whether for small decisions or big decisions – just make a decision!

Finally, I leave you with this quote from Anthony Robbins:

Life is like a river for many people, they just jump in the river of life with out ever deciding where they want to end up, so they quickly get caught up in the current, current events, current challenges, current fears. And then they come to the forks in the rivers, they don’t consciously decide which way to go, they just go with the flow of the river (the flow of the majority instead of being directed by their own values and goals) and as a result the feel out of control but continue to drift down stream until one day the sound of the raging water wakes them up and they realize they are 5 feet from the falls and they are in a boat with no ores and then they say “Oh shoot”, but its to late. They are going to take a fall, it may be a financial set back or the break up of a relationship or maybe even a health problem, in almost all of the cases the fall could have been prevented by making better decisions up stream. (The Niagara Syndrome - by Anthony Robbins)

Selamat mencuba. (^_^)

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